Has the Space Race been reduced to a mere parade of vanity projects for aging billionaires?

Given recent focus on the exploits of aspiring astronauts like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos, you’d be forgiven for thinking so. But that’s far from the full picture of what’s happening out in the cosmos. Read on to learn about a new AETS project leading the way in using data from way above our heads to help solve a myriad of challenges down on the ground.

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The European Earth Observation Programme - ‘Copernicus’, is the European Commission managed system for monitoring the Earth. As such, Copernicus is ‘Europe’s eyes on Earth’, gathering data from earth observation satellites, ground stations, as well as airborne and sea-borne sensors to deliver reliable and up-to-date information across a wide spectrum of uses. For example, Copernicus data finds its way into areas such as environmental protection, climate change mitigation, sustainable development, public health, civil protection, and even tourism.

Since earlier this year, AETS has been working to implement the Copernicus Central America Initiative. Funded by the European Commission, this project aims to catalyse innovative applications of earth observation technologies in Central America by hosting an exciting series of webinars, workshops, and hackathons. AETS’ point person is Cécile Vinet, a Project Manager for Framework Contracts based in our Lons headquarters who is responsible for the project’s quality control. Cécile and AETS are delighted to work alongside SpaceTec Partners, a boutique consultancy specialised in all things space, whose Stéphane Ourevitch serves as Lead Expert for the Initiative.

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While the Copernicus Central America Initiative’s activities will continue until mid-2022, the project team has already been spurred on by preliminary research that shows the low level of penetration of geospatial technologies across Central America. The project therefore hopes to play its part in building a more supportive environment for the sector, reducing missed opportunities and the current exodus of highly qualified specialists from the region.

To learn more about the Initiative and follow its full calendar of events, take a look at its dedicated website (in Spanish): www.copernicus-centroamerica.academy/

And if you’re inspired to explore the wider universe of the Copernicus Programme, there’s a wealth of information available online: www.copernicus.eu/en/about-copernicus