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Opportunity: Space for Aviation Safety Evolution

Digitalisation and remotisation of operations, digitalisation of communications, reduction in human operational intervention, development of remotely piloted and automated platforms (i.e. drones, UAVs, HAPS) and operations in new layers of airspace kept mostly unutilised up to now (Very Low-Level (VLL) sky (below 150 metres) and upper sky, i.e. above 20km altitude) are some of the expected major evolutions of the aviation sector. Those trends lead to the emergence of new safety and security challenges that innovative solutions will have to tackle to ensure overall aviation safety.

4th ScyLight Workshop 2021 Online Event

On the 8th and 9th June 2021, the 4th annual ScyLight workshop took place online. This year the annual event took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the event was attended by 284 attendees, totalling 382 registrations to the event, including national delegations, industrial representatives of ESA Member States, ESA staff members and academic researchers. It once more provided the opportunity to present outcomes of ongoing activities in industry, academia and agencies as well as the right occasion to provide an overview of on-going ESA activities under the ARTES 4.0 Strategic Programme Line Optical Communication - ScyLight. 

Satellites launched to boost connectivity and create jobs

Three more nano-satellites have been launched as part of ESA’s efforts to boost the European space industry, fostering innovation and creating jobs. The satellites will be used to monitor climate change, forecast the weather, track ships at sea and aeroplanes in flight, and connect electronic devices to one another through the internet of things, enabling people to stay connected to one another everywhere and all the time.

Reprogrammable satellite shipped to launch site

An advanced telecommunications satellite that can be completely repurposed in orbit has arrived at its launch site of Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Developed under an ESA Partnership Project, Quantum will be able to respond to changing demands on Earth during its 15-year lifetime, providing data, communications and entertainment exactly where and when it is wanted.

European system speeds data flow with 50 000 links

Valuable data is flowing rapidly from Earth observing satellites back to the planet, thanks to the most sophisticated laser communication network ever built.

Day-and-night radar images and multispectral high-resolution images of vegetation, soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas – as well as information for emergency services – are arriving back at Earth in almost real time.

Quantum communication in space moves ahead

Keeping information secure in today’s interconnected world is becoming ever more important, so ESA is supporting efforts to ensure that future communications are kept confidential.

First leap for beam-hopping constellation

Broadband satellites that can be completely repurposed while in orbit have just taken a leap forwards.

Beam-hopping satellites can switch which region of the world they cover – and vary the data volume and rates for each region – according to demand.

Reprogrammable satellite design finalised

The design for a series of telecommunications satellites that can be completely repurposed after launch has just been completed.

The standardised OneSat satellites for the highly competitive global commercial telecommunications market are software defined and fully reprogrammable in orbit. They are being developed as an ESA Partnership Project with manufacturer Airbus.