Airbus Introduces ‘Enter the SpaceDataHighway’ Challenge
Airbus Introduces Enter the SpaceDataHighway Challenge

Airbus has flagged off an innovative challenge viz. ‘Enter the Space Data Highway’, giving a vocal platform to one of the most ambitious laser tech-backed progressive communication system, SpaceDataHighway.

The system which lets transmission of large volumes of data in real time at speed of 1.8 gigabyte per second has been in operation since 23 November 2016. For the Challenge, SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurs and students are invited to with their constructive ideas to make use of ‘SpaceDataHighway’ in everyday applications. The winning project will receive a prize in the form of a 75,000 Euro investment, and will be able to draw on the expertise and support of Airbus Bizlab, the Group’s innovation powerhouse.

Airbus Bizlab is a business incubator in which entrepreneurs or start-ups participate in a six-month programme. During the course of period, they will be accompanied by engineers, business development experts or even by coaches to support them in the realisation of prototypes, market studies or the launch of a product.

The second winner project will be given a prize sum of 25,000 Euro to launch a crowd-funding campaign on the brand-new SpaceStarters platform, enabling space related businesses and start-ups to raise money.

The SpaceDataHighway is a unique space communication system combining ultra-broadband laser communications in geostationary orbit to deliver a unique, secure, near real time data transfer service, making data latency a thing of the past. It can help revolutionise a number of areas, including the handling of humanitarian crises, maritime security and environmental protection by receiving satellite imagery in near real time. The Sentinel satellites of the European Union’s Earth observation programme, Copernicus, will be the first to benefit from these next-generation services. However, the SpaceDataHighway will also be able to connect other platforms such as aircraft, UAVs or the International Space Station.

“In general, space communications are the only way to establish broadband communications between humans and machines, whether they are in urban or remote areas, at sea, in the air or even in space. The SpaceDataHighway is like the first optical fibre in space, but with the added advantage of mobility.

Therefore, the scope of possible applications is vast”, said Hughes Boulnois, head of the SpaceDataHighway business at Airbus Defence and Space. “With the generalisation of space technologies and the emergence of new stakeholders in the sector, Airbus wants this initiative to engage with and listen to the end-users market needs and to develop ideas to support this extended space ecosystem,” he added.

European Commission and the European Space Agency has taken the initiative together with Airbus and developed the SpaceDataHighway programme in a public–private partnership.


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