Earth Observation

Agriculture, Earth Observation, Hydro Observation, Insurance, LEO, Martime Surveillance, Space Economy

Space Ventures Investors has been researching earth observation for over 10 years and has invested in four separate earth observation startups: SpaceSense, VAKE, BirdsEyeView and Wegaw.

An Overview of Earth Observation

In the last two decades earth observation experienced rapid growth due to leaps and bounds in the advancement of satellite technology, analytics, and AI, fuelled in part by political and environmental campaigns, plus commercial acumen. In short, when it came to space investment, sometimes looking down at earth was better than looking out. This saw an increase in the number and variety of satellites launched for Earth observation purposes; monitoring climate change, natural disasters, and urban development. Additionally, the miniaturization of technology and the advent of CubeSats and smaller satellites democratized space, therefore opening the door to a broader range of companies and research institutions to participate in earth observation. This then led to an unprecedented volume of data on Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land, providing critical insights for science, policy-making, and commercial applications. Then came the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to make use of the terabytes of downloaded data.

Boosting European involvement was the European Union’s Copernicus program, established as a flagship Earth observation initiative. It was launched in partnership with the European Space Agency. Copernicus provides a comprehensive and sustained Earth observation capability, including atmospheric monitoring, marine environment monitoring, land monitoring, climate change, emergency management, and security. The fleet of Sentinel satellites, each designed for different aspects of Earth observation, generates terabytes of free and openly accessible data daily. This abundance of data supports a wide range of applications, from tracking environmental changes and managing natural resources to aiding in disaster response and enhancing agricultural practices, thus underpinning the EU’s commitment to addressing global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable development.

The skills and software associated with evaluating earth observation companies enabled SVI’s founders Simon Drake and Kevin McGowan to build a spin-off, Lunar Resources Registry.

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