Small satellites are a cost-effective way to test new EO concepts. FSSCat is a future-oriented satellite mission, consisting of two federated 6U Cubesats. It supports the Copernicus Land and Marine Environment services by measuring soil moisture, ice extent and thickness, and detecting melting ponds over ice, using a state-of-the-art dual microwave payload as well as a multi-spectral optical payload. FSSCat will be the precursor of a constellation of federated small EO satellites connected by radio and optical inter-satellite links.
“Since the beginning of the competition in 2011 we have had exciting challenges. I am especially delighted that the winner of the overall competition is taking the challenge to new heights benefiting from the Copernicus Masters,” explains Dr Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, at the awards ceremony in Tallinn, Estonia. “The Copernicus Masters competition has once again clearly demonstrated its potential to drive the innovative use of Earth observation data and promote the use of Copernicus data to new user groups“.
13 more Challenge winners were also recognised during the Awards Ceremony by high-ranking industry and institutional representatives, such as the European Commission (EC), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems International GmbH, Stevenson Astrosat Ltd., CGI, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd. and AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, the organiser of the Copernicus Masters.
“We’re especially proud to have witnessed a constant rise in young entrepreneurs involved in commercialising EO applications and services. I am very confident that this growth will continue to provide novelties, especially in regards to the launch of further satellites, such as the Sentinel-2B in March and the Sentinel-5P just recently.”, declares Managing Director Thorsten Rudolph from AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, the organiser.
EO and big data from Copernicus hold huge potential for the creation of cutting-edge products and services. Many industries and areas of public interest benefit from the progress of the Copernicus programme. In this year’s Copernicus Masters edition, prizes worth more than EUR 1.5 million were awarded in topic-specific challenges, powered by a number of world-class partners. The close cooperation with institutional, industrial and regional partners promotes the development of high-tech products and services for Europe on a global scale. Additionally, the Copernicus Accelerator programme – funded by the EC – ensures customised business development support for 50 Copernicus Masters finalists during the next two years.
The Copernicus Masters 2017 Awards Ceremony took place in front of an international audience during the European Space Week 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia – as part of the Satellite Masters Conference & Horizon 2020 Space Info Day.