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Enabling & Support

Implemented OSIP ideas — September 2020

08/10/2020 110 views 1 likes
ESA / Enabling & Support / Preparing for the Future / Discovery and Preparation

ESA's Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP) seeks novel ideas for new space research activities. Campaigns and Channels invite solutions to specific problems or ideas on more general topics, with those run by Discovery & Preparation, including the Open Discovery Ideas Channel, specifically looking for ideas that could be implemented as system studies, early technology developments, or PhD or postdoc research co-funded by ESA and a university.

In September 2020, the following ideas were implemented through the Open Discovery Ideas Channel:

Artificial intelligence for space traffic management

University of Strathclyde

Space traffic is increasing, and the maturity of sensors is not evolving at an equivalent rate. Because of the less predictable consequences, it is expected that ground operators will make sub-optimal decisions when manoeuvring spacecraft. This research co-sponsorship activity aims to use two machine learning techniques to develop autonomous and automated space traffic management systems.

Resonance capture of low-thrust spacecraft around a small body

University of Strathclyde

Due to their low cost, flexibility, and varied applications, low-thrust microsatellites, such as CubeSats and NanoSats are becoming more popular. However, the flight time is much longer, meaning that there is a higher likelihood that they will become trapped in an unstable orbit around their target. This research co-sponsorship activity will explore the probability of a low-thrust spacecraft being captured into a specific unstable orbit, how the probability is influenced by the orbit and environment of the spacecraft, and what kind of mission operations can be performed to move the spacecraft out of the unstable orbit.

Optimisation of self-cleaning and antibacterial coatings via engineering their surface reactivity and optical absorption

Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

As humans spend longer periods of time in space, preventing infectious diseases becomes a more relevant topic. Minimising the spread of microbes in a spacecraft could be achieved by making the surfaces resistant to microbial growth. This research co-sponsorship activity aims to develop smart surface coatings based on titanium dioxide, a substance that is known to degrade many types of bacteria and fungi using light.

All optical method to produce two-species ultra-cold atoms to test the universality of free fall in microgravity

Institut d'Optique Graduate School

Stating that inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same thing, the equivalence principle is at the heart of modern physics and is closely intertwined with some of the most fundamental questions of gravitation, particle physics and cosmology. Only space offers the required quiet and well-controlled environment together with long free fall times to answer some of these questions. The aim of this research co-sponsorship activity is to generate ultra-cold rubidium and potassium atoms using novel optics. The production of many atoms in this way will allow the questions to be tested with a higher accuracy.

Global modelling of Mercury's outer environment to prepare BepiColombo

Nice Observatory

The ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission is currently on its way to Mercury, the least well-characterised solid planet in the Solar System. Until now, models of Mercury's environment have been very simple. But with BepiColombo looking at the planet in much more detail than ever before, we need a new generation of models to provide a physical framework that will allow scientists to analyse the mission's measurements. The goal of this research co-sponsorship project is to provide, for the first time, a global model of Mercury's magnetosphere from ion to electron scales.

Global Monitoring of Microplastics using GNSS-Reflectometry

Deimos Space

This research study aims to demonstrate the capability of Global Navigation Satellite System-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) to detect and quantify microplastics in the ocean. GNSS-R is the perfect example of a 'NewSpace' approach to Earth observation, fulfilling the innovation, cost reduction, and high-risk high-pay-off characteristics of NewSpace, and targeting both commercial and science applications. Monitoring microplastics is a new application that has never been seriously attempted with GNSS-R.

The following ideas were implemented through the OSIP Remote Sensing of Plastic Marine Litter Campaign:

Brillouin – backscatter - fluorescence LIDAR research for underwater exploration of marine litter

Italian National Research Council

Recent studies suggest that plastic litter floating on the sea surface represents only a small fraction of plastics entering the ocean. This early technology development project aims to use a technique called lidar - from space, the air, and the ground - to investigate plastic litter not just on the surface, but at all depths underwater as well, including microplastics measuring less than five millimetres in diameter.



Artificial intelligence and drones supporting the detection and mapping of floating aquatic plastic litter

Flemish Institute for Technological Research

Remote detection and mapping of floating marine plastic litter from space needs to operate in synergy with clean up actions. This implies that an observation system is needed that combines high revisit time and high spatial resolution. This early technology development project will explore the use of small drones and in-situ observations combined with artificial intelligence for this purpose.

Satellite FRONTs for detection of anthropogenic plastic litter

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Fronts are the interfaces between water bodies varying in temperature, salinity or colour; in coastal and oceanic regions, they are biologically rich locations, which may also accumulate floating plastic. This early technology development project will combine optical and radar processing techniques with front detection algorithms and dispersion models. Satellite detection of marine plastic debris could be valuable for monitoring the far-reaching impacts of this litter type.


Detection and tracking of large marine litter based on high-resolution remote sensing time series, machine learning, and ocean current modelling

Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam

Using high-resolution optical and synthetic aperture radar data, this early technology development project aims to obtain precise and reliable data on large pieces of floating litter, regarding their quantity, position, accumulation zones, material properties, floating depth and sources. This information may serve as a basis for the recovery of floating litter, the elimination of its sources, and to prevent it dispersing.

The following ideas were implemented through the OSIP Off-Earth Manufacturing and Construction Campaign:

Incorporation of in-situ resource utilisation and additive manufacturing for lunar exploration

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Extended missions to the Moon's surface and beyond will need to be supported through combined scientific and technological progress in in-situ resource utilisation and additive manufacturing (3D printing). The entire lunar surface is covered by a layer of regolith rich in minerals and oxides. This research co-sponsorship project will investigate the printability of a specific material made using regolith from the Moon's South Pole region. It will also looking into the mechanical properties of the material.