ESA and the City of Essen collaborate to protect urban and suburban areas with the power of space-applications

The City of Essen and the European Space Agency (ESA) are cooperating to promote the development of space-applications in support of the development and the protection of urban environments in a sustainable manner. As a priority within the sustainable urban development, the focus will be on the natural green protection in urban and suburban areas, climate change challenges, biodiversity protection, sustainable urban mobility, circular economy, and support of growth of a sustainable green and digital economy by leveraging satellite and terrestrial networks.

The first joint initiative that has been launched through this cooperation is an Invitation To Tender for companies to propose space-based applications which can contribute to whether and to what extent green spaces can be effectively integrated into smart city planning and urban green management, be monitored regarding their status and their impact on the surroundings and preserved as natural capital to maximise benefits for all citizens. The City of Essen has been crucial for the definition of the key application areas.

The Lord Mayor of the City of Essen, Thomas Kufen, is looking forward to the cooperation and the opportunities it entails: “Urban green infrastructure improves water management during extreme precipitation events, has a positive impact on air quality, mitigates extreme summer temperatures, and provides recreational spaces. In times of climate change it is more important than ever in context of urban development, which must be rethought in a global context. The services developed with ESA will help us to observe, understand and sustainably adapt our local environment and its interdependencies.“

Rita Rinaldo, Head of the Partner/Thematic led Initiative of Space Solutions Programme in ESA, added: “working with the City of Essen gives us the opportunity to foster the development of space applications with the aim of making our cities greener, while boosting sustainability and infrastructure, protecting the environment and creating shared value for citizens. We are confident that this cooperation will showcase the potential of space to deliver green value thanks to innovative space-based solutions with environmental and socio-economic benefits at scale.”

European Space Agency signs Memorandum of Intent with Public Safety Communication Europe

Public Safety Communication Europe (PSCE) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) to support the utilisation of satellite applications for Public Safety.
ESA and PSCE will work together under the new MoI towards establishing interoperable public safety communications systems.
The MoI will support the emergence of space-based applications in the Public Safety domain such as public safety services relying on secure mobile broadband communication solutions. These include applications within disaster preparedness, response and resilience, situational awareness, assessments of damages, navigation-based services for tracking and coordinating rescue forces on-site and for emergency vehicles.
"ESA Space Solutions and the 4S Strategic Programme Line will support through this agreement the emergence of solutions making use of secure satellite communications for institutional Public Safety user communities. This can be achieved as of today through existing satellite telecommunications infrastructures. In the future it will be possible to make use of new and innovative infrastructures with enhanced capabilities. Early pilots and demonstrations will showcase the unique benefits granted by satellites to the user communities and early adopters", says Rita Rinaldo, ESA
"The cooperation with ESA will help to explore complementary solutions that will contribute to cover capability gaps and needs for public safety. It is of extreme importance to improve public safety communication systems with cutting-edge and rapidly deployable solutions that will facilitate PPDR missions", explains Marie-Christine Bonnamour, PSCE.
The cooperation between ESA and PSCE will be activated as a first step through PSCE participation in the ongoing user studies on "Satellite Applications for Public Safety".
PSCE will contribute to the identification of the needs of public safety stakeholders such as emergency services, fire brigades and law enforcement.

FAA Should Examine a Range of Options to Support U.S. Launch Infrastructure

Demand for commercial space launches is expected to increase. Twelve launch sites in The US held operator licenses in Aug. 2020, and 11 more were seeking licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Congress asked the FAA to recommend ways to facilitate and promote investments in space transportation infrastructure. The FAA told the GAO that its response would focus on 2 existing FAA grant programs.
Launch providers support the deployment of people and payloads, such as national security and commercial satellites or research probes, into space. The majority of these providers told GAO that U.S. space transportation infrastructure—located at sites across the country—is generally sufficient for them to meet their customers' current requirements. This situation is in part a result of the launch providers' investments in launch sites, along with state and local funding. Launch providers and site operators alike seek future improvements but differ on the type and location of infrastructure required. Some launch providers said that infrastructure improvements would be required to increase launch capacity at existing busy launch sites, while a few site operators said that new infrastructure and additional launch sites would help expand the nation's overall launch capacity.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was directed by statute to make recommendations to Congress on how to facilitate and promote greater investments in space transportation infrastructure, among other things. However, FAA's initial draft report was limited because it focused only on two existing FAA programs, rather than a range of options. FAA officials stated that they did not examine other options because of limited time and resources, and that the two identified programs could be implemented quickly because FAA has administrative authority to manage them. Leading practices in infrastructure investment emphasize the importance of conducting an examination of potential approaches, which can help identify how best to support national interests; avoid overlap or duplication of federal effort; and enhance, not substitute, participation by non-federal stakeholders. An examination may also help identify alternatives to making funding available, such as increasing efficiency and capacity through technology improvements. By focusing only on these existing programs, FAA may overlook other options that better meet federal policy goals and maximize the effect of any federal investment. Although FAA has already prepared its initial report to respond to the statute, it still has opportunities, such as during subsequent mandated updates, to report separately on potential approaches.
Demand for commercial space launches is anticipated to increase in the coming years. FAA, the agency responsible for overseeing the sites where these launches occur, was directed by statute to submit a report—and update it every 2 years until December 2024—that makes recommendations on how to facilitate and promote greater investments in space transportation infrastructure.