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Kuva Space awarded €1.8M contract to join the ESA’s Civil Security from Space Program

Kuva Space awarded €1.8M contract to join the ESA’s Civil Security from Space Program

Finnish hyperspectral satellite and AI-powered insights company Kuva Space has been awarded a €1.8M contract to participate in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Civil Security from Space (CSS) program to provide advanced hyperspectral situational awareness information for monitoring and mitigating civil security and crisis events.

Within the three-year R&D program, Kuva Space will test and develop on-board hyperspectral data processing, Sat-to-Sat, and Sat-to-IoT mobile communication, demonstrated with a field study with the Finnish authorities, dedicated to enhancing border surveillance by detecting and rediscovering illegal activities along the Baltic Sea area between Finland, Estonia, and Sweden.

The Civil Security from Space program aims to foster the use of spaceborne solutions to act swiftly to support humanitarian responses, law enforcement, safety, and emergency events anywhere, at any time, and for the benefit of everyone.

"Bringing information on any emergency events to first responders as fast as we can has a huge environmental, humanitarian, and security impact. We look forward to collaboratively developing a robust solution to test the end-to-end delivery of insights to the user as part of the CSS program," states Jarkko Antila, CEO of Kuva Space.

Currently, the civil security domain faces various challenges related to limited resources, data access, big data handling, and data transmission due to the growth of data volume, distribution velocity, data variety, and security. Especially before, during, and after emergencies, experts rely on disparate data sources and satellite assets to anticipate events, assess the situation, and communicate, meaning that actionable information in near real-time is paramount.

In response, five nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, and Switzerland) under ESA have contributed funding to create SMART-CONNECT, a consortium of various technology actors led by Austrian company Geoville. Under SMART-CONNECT, Kuva Space (FI), Epic Blue (BE), INOV (PT), Klepsydra (CH)), neXat (BE), Sistema (AT) and VITO (BE), aim to revolutionize crisis communication for swift data exchange and timely provision of actionable information in emergency situations.

SMART-CONNECT provides a middleware solution that allows secure end-to-end data interconnectivity among citizens, first responders, disaster management centers, and situational awareness EO service providers. Failsafe transmission capacity is enabled via automatic selection of available transmission channels (all SatCom and terrestrial). As a user-selectable service option, the solution features an open value chain for third-party situational awareness information service providers. SMART-CONNECT thereby provides an end-to-end data chain for civil-security emergency management.

“Hyperspectral data opens up a range of new and enhanced applications and services, particularly within the civil security domain. Kuva Space is one of the leading European companies developing hyperspectral systems, so it is very exciting that the company is a key member of the Smart-Connect consortium. The multi-platform constellation ensures fast revisit, along with the potential for extended persistence and fast tipping - or cueing - that allows for timely and relevant information to reach the hands of first responders when it is needed,” says Gordon Campbell, Head of Enterprise, within ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes Directorate.

Together with the Finnish authorities, Kuva Space will demonstrate the automatic detection of marine vessels using hyperspectral imaging and its advanced AI platform, creating an alert in case of no Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) signal from the vessel. Having the AIS or the RF signal turned off raises suspicion that the vessel is involved in criminal activity. At this moment, Kuva Space collects and stores the spectral signatures of the vessel for rediscovery attempts and future acquisition.

Additionally, Kuva Space will develop calibrated and analytics data products on board to automatically detect wildfires and landslide scarps, as well as provide their coordinates to civil security platforms within ten minutes of transmission to the ground station through SMART-CONNECT.

Kuva Space is on a mission to build the world's most extensive hyperspectral satellite constellation and automatic AI-powered insights-as-a-service model. With three successful satellite missions, Kuva Space will launch two hyperspectral satellites and its initial services in 2024. The first one, Hyperfield-1, is scheduled to launch in July 2024. This will mark the initial stage of Kuva Space’s planned constellation, which aims to provide gapless monitoring by deploying up to 100 satellites by 2030.

In 2023, Kuva Space was awarded a €5M commercial contract to be the sole provider of hyperspectral data services for the EU Copernicus program, and the company won the NATO Innovation Challenge for its AI-driven analytics for enhanced Arctic monitoring capabilities.


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