Space has become one of the most exciting ecosystems to generate revenue. Yet, when most people hear the term "space business" the first thing that pops into their head is a rocket blasting off of a launch pad and a control room.
"And yes, part of space business is about sending rovers to Mars and putting satellites in orbit but there is so much more that space technology can offer," explained Fiammetta Diani, head at EUSPA Market, Downstream & Innovation Department. "Thanks to the large amount of Earth Observation, satellite navigation and satcom data offered by satellites we can develop myriads of applications to serve millions of users down on Earth."
A "downstream space entrepreneur" can be anyone from any sector that is looking into space data to innovate and add value to their or someone else’s business model. It could be a startup monitoring the environmental impact of tourism using Earth Observation data or a drone operator integrating secured satellite navigation services to deliver first aid products.
According to Diani, space downstream entrepreneurs are able to find solutions to problems that have not been solved before and reap the rewards associated by being early movers. Now, one can wonder: How? And with what cost?
EUSPA has an answer to that, and it’s now called CASSINI Challenges!
The CASSINI Challenges (formerly known as #myeuspace competition) are the one stop shop for both experienced and inexperienced innovators who want to break into the space industry. It is a competition which tasks innovators with developing cutting-edge solutions to solve some of today’s most pressing societal issues using satellite data/services from Galileo and Copernicus. The reward? A cash prize pool of €1,000,000 to take their solution to the next level.
The competition consists of three thematic challenges and three tracks (based on the maturity of the solution proposed) to encourage even more innovators to participate:
Next Generation Challenge: applicants are asked to leverage Galileo and Copernicus data to craft value adding solutions to improve the well-being, safety, security and connectivity of EU citizens.
Sustainable Future Challenge: participants are tasked with developing innovative solutions for the conservation of ecosystems, sustainable agriculture and management of energy and resources.
Emerging Technologies Challenge: innovators must develop disruptive solutions combining EU space data with deep technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum technologies (quantum computing, sensing, simulation, encryption, etc.), Blockchain technology and Extended Reality or the Metaverse (Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR).
Throughout the competition, EUSPA Market Development professionals will offer guidance to participants through dedicated webinars. Participants will also have access to a wealth of tools and publications of space intelligence generated by EUSPA such as the EUSPA EO and GNSS Marker Report and the EU Space For Green Transformation report, among others.
The CASSINI Challenges are open to teams from the EU27 plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
October 2nd, 2023: announcement of the contest;
October 24th, 2023: CASSINI Challenges informative webinar;
November 24th, 2023: deadline for the submission of an idea;
February 9th, 2024: deadline for the submission of a prototype;
April 19th, 2023: deadline for the submission of a product;
June 2024: contest finals / Entrepreneurship Day.
The following criteria will be considered for the evaluation of the solutions along the all tracks of the contest. Further they shall be applicable to both tracks:
Innovation (0-5): How innovative and novel the approach is compared to existing technical solutions and commercial services? Is this kind of solution not yet available on the market or addressing a new application area? Is the application technologically advanced (e.g. using multi-frequency, innovative algorithms)?
Market potential (0-5): Is there a potential market demand/customer base for this solution? What is the revenue potential? What is the market (entry) plan?
Feasibility (0-5): How feasible the solution is within the limits of current technology? What is the development plan of the solution?
EU Space-relevance (0-5): Is the application making use of Galileo and/or Copernicus? Are Galileo and/or Copernicus differentiators relevant for the application? Are synergies between Galileo-Copernicus data explored?
Operational capacity (0-5): What are the operational resources (human, technical and other) that will be invested in the solution development?
These criteria will be assessed confidentially and on a discretionary basis by the EUSPA evaluation board.