19 – 21 November 2024//Bremen, Germany



Mitigating Climate Change and Increasing Geospatial Intelligence Through Next-gen Remote Sensing Technology

Most Europeans remember the weather events on the continent in recent years: from severe flooding in Belgium and Germany in 2021, to extreme drought across in Southern parts which extended across all of Europe during the Summer the same year. Remote sensing capabilities provide tremendous opportunities to understand how such events impact us while also helping to predict them. 

Monitoring and mitigating climate change is one of the key functions of remote sensing applications – at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), it became clear that the role of Earth observation through satellites is imperative to understand where actions need to be taken in order to help mitigate climate change. 2022 was Earth’s warmest year on record – and it is expected that the near-surface global temperature will continue to rise in years to come.

Monitoring Earth from space is a capability that has been around for quite a few decades. Notably, the longest-lasting Earth observation programme, NASA’s Landsat, started in 1972 and is still used to this day – with the most recent launch of Landsat 9 in 2021. Closer to home, Europe has been working for decades on its own Earth observation research and development programme through the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme – later rebranded to the Copernicus flagship project which currently operates through its network of Sentinel satellites.

With the arrival of smallsats, the Earth observation applications have experienced an immense boom as commercial businesses have been able to provide solutions through small satellites and the increased capabilities these have offered. 

Taking it back to 2021’s flooding emergency, images captured by ESA’s Copernicus programme showed the devastating impact of the floods in Germany and Belgium, and thanks to the Sentinel solutions, weather alerts and forecasts were shared with local emergency authorities to help mitigate the impact and provide aide where possible. 

Similarly, the continent’s 2022 drought was monitored by the Sentinel satellites – allowing to pick up anomalies and detect the impact of this drought from the start of the year. It provided insights into the effects of the ongoing dry period on the natural weather system, socioeconomic sectors and agriculture, among other sectors. 

While these two weather events have been monitored by the existing large satellite constelaltions,  smallsat remote sensing service providers have been equally important for niche and broad applications. Examples include Planet’s sewage overspill monitoring in the UK, as well as the intelligence monitoring of developments in the invasion of Russia into Ukraine. Commercial geospatial intelligence (geoint) remote sensing data was not widely used prior to the Russian invasion into Ukraine. The invasion accelerated a spurt in adoption of geoint data and technology, and is now increasingly used across the board for all sorts of intelligence monitoring.

The smallsat market has experienced a fantastic growth due to the capabilities presented by small satellites that have been increasingly manufactured at a rapid pace at low cost, while the market has also been increasingly able to rely on the availability of affordable small launch and rideshare opportunities. 

The next big area for small satellites seems to be on creating even more valuable and actionable insights from satellite data gathered. There is an increasing industry need for real-time sensing satellite information. As such, the role of data is increasingly important and technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence will help the industry drive down cost of data analysis, while improving the speed of providing insights. 

The data gathered on small satellites is sped up by advanced remote sensing capabilities. Currently, optical imagery, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and hyperspectral imaging are considered as next-gen remote sensing technologies that can be applied in Earth observation satellite constellations. 

The upcoming Smallsats Conference at Space Tech Expo Europe will dive into the key developments, requirements and technologies mentioned above, through panel sessions led by industry experts across three days. 

Space Tech Expo Europe takes place on 14-16 November in Bremen, Germany. Alongside the three-day Smallsats Conference, the event also hosts the Mobility Connectivity Conference and the Industry Conference. To secure your seat, please register here