NewSpace in Europe #4: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Space

Dear NewSpaceVisionaries,

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So now we will give the word to Albrecht again, enjoy!


NewSpace Update️ ️

Focus: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Space

When I am thinking about the future of space, AI-driven and connected robots play a big role. Who will build big complexes on the Moon, Mars or in space? Who will mine ressources and harvest crops?

Selfworking Robots!

In the „Survey of Space Robotics“ from 2003 it is said that:


„In a decade, we expect robots to perform delicate
assembly tasks autonomously and even approach the
dexterity of a space-suited human. With intense effort,
robotic assembly of complicated structures in space is
possible, but only with supervision and guidance
(including occasional teleoperation) from space or
ground-based humans. Complex robotic assembly with
little or no human supervision will require
breakthrough technologies.“


For an introduction dive into fresh articles from SpaceNEWS and Seeker. A bit older but more inspirational article is from Hiro Ono’s Oddysey in which Hiro Ono – an engineer at NASA – gives an interesting insight into his thoughts about AI in Space.
Wired asked the question what a robot actually is and try to give answers.
If you want to dig really deep into Space AI check out the Acta Futura Issue N. 9 published by ESA or check out the paper by Daniela Girimonte and Dario Izzo.
„The key battlefield for robotics is shifting from hardware competition to software“ said Zhang Boxu – director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology at the World Robot Conference 2017 in Bejing – a few days ago. So let’s have a look at the current news about AI.
Robot Justin Source: DLR

 

Read the full article




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NewSpace in Europe #3: Space Data is the new Oil!

NewSpace Update️

Focus: Small Satellites

Dear NewSpaceVisionaries,

„Data from space is the oil of the 21st century“ said Rolf Densing (Director of Operations and Head of ESOC). I would like to take this quote as an occasion to illuminate the Smallsat Business. For a little introduction check out an articleby Utah Public Radio (the Small Satellite Conference takes place each August on Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah, USA).
As you can read here the market forecast for Small Satellites is promising.In addition I have found a free report by Spaceworks for you here.

Nanoracks Smallsat deployment – Credit: Nanoracks

NewSpace in Europe

It is said that more satellites are built in Glasgow than in any other European city. At least the Glasgow based StartUp Clyde Space has developed a CubeSat with ultra-sensitve „cold atoms“ to accurately map slight changes in gravity across our planet’s surface.
Recently they have comissioned a ground station to be able to control and monitor the satellites throughout their journey in space.

The Suisse company ELSE SA got an initial 2,5 million € funding for its ambitous Astrocast project. In 2021 they want to get 64 satellites into space to build an IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (Machine to Machine) communication network.

Around the Globe

In contrast to Cislunar Explorers – who plan to seperate water into hydrogen and oxygen on-satellite and use it as propellant – students from Purdue University (Indiana, USA) use water itself as propellent.

LISA Pathfinder was using thrusters by Busek Company who have confirmed that they have passed a critical design test for iodine filled thrusters.
Prof. Ben Malphrus, Principal Investigator of Morehead State University’s Lunar IceCube mission said: „It’s a game-changing technology for the whole CubeSat community.”

On 1. August 2017 PacSci (Pacific Scientific) was testing its MAPS (Modular Architecture Propulsion System) rocket motors in a sun-synchronous, 515 km polar orbit operation. Instead of tanks, valves, tubing or heaters the company uses a different technology.

Finally I leave you with two App recommendations in which the correct thrust is very important. The first one is inspired by the SpaceX Falcon rocket landing and is called „Landing Confirmed“. (Link for Play and App Store)

In „A Comets Journey“ you have to choose the correct trajectory to collect items. This could be a satellite who has to collect space debris. (Link for Playand App Store)

Have a great time,
Albrecht Köhler

Upcoming Events:

On September 3rd from 10am to 5pm we will start with a morning boost session together with h-aero at the DroneMastersConvention. There you can see a presentation next to the flying h-aero. The convention will take place at the Trabrennbahn Berlin Karlshorst.
We have organized a limited free ticket contingent for 50 NSV attendees. They are valid for the entire event. You can visit the following drone marathon and the ceremony with the Federal Minister of Economics, Brigitte Zypries. You can find the links to tickets which are free for the first 50 attendees in our Meetup group.

PS: We are looking for a Social-Media-Person!

We hope you like our content and we want to bring it to more people by spreading it on the social networks we are present on! If you want to learn about NewSpace topics, learn about social media strategies, tools like Buffer & Mailchimp and want to help us, we would be super happy to hear from you info@newspace.vision!

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NewSpaceVision – Updates about NewSpace in Europe #2: Moon

Focus: Moon

Dear NewSpaceVisionaries,

this time we stare to the moon. It has gotten a lot of attention in the last few days. Not only is moon dust the object of desire and was sold for 1.8$million but also the solid-gold model of a lunar module which has been stolen from the Neil Armstrong Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Nevertheless, these are objects with less monetary value if you compare the futuristic ambitions of states (RussiaEuropeChinaUSAIndiaJapan) or companies (Space XGoogle – GLXPBlue OriginPartTimeScientistsAstroboticBigelow Aerospace) that are planning to visit the moon in the near future. What do they desire and what is their plan? A few answers gives this well researched and summarized article by Ersialia Vaudo Scarpetta, astrophysicist at ESA. Another article from TheConversation.com discusses the moon as a gas station and how we could use it. Wow, a lot of input in the beginning today …

Now let´s have a look on past moon related news.

Copyright by SFSF Shop where you can buy Space Illustrations printed on Shirts, Mugs, Posters and co

NewSpace in Europe

The futuristic ambitions I have mentioned above need well tested techniques and technologies you have to rely on. That is why moonlike testbeds for robots are so important. ESA is testing a few robot iterations on Tenerifian soil. The Rover Autonomy Testbed (RAT) is part of ESA’s Lunar Scenario Concept Validation and Demonstration (LUCID) project and is led by the Spanish aerospace company GMV.

The DLR is doing research on how to use moon dust for future habitats. In an interview Prof. Matthias Sperl describes how printed regolith could look like and how far they have come with their work.

3D printed bricks made of moon dust. Image credit – DLR

To place a lander and two rovers on the moon and establish a communication and transport infrastructure is the long term focus of the Berlin based PT Scientists. Robert Böhme and his team are now seeking for partners in the Middle East.

Read the full article

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NewSpaceVision – Fresh out the box: Updates about NewSpace in Europe #1

Dear NewSpaceVisionaries,

a lot is going on in the NewSpace sector nowadays and there are many opportunities in front of us. That is why we are planning to publish this content fortnightly in which we highlight a few NewSpace topics with a focus on the European Sector. This time we are going to focus on funding.
Feel free to share this new product! 🚀

NewSpace in Europe

Funding
Rocket launches are getting cheaper and cheaper. Orbex, a European space launch company based in UK, developed an innovative fuel tank architecture. The new technology could reduce the dry mass by 30% compared to traditional technologies. In July 2017 Orbex won the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument award.

Orbital Access brings objects into space in a different way. They will use a fully re-usable horizontal take-off launch system with maximum payloads of 500kg. They recently got a 200.000€ contract with ESA as part of its Two-Stage-To-Orbit (TSTO) technology program. Furthermore Orbital Access announced that they will open a headquarter in Malta in a few weeks. From a geographically perspective a wise decision.

ThrustMe is developing an electric propulsion that is more efficient than still existing ones. They claim to be able to double the thrust of a regular miniaturized electric propulsion system at only 40 percent the size. ThrustMe raised 1.7million€ from Kima Ventures and a collection of U.S. and European angel investors.

Current and NewSpace Business Fields
Source: BMWI

Around the Globe

A good message from Africa, especially considering a space topic. It makes me smile when I read that Ghanasat-1 was released from the ISS at the 7th July 2017. „It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space,“ the product coordinator Dr Richard Damoah said. Hopefully there is still a lot to come.

Read the full article

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The NewSpace Sector in Germany / Status of the German New Space Economy

An article by Sven Przywarra

The global space sector is going through profound changes. Ventures with innovative concepts are entering the market, backed by venture capital and often with a focus on the generation of data or vertical integration. A popular term for this development is NewSpace which was accelerated among other things by progress in miniaturisation, standardisation and activities from well-known billionaires and NASA.

What is the status of the German NewSpace Sector?

Where are companies which follow such an approach? The short answer is: The German NewSpace Sector is small and still in its infancy. You can count the few companies which are “NewSpace PurePlayers” on the fingers of one hand with “Components & Hardware” and “Earth Observation” as the two biggest groups. Within the first category protagonists are still following mostly relatively conservative business models but are more and more offering their products and services “off-the shelf” and to a fixed price, Berlin Space Technologies is a notable exception and an interesting example. OHB and Airbus are still trying to figure out how to incorporate the start-up idea into their companies. Within “Earth Observation” most of the companies analyse public satellite image libraries. Interestingly one of the most important acquisitions of the US American company Planet was a German-based company founded as RapidEye which now is the German branch of the NewSpace giant. (Thus, we see them as a part of the German NewSpace Ecosystem.)

Other smaller groups within the sector are “Navigation & Communication” which faces big international competition (e.g. OneWeb) and “Science & Ex-Orbit” with PTScientists as an endeavour backed by sponsors.

NewSpace Germany / New Space Germany

What is the reason for this situation?

Germany, with its excellent network of Universities and research institutes, has a perfect base for successful high-tech companies in this field but a lack in culture of starting up and difficulties in finding funding for such ambitious and risky business hinder the development of a strong sector.

There are signs and efforts for a change of the status quo. Numerous VC firms expressed their interest in investing in NewSpace companies, some of them made deals abroad. OHB as well as Airbus founded their own venture arms but notably investments in German Space StartUps are not known to us. It seems like the institutional site also wants to stimulate movements in this sector: StartUp Nights at the Federal Ministry for Economic Effairs and Energy and competitions for early stage projects on a national (InnoSpaceMasters) and European level (Copernicus Masters / Gallileo Masters) show small successes.

From our understanding at NewSpaceVision the lack in culture must be tackled at an even earlier stage: People must be educated about the grown opportunities and applications of space technology in the upstream (hardware) and downstream (software) market and individuals from different industries and backgrounds need to be connected and brought together over this topic to catalyse a free discussion and finally develop new use cases and businesses. With our events and the conference, we are trying to pursue that goal.

Actions need to be taken now to avoid the space market (after the internet) to be dominated by American companies only. For the benefit of a well flourishing market the last frontier should also be tackled by more NewSpaceVisionaries from Europe and Germany.

Disclaimer:

[This article was prepared and written by me in my personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are my own. I would be happy to receive your feedback! Feel free to contact me via direct message or via e-mail.]