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blog article22 March 2019

Space technologies are good for business – start your exploration

Galileo satellite in orbit
Space technologies

Space technologies can be a game changer when it comes to competitiveness. Whether you are working in agriculture, healthcare, automotive industries or retail, business solutions from space are becoming more accessible – it’s time to get on board. Emilien Watelet, who leads the Enterprise Europe Network group on Aeronautics, Space and Dual-use Technologies, explores new opportunities in this blog post. 

Ask a farmer or the mayor of a rural area if they think that space technologies could help them in their everyday life. Most of the time you will hear back something like "I don’t want to grow carrots on Mars" or "My village has down to Earth issues, no interest for space!"

Be ready to shake their minds! Space is not limited to exploration or the International Space Station.

We all know and use GPS when we are looking for a place to reach. GPS is based on American space technologies. Europe is working hard on building the same service with the Galileo programme. By 2020 – which is next year – 30 satellites will have joined the Galileo constellation. For the first time ever, individuals and companies will be able to geoposition themselves, a product, a machine, etc. with a precision of four meters.

Space technology accessible to all

Let’s go back to our farmer. Imagine the time and cost he can save if he knows the exact quantity of fertiliser, seeds and water he should employ for the best yield… For every single square meter! This is called precision farming and crop soil monitoring technology.

And what about the mayor? Emergency services guided by a satellite are able to detect even a tree on the road and suggest a faster path. Or a solution to map a forest and detect a human body lost among the bushy trees. These technologies exist on the market – and they are not expensive.

Space experts in 25 regions

This is why, at Enterprise Europe Network, we see huge potential in space technology. We have built a strong group of experts dedicated to Aeronautics, Space and Dual-use Technologies (defence) from across 25 regions. Our job is to help businesses discover the high potential of space technologies… down on Earth.

For example, we organise information and b2b matchmaking events. Two of these events are coming up in April and May. So now is the time to join if you want to understand what space technologies can do for you and for your business. Once you know what you need, we can help you meet the companies that offer those turnkey solutions.

Join our space technology events

On 2 April, Eurisy (the European programme that promotes satellite applications) is teaming up with Idelux, Enterprise Europe Network member in the Luxembourg province of Belgium, and the European Space Agency Business Innovation Centre for Wallonia to organise a workshop on Space solutions for rural challenges: Space for rural – des solutions efficaces et accessibles (in French, register by 22 March).

A month later, Bochum in Germany will be the place to be to know more about Galileo and Copernicus (the European Earth observation project). Join experts and businesses for two days of conferences, round tables, matchmaking events and networking sessions on 8-9 May at Copernicus meets Galileo – Earth observation – Navigation – GeoIT (register by 9 May).

A giant leap for your business

Enterprise Europe Network is involved in several programmes to help coach businesses who want to approach space technologies. I already mentioned the European Space Agency Business Innovation Centres (ESA BICs), co-organisers of the workshop Space for rural. We also collaborate with Astropreneurs, a startup accelerator for projects using space technologies or aiming the space business. Copernicus offers the same kind of coaching and funding for entrepreneurs with innovative Earth observation ideas. Galileo sets up a yearly challenge for innovation for satellite navigation.

If you need more information on any of these opportunities, our Aeronautics, Space and Dual-use Technologies experts can help. All you need to do it get in touch with your local Enterprise Europe Network contact point and ask for support from the Space Sector Group.

It’s just one small step for you, but could be one giant leap for your business!

Photo copyright: ESA-P. Carril

About the author(s)

Emilien Watelet is a project manager at CEEI Héraclès, a member organisation of the Enterprise Europe Network. He is the chair of the Enterprise Europe Network Sector Group Aeronautics, Space and Dual-use Technologies. The group brings together experts from 25 European regions to help businesses innovate and grow internationally.