CubeSats: drones of space

Roger Walker

CubeSats: from educational tools to autonomous space drones

Roger Walker, Technology CubeSat manager

CubeSats started as a tool for education. Profs Jordi Puig-Suari of California Polytechnic State University and Bob Twiggs of Stanford University wanted students to gain hands-on experience in designing, making and flying nanosatellites, but they needed to do it cheaply.

That led them to the PC/104 computer standard, with rugged, stackable electronics boards with commercial components to fit within a 10x10x10 cm box (or unit). A container was developed as a standard interface for launch vehicles, with a spring-loaded ‘jack in a box’ deployment system to push out three CubeSats at a time into space. That in turn inspired the idea of a single 3-unit CubeSat, packing in added technology and a payload. The CubeSat standard was born. Within their budgets for the first time, many university engineering facilities worldwide then embraced the concept and gave the chance for students to build something to actually fly in space – how cool is that?

ESA’s involvement with CubeSats started in 2006, when I was working at the Education Office. There was an opportunity to embark educational CubeSats on  the maiden flight of our new Vega launcher. The agreement was signed with the Vega project in 2007, and that led in turn to the first European CubeSat symposium in early 2008. Vega launched seven separate 1-unit CubeSats in the end. Different European universities designed, manufactured and tested the CubeSats and we supported their engineering work, verified their suitability for flight and procured their deployment systems.


Roger Walker: Space cubed – CubeSats for technology testing

The 2012 launch saw these CubeSats meet with mixed operational success – only two worked for a long period, three for a few weeks and contact was lost with a couple. But they were all successes in educational terms, of course. When universities make a CubeSat for the first time then there’s maybe a 50/50 chance of failure, but for second and third times it’s a lot lower. And the student teams responsible for those pioneer CubeSats formed spin-off companies after graduation.

These companies have grown exponentially since then, employing dozens of people, manufacturing multiple CubeSats annually as the market has expanded greatly with not only universities, but also government agencies and commercial service start-ups now utilising them.

ESA’s involvement with educational CubeSats continues to this day and this remains very important, but it was clear back then that CubeSats held wider potential – quick and cheap to develop and launch, they offer an ideal platform for demonstrating promising new technologies. So that’s my current role within TEC, bringing together technology companies and research institutes with CubeSat companies.

We group payloads together synergistically so each technology CubeSat is more than the sum of its parts. For instance, GomX-3 – our first mission to fly – combined a receiver of ADS-B aircraft signals with a system to map signal quality from telecom satellites, 3-axis pointing control plus an X-band transmitter for rapid data download. Another CubeSat, QARMAN, is focused on reentry technologies and is scheduled to launch later this year. We have another four technology CubeSats in development currently.

Here on Earth, aerial drones are exploiting the same technologies as CubeSats and pushing the boundaries of autonomous flight systems

If our really big satellites resemble mainframe computers, and standard satellites are PCs, then CubeSats equal smartphones – highly compact and portable, integrating miniaturised sensors with powerful but low-power computer processors and software radios. Here on Earth, aerial drones are exploiting the same technologies as CubeSats and pushing the boundaries of autonomous flight systems, so I like to think that CubeSats have the potential to become the autonomous drones of space. For instance, we’re looking at similar concepts for CubeSats such as autonomous navigation, close proximity operations,  swarm formations as well as on-orbit inspection and assembly techniques, the latter to build up larger structures from basic building blocks.

And as well as flying in new ways, we want to fly CubeSats to new places –we’ve been looking into deep space missions, and are planning later this year to invite concepts for lunar CubeSats in support of exploration objectives.

I’m continually impressed by the sheer creativity involved in miniaturising systems to put them in these small boxes – instruments, propulsion systems, radios… European industry and research labs are pushing ahead rapidly with developing new products and we are helping them to get those products into orbit as quickly as possible, so they can maintain a competitive edge.

Each technology CubeSat project is managed to a standard engineering and product/quality assurance approach with a tailored version of the ECSS standards for CubeSats, focussed on managing risks and maximising probability of mission success within the limited financial budgets. Along with access to the Agency’s technical expertise and facilities, this allows us to offer significant added value to Member States funding these small innovative missions within our Technology Programme.

Last update: 31 March 2017

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KVH Ships its 7,000th mini-VSAT Broadband System, Continuing its Dominant Role in the Maritime VSAT Market


Designed and manufactured by KVH, the TracPhone systems provide satellite broadband connectivity to yachts and commercial vessels around the world, and are a testament to the company’s innovation in mobile connectivity solutions

Middletown, RI – March 30, 2017 – KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI), announced that it has shipped more than 7,000 mini-VSAT Broadband systems, designed and manufactured by KVH to provide mobile connectivity at sea. The TracPhone V-series satellite communications antenna systems are currently in use on everything from small recreational sailboats cruising the coastline to 1,000-foot commercial freighters transiting the world’s oceans.

KVH launched the mini-VSAT Broadband service just 10 years ago, in July 2007, and has seen the popularity of the service grow, coinciding with an overall trend in the maritime industry toward increased reliance on broadband connectivity.

As recently as September 2016, a leading industry analyst, Northern Sky Research, reported that KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband customers account for 29% of the vessels using Ku-band service, more than double the 14% share of the nearest competitor.

This dominant market share continues to be supported by significant customer wins from leading commercial maritime operators. The TracPhone V-series antenna systems are noteworthy for their technical innovation and performance, having won numerous awards, including the National Marine Electronics Association’s 2016 product of excellence award.

“Our mini-VSAT Broadband network is robust and fully global, and we are thrilled that thousands of our TracPhone V-series antenna systems are already in service around the world,” says Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH’s CEO. “Our continuing dominance in the VSAT market is testimony to our heritage of innovation. It’s even more exciting to look ahead to how we can augment our existing network and enable KVH to support the dramatic surge in demand for data that the shipping industry is projected to experience over the next 10 years.”

KVH’s advanced TracPhone antenna systems include the TracPhone V11-IP, a 1.1 meter diameter, dual-mode C/Ku-band antenna for global VSAT connectivity; the TracPhone V7-IP, a 60 cm diameter enterprise-grade antenna for Ku-band service worldwide; and the TracPhone V3-IP, a 37 cm diameter Ku-band ultra-compact maritime VSAT antenna. All three TracPhone V-IP systems feature the Integrated CommBox Modem (ICM), a streamlined belowdecks unit that replaces the need for a rack full of components and integrates all antenna control, onboard network management, and modem functions in one small box. The ICM also receives onboard news, entertainment, and operations content sent via KVH’s innovative IP-MobileCast content delivery service.

KVH launched the mini-VSAT Broadband service with a commitment to provide fast, affordable satellite Internet and phone services via compact antennas at a time when slow data and expensive airtime costs were the norm. In 2012 – only five years after the network’s launch – industry reports found that mini-VSAT Broadband was the market share leader in maritime VSAT, a position KVH has retained consistently in subsequent industry reports.

KVH continues to take an innovative approach to its mini-VSAT Broadband service and TracPhone V-series antenna systems. For example, the company is currently focused on enhancing its mini-VSAT Broadband network with new high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity that will provide higher speed Internet services to customers.

Note to Editors: For more information about KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband solution, please visit High-resolution images of KVH products are available at the KVH Press Room Image Library.

About KVH Industries, Inc.
KVH Industries, Inc., is a leading provider of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems, having designed, manufactured, and sold more than 200,000 mobile satellite antennas for applications on vessels, vehicles, and aircraft. KVH is also a leading news, music, and entertainment content provider to many industries including maritime, retail, and leisure. Videotel, a KVH company, is a market-leading provider of training films, computer-based training and eLearning. KVH is based in Middletown, RI, with research, development, and manufacturing operations in Middletown, RI, and Tinley Park, IL. The company’s global presence includes offices in Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

KVH, TracPhone, CommBox, IP-MobileCast, and Videotel are trademarks of KVH Industries, Inc. mini-VSAT Broadband is a service mark of KVH Industries, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.

Thuraya appoints Acting CEO

Dubai, UAE, 30 March, 2017: Thuraya Telecommunications Company announced that Mr. Ahmed Al Shamsi, Chief Technology Officer has been appointed as temporary Acting Chief Executive Officer of the company, assuming the role immediately.

Al Shamsi has been a key member of Thuraya’s leadership team since its inception in 1997. He was directly involved in all phases of its development, from concept initiation to complete deployment, operation and evolution.

الثريا للاتصالات تعين رئيساً تنفيذياً بالوكالة

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة، 30 مارس 2017: أعلنت شركة الثريا للاتصالات عن تعيين الرئيس التنفيذي للتكنولوجيا، المهندس أحمد الشامسي، رئيسا تنفيذيا بالوكالة لشركة الثريا للاتصالات بشكل مؤقت.

يتمتع أحمد الشامسي بخبرات عملية واسعة، فهو عضو رئيسي في فريق الثريا القيادي منذ تأسيسها في العام 1997. وقد شارك في جميع مراحل تنفيذ نظام شبكة الأقمار الصناعية الخاصة بها، بدءاً من مرحلة التصميم والإطلاق ووصولاً للتشغيل والتطوير المستمر. 

والجدير بالذكر أن شركة الثريا للاتصالات هي شركة رائدة في مجال خدمات الاتصالات المتنقلة عبر الأقمار الصناعية ومزوداً عالمياً لحلول الاتصالات المبتكرة. وتقدم الشركة خدماتها لمجموعة متنوعة من القطاعات ومنها الأسواق الاستهلاكية والطاقة ووسائل الإعلام المرئي والمسموع، والقطاع البحري والعسكري وغيرها من الهيئات الحكومية ومنظمات النفع العام.

 تعد شركة الثريا للاتصالات مشغلاً رائداً لخدمات الاتصالات الجوالة عبر الأقمار الصناعية “إم إس إس”، ومزوداً عالمياً لحلول الاتصالات المبتكرة للعديد من القطاعات بما في ذلك الطاقة والإعلام المرئي والمسموع والنقل البحري والقطاع العسكري ومنظمات النفع العام. وتتيح شبكة الثريا المتفوقة إجراء اتصالات واضحة مع تغطية متواصلة دون انقطاع تشمل ثلثي العالم من خلال الأقمار الصناعية، وباقي أنحاء الكوكب عن طريق قدرات التجوال الفريدة التي تتمتع بها عبر النظام العالمي للاتصالات الجوالة “جي إس إم”. وتوفر المجموعة المتنوعة لأجهزة هواتف الثريا وأجهزة النطاق الترددي العريض ذات التفوق التقني والموثوقية العالية، سهولة كبيرة في الاستخدام وقيمة وجودة وكفاءة كبيرة للمستخدمين. وتبقى الثريا ملتزمة بخدمة الإنسانية من خلال تقديم الأدوات الأساسية للاتصال الأمثل، إلى جميع المستخدمين من دون استثناء. لمزيد من المعلومات، الرجاء زيارة الموقع الإلكتروني التالي:

ريم صادق
مدير اتصال مؤسسي
البريد الإلكتروني:

New Chairship of the ESA Council

Otylia Trzaskalska-Stroińska has been elected as vice-chair of the ESA Council. This poses a great chance for Polish space sector.

Otylia Trzaskalska-Stroińska has been supporting the development of Polish space industry for years – she was a representative of the Ministry of Economy, which has been transformed into the Ministry of Development. Thanks to Trzaskalska-Stroińska’s actions Poland joined European Space Agency (ESA) at the end of 2012.

In March 2017 Otylia Trzaskalska-Stroińska has been elected as vice-chair of the ESA Council. The position will be shared with Alice Brunn of the United Kingdom. Jean-Yves Le Gall of France has been elected chair of the ESA Council. Currently Le Gall holds a function of the director of the French Space Agency CNES. The new chairship of the ESA Council starts on 1st July 2017.

This is the first time for a representative of a “young” ESA’s member state to be elected for the Council. That fact is a positive sign for the developing Polish space sector. Moreover, it means that Poland despite being a “freshman” in ESA and having a low budget at its disposal (comparing to France or Germany) is being considered as an important partner in the Agency.

The ESA Council decides about the development paths of ESA and European space industry in general. Poland has been ESA’s member state since 19th November 2012. The national financial contribution to ESA (basic and optional programmes) is about 31,5 mln EUR. The moment Poland was accepted as ESA’s member state was a turning point for Polish space industry. During four and a half year tens of Polish companies started works and investments both in downstream and upstream sectors. Most of Polish projects realised in collaboration with ESA is of industrial and commercial character. Earlier most of the activities was realised mostly by research and development institutions.

Galileo Hackathon registration now open

Show off your coding skills at the second Galileo Hackathon 15 – 17 May in Gdańsk/Gdynia, Poland.

Mobile applications relying on a user’s position have become part of our everyday lives. In fact, more than 50 % of the applications available for download utilise location information. Smartphones, tablets, tracking devices, digital cameras – to name only a few – all depend on positioning information provided by GNSS. As a result, GNSS has become an essential service – one that many of us take for granted.

Up until now, users have depended on such GNSS systems as America’s GPS or Russia’s GLONASS. But with the launch of Galileo Initial Services, Europe has its very own GNSS programme. Now, users stand to benefit from the improved positioning and timing information that Galileo provides. However, to take advantage of everything that Galileo has to offer, users need to have innovative, Galileo-enabled applications and services – which is where you come in.

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The GSA is looking for passionate coders with an enthusiasm for shaping the future of Location Based Services (LBS) and Geo-IoT and a desire to transform ideas into reality. If this sounds like you, then register today for our two-day Galileo Hackathon!

Come for the Hackathon!

Not only is the Galileo Hackathon a great opportunity to connect with the Geo-IoT app development community and a chance to compete for great prizes, it is also where you can be among the first to work with Galileo-enabled mobile phones. Whether for augmented reality and games, geo marketing and advertising, mapping and GIS, fitness and mobile health, smart mobility, tracking or social networking, as long as your application makes full use of Galileo’s capabilities to provide an added commercial or societal value – then the Galileo Hackathon is or you.

You can join a team of up to four people, or sign up as an individual and form a team when you get there. Participants will compete for a EUR 1000 cash prize in each of the two categories:

  • Galileo Innovation: for the most innovative app using Galileo as a source of location information
  • Galileo Impact: for the Galileo app with the biggest social impact

All participants will be provided with a mobile phone, courtesy of our technology partner Samsung Electronics, for use during the Hackathon. So all you need to bring is a laptop and your best Galileo-based idea.

More information and registration can be found here.

InfoShare 2017

The second Galileo Hackathon is being held in conjunction with infoShare 2017, scheduled for 17 – 19 May in Gdańsk, Poland. In addition to the Hackathon, participants can join in on an array of discussions and learning opportunities taking place during the conference. infoShare is also an excellent place to meet the people behind the hardware and software that enables satellite navigation and the Galileo applications created in the preceding days.

Source: GSA

KVH Announces New Versions of its DSP-1760 High-performance Single- and Multi-axis Gyros

KVH’s DSP-1760 Fiber Optic Gyro Unhoused Variant


The unhoused DSP-1760 is an extremely accurate 1-, 2-, or 3-axis fiber optic gyro (FOG) particularly well-suited for demanding stabilization and pointing applications

Middletown, RI – March 16, 2017 – KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI), has introduced three unhoused variants of its popular high-performance DSP-1760 FOG. The new unhoused DSP-1760 variants offer application engineers and system integrators the ability to more easily install one, two, or three compact FOG axes into higher-level systems, and still obtain the high-performance attributes of the KVH FOGs.

The small, lightweight, unhoused DSP-1760s provide such characteristics as user-selectable data and baud rates, high bandwidth/low latency and low noise, and increased flexibility in mounting and installation – all critical attributes in applications where size, weight, and accuracy are of prime importance. The unhoused DSP-1760s are particularly well-suited to stabilization and pointing systems such as gimbals, for example, which require all of those performance characteristics.

The unhoused DSP-1760s’ flexible interface is designed for ease of integration in new applications, as well as upgrades to existing systems. A developer’s kit is available for the unhoused DSP-1760s, providing benefits of rapid design and integration; the kit includes the user interface software and all components needed to immediately connect the FOG to a computer to configure, evaluate, and test the unit.

“The unhoused DSP-1760 products allow higher-level system integrators new flexibility to quickly add KVH’s high-performance FOGs into purpose-built packages and end-systems,” says Roger Ward, KVH’s director of FOG product development. “The unhoused DSP-1760s offer extremely high sampling rates and lower latency times, with up to three independent axial rate sensors for today’s advanced stabilization and pointing applications. Given their accuracy, the unhoused DSP-1760s can also be used as components within higher-level navigation systems. In selecting gyros for their systems, application engineers and system integrators often have to choose between performance and ease of installation and integration, but with the unhoused DSP-1760 variants, they have products that provide all of these attributes, at an affordable cost.”

The DSP-1760 unhoused variants offer exceptional performance in bias stability, scale factor, and angle random walk. The unhoused variants use KVH’s exclusive E•Core® ThinFiber, the world’s smallest D-shaped optical fiber. By reducing the overall diameter of the fiber to just 170 microns (a 30% reduction from KVH’s original E•Core polarization-maintaining fiber), the resulting E•Core ThinFiber enables a greater length of fiber to be wound onto a bobbin, thereby increasing the accuracy of the gyros. 

“By making the DSP-1760s available as unhoused variants, we are providing maximum versatility for the most challenging designs,” says Jay Napoli, KVH’s vice president of FOG/OEM sales. “Customers are getting the high performance of the world’s smallest precision FOGs, coupled with the flexibility to configure and install one, two, or three axes of FOGs into their systems to achieve the best possible solutions.”

In addition to offering the DSP-1760 in nine configurations (six housed and three unhoused), KVH offers an entire line of FOGs and FOG-based inertial systems that are utilized in cutting-edge applications including sensor fusion-based navigation, guidance, stabilization, and positioning solutions. KVH FOGs are in use in production programs for a wide range of commercial applications, including underwater unmanned vehicle navigation, rail/track geometry measurement systems, land-based street mapping platforms, and air, land, and maritime autonomous platforms. KVH FOGs and FOG-based IMUs are also in use in numerous prototype and development programs for autonomous cars.

Note to Editors: For more information about the DSP-1760 and KVH’s entire line of FOGs, inertial measurement units, and inertial navigation systems, visit KVH’s “Guiding Intelligent Systems” website. High-resolution images are available at the KVH Press Room Image Library.

About KVH Industries, Inc.
KVH Industries, Inc., is a premier manufacturer of high-performance sensors and integrated inertial systems for defense and commercial guidance and stabilization applications, having sold more than 19,000 TACNAV® systems and more than 100,000 fiber optic gyros. KVH is also a leading provider of solutions that bring global high-speed Internet, television, voice services, and content via satellite to mobile users at sea, on land, and in the air. KVH is based in Middletown, RI, with research, development, and manufacturing operations in Middletown, RI, and Tinley Park, IL. The company’s global presence includes offices in Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

KVH, E•Core, and TACNAV are registered trademarks of KVH Industries, Inc.

Taking mission-critical satellite communications to the next level

Market Development Director, Fahad Kahoor shares valuable insights into Thuraya’s suite of GovernmentComms products and solutions, which provide critical communications in the field. He calls attention to the special features of  CRYPTTIA, a unique command and control platform that allows smartphone users to utilize a unified Thuraya and cellular network for crisis management, defense and civil protection operations. 

You have recently opened an office in the US. Was that move to facilitate work on your ongoing FUTURA project and next generation constellation plans? 
Thuraya is already well established in the United States. We have a team supported by service providers and partners. In 2016, we launched M2M services in the USA with the introduction of the Thuraya FT2225 M2M terminal.

The new office located centrally between Washington D.C. and Tysons Corner, Virginia, offers close proximity to investors, key government and commercial customers and partners. It further brings the American team together, helping to serve these customers including the Department of Defense, which Thuraya counts among its list of longest standing customers. 

The new address marks a further step in the development of our ongoing FUTURA project and next generation constellation plans. 

Thuraya Headquarters in Dubai

Recently Thuraya and Indosat Ooredoo signed a Memorandum of Understanding. What are the objectives?
The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to develop a new range of services by combining Indosat products with Thuraya Satellite technology and devices for business customers in Indonesia.

The agreement has created a framework for collaboration in three main areas. New services will be developed using Indosat SIM cards roaming on the Thuraya network as well as bundling satellite devices with Indosat Ooredoo digital applications. At a later stage, Thuraya and Indosat also plan to develop additional use cases for the burgeoning IoT market.

The satellite-powered business applications allow organizations to extend their services beyond terrestrial networks, whenever they have remote connectivity requirements across various extreme environmental conditions. The full scope of markets now set for transformational communications capabilities across Indonesia includes oil and gas, and mining; plantations; high end yachting, merchants and fishing; military and police services. Thuraya’s extensive and reliable satellite network complements Indosat’s own connectivity, extending into those areas that are beyond terrestrial reach. This will enable both companies to offer a seamless customer experience. 

Thuraya’s Connected Ambulance

Does Thuraya’s ‘Connected Ambulance’ have any military applications?
The connected ambulance is an integrated telemedicine solution with a Thuraya IP Voyager terminal. It works over Thuraya’s extensive and reliable network, connecting onboard wired and wireless medical devices to hospitals and diagnosing physicians. It doesn’t have any military applications; however, it can be utilized by the military during critical missions, when personnel are injured and time is a matter of life and death.

What are Thuraya’s latest applications for the defense sector?
Taking center stage is CRYPTTIA, a unique command and control platform developed by EYEONIX SA.

CRYPTTIA allows smartphone users to utilize a unified Thuraya and cellular networks for mission critical, crisis management, defense and civil protection operations. CRYPTTIA is a global platform combining both terrestrial and satellite voice technologies to bring push to talk services to smartphone users. 


CRYPTTIA is an IP-based end to end solution which offers “bring your own device” (BYOD) capability for fast and reliable communications in mission critical environments. It offers speed of deployment and ease of use. It is the only platform that can be fully operational, from scratch, in less than four hours as a mission critical unified system. 

The portable version, which is deployable in less than five minutes, serves as a fully operational command, control and decision support system. It requires less than one day to train mobile users, command and control center training is completed in three days, and administrator training takes five days.

NATO security-certified, CRYPTTIA guarantees optimal security for both call and data exchange, and is used for high level, top secret military intelligence and counter espionage. 
Agents are untraceable in the field, because of the unique task and incident management module, which can be automated and preconfigured, to coordinate a mission or an emergency automatically. 

CRYPTTIA is a speechless system: command center executives receive updates and task completion data through a configurable, color coded status level system. It can send and receive live images, and store and forward videos. When voice or text exchange is required, push to talk (PTT) voice and short message service communications for group and private users are always to hand.

Certified by Thuraya for added value system security and compliance, CRYPTTIA is a cost efficient solution that operates at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions.

With Application Interface (API) or Interface Control Document (ICD), CRYPTTIA can integrate third party networks (TETRA, DMR, UHF); platforms (command centers or surveillance systems); and unmanned platforms (UAVs, sUAVs and drones). CRYPTTIA delivers geolocation, tracking, and geofencing.

By upgrading their field smartphones, users can future proof their systems. Additional features include near field communication, man down alarm and lone fighter. For secure communication for highest level, mission critical use, CRYPTTIA offers end to end encryption through four layers of communication security. 

For more info on CRYPTTIA, please click here

No obstacles for airports using satellites


Ascend – Obstacle management solution

No obstacles for airports using satellites

13 March 2017

Thanks to ESA, airports can now use satellites to identify and manage obstacles that could pose a risk to flight safety. 

Of the 48 000 airports around the globe, only about a quarter can allow aircraft to land in poor weather and only 500 airports have a specialist on site to pinpoint obstacles that might exceed height restrictions within flight paths.

With ESA’s help, Ascend XYZ in Denmark has developed a service for airports to record potential obstacles. 

Airport restrictions

The service uses satellites and aircraft combined with smart web-based software.

“Free data from the latest Copernicus Sentinel satellites make this affordable for airports,” commented Peter Hemmingsen, CEO at Ascend.

The service helps airports to comply with airside safety regulations. Using existing airport data, it calculates the restricted aerial zones around the airport.

“Until now, airports have used maps and a team of specialists to do these calculations but our service does this for them and outputs the correct documentation for airport authorities,” Peter added.

Tall trees encroaching into a restricted zone

The software is designed for use by non-specialists who can easily register and monitor obstacles penetrating restricted zones.

Sometimes a temporary obstacle, such as a crane, is erected close to the airport. This can also be registered in the Ascend software including detailed measurements supplied by the building company.

Registering an obstacle

“Using the height of the obstacle, the Ascend software can quickly calculate whether the object is a potential problem. No maps and no specialists are required. This is simple, efficient and avoids human error.”

Satnav data from Ascend guides field personnel to the obstacle and additional information can be entered offsite via the cloud- and browser-based management system.

“Through ESA, Ascend XYZ shows that using space data can improve our daily life in many different areas – in this case, it is airport safety,” notes the Agency’s Arnaud Runge.

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