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Aerospace, big data management is an increasingly profitable business

Aerospace, big data management is an increasingly profitable business

From the agreement between Sony and Exprivia to archive ESA data to that between Thales Alenia and Microsoft for image processing, because Earthwatch attracts investments

It may sound like an exaggeration, but a few days ago two completely unrelated events were listed, like a snapshot, a glimpse into our future. Last March 31, Sony Ed Experia, An international ITC specialist group, won a public tender forEuropean Space Agency (Isa) to present Spatial data storage service Coming from the program Copernicus European Space Agency and European Commission. The tender, which provides an initial amount of € 2 million for a period of 18 months, is related to the system Long-term data archiving service (Read out) to save In the next 100 years Information from Pairs of Sentinel satellites 1, 2 and 3 of the Copernicus Program.

A few days later, Amazon Prime Video, forty years after its first broadcast, made it available. Conan – a boy from the futureFantastic fiction on prof Post-apocalyptic world Firm yes Hayao Miyazaki. Based on the novel The dizzying tide In Alexander Key, Conan Presumably, the Earth was ravaged by the inability to manage its resources. Not because they are finished, which is what happens instead in InterstellarFor example, but because humanity has not revealed itself in the face of its struggles, it has not been able to respond to the challenges of progress, overpopulation, and the equal sharing of wealth, even that available. Behind the atmosphere (Like solar energy).

Screenshot from “Conan,” Hayao Miyazaki’s first work

A lot of data

Alternative: What does signing mean, beyond imagination, to a contract for ‘Long term preservation of satellite data And Japanese anime for forty years? And why would both events matter Collective FateIs this also who, from science fiction or space, is legitimately getting away? Since we are in it, it would be better to expand the question to a central topic in these complex months: But with all the troubles afflicting the planet, what is the point of investing the precious resources outside its atmosphere? What is the point of thinking about a data-saving centenary if we get stuck in the day to day management of one pandemic?

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One area of ​​our activities outside the atmosphere responds to all three uncertainties: Earth observation. Even his portrayal, visions from behind the atmosphere, recreates a film with intricate plot. For half a century we have been observing the surface of our planet from space and recording its changes.

Half a century in which everything happened. There are hundreds of satellites scanning the surface, atmosphere, and seas today and covering the entire globe multiple times a day. One has gone The ground accuracy is 80 meters (Landsat 1, was 1972) A few centimeters. To stay in the metaphor, the frames and precision increased dramatically, as happened between them locomotive By the Lumière and Mega brothers in 8K. Not enough: where before the picture was the visible, now the sensors are in orbit, a multispectral radar, They recreate the form and essence of realityBetter than 4D display.

All this means dataThe many, many data that make up the “digital twin” of Earth. Only the constellation Copernicus It produces 250 terabytes every day. A coffin of raw materials to be polished with great mathematical skills to be able to exploit all potentials through it Artificial Intelligence Algorithms. And to be stored safely and for a long time.

Optical Disk Archive, or Oda, # 2 (Image: Exprivia / Sony)

Century Archive

The Exprivia system Storing “raw” data, that is, captured directly by the satellite, will be used for the first time in Europe The new optical media Oda Gen3, The third generation of technology Optical Disk Archive Powered by Sony, a long-term archiving system for storing big data. Thanks to Oda, over the next 100 years, an enormous amount of information (more than 8 petabytes at the end of 2021), coming from the monitoring and control of our planet, will be stored in More performance and longer life devices Compared to traditional magnetic media. Once processed, the data will be Available for free to citizensPublic and private entities (including research institutes and military or governmental authorities) and authorized companies that request it.

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Only the three pairs of Sentinels whose surveys will be kept thanks to Exprivia technology allow us to analyze a myriad of things: ice Navy e Movements of buildings or land, Such as landslides, to assess the stability of bridges and buildings using search and rescue radars; Forests and reservoirsTo understand the state of vegetation cover and chlorophyll, then assess crop health; Temperature and parameters Marine ecosystemsWater quality and pollution. Of course, it is only one shot among many in the feature film.

Sentinel 6 launched in November and is costly to measure Oceans rise, “Swelled” by heat from human activities and melting glaciers. Some satellites, already in orbit or soon to be built, are hounds capable of sniffing the atmosphere in search of sources of greenhouse gases.

The “Prisma” satellite at the Kourou base in French Guiana, before launch (Image: Assi)

European and Italian gem, Prism vitreous, Has superhuman senses: the hyperspectral sensor (made by Leonardo In Campi Bisenzio) they learn about the chemical and physical composition of things, the level of humidity to prevent fires, salinity and with it the health of the marine environment, and the level of contamination with hydrocarbons or plastics. Asbestos on surfaces. The entire Italian constellation Cosmo Sky Med, Along with Sentinels, produces images on demand in the regions Affected by the emergency. It happened in 2016, to assess collapses a few hours later Earthquake Central Italy. These are just a few examples in an ocean of data.

Sector business

European Association of Companies Remote Sensing It is estimated that in 2019, The total value of the industry From Earth observation $ 57.5 billion, With an expected growth in 2020 to 75.9. Although the increase is significant, the increase is small compared to what was expected thanks to microsatellites and nanosatellites, technologies that have made space access even for small and medium-sized enterprises.

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The gold rush in space, understood as wealth produced in orbit, has already started. A recent agreement between Thales Alenia Space e Microsoft It aims to use automatic and real-time processing of deeperVision satellite imagery, on the Microsoft Azure Orbital platform. TelespazioIt is another Italian company distinguished in the sector, through its German subsidiary, and working with Amazon Web Service to give it to its users Access to satellite management and services To process, store and analyze data. It’s an Elndado Extraterrestrial available for companies ready to do it Green businessOr, just work. And policy for climate crisis mitigation strategies. It is no exaggeration to argue that today, and increasingly in the coming years, Make decision It will depend on space technologies and derivative services.

Image of Italy from the International Space Station “dome” (Photo: Paolo Nespoli / ISSA)

For this, it is not only necessary but urgent to ascertain the number of satellites, as well as provide solutions for them Improve everyone’s life Days, you must also serve Avoid the scenario Before his eyes was the boy that Alexander Key and Hayao Miyazaki imagined. Today, investing in space and knowing how to exploit the potential with shared awareness will prevent Conan from serving tomorrow to save the world.

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