Tackling observation Challenges in the Atlantic: the case of small satellite constellations

Remote sensing and, in particular, space-based observation systems are inherently global and persistent, making them a unique source of data extremely useful in remote areas without substantial in situ sensor coverage, such as Oceans.

The rise of the NewSpace movement along with the desire to massify low-cost sensors and integrated information systems, and the potential demonstrated by the application of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data technologies to data management has led to unprecedented interest in small satellites (micro-, nano- and pico-) and their application to Earth Observation and interconnectedness. As of January 2019, there were, according to the OECD, 29 planned Cubesat-based constellations with at least 1 satellite already in orbit or with a launch planned until the end of the year.

Following the Victoria Island Declaration of April 2019, the AIR Centre, +ATLANTIC and UT Austin Portugal organized a technical workshop to characterize current observation challenges in the Atlantic, map current efforts from Atlantic nations, and identify and discuss the characteristics of small satellite constellations and desired performance of sensors required to address these issues. Examples of precursor work and lessons learned so far were presented with a view towards setting up follow-up joint work on technical requirements /development.


  • 09:45 Welcome Remarks
    Jorge del Rio | UNOOSA
    Joaquín Hernández Brito | CEO
    André Oliveira | CoLab + Atlantic
    Andreia Passos | UT Austin Portugal Program
  • 10:00 Session I (Roundtable) Exploring the needs for an All-Atlantic Nanosatellite Constellation
    Moderator: Nuno Ávila | DEIMOS
    José Moutnho | AIR Centre | Presenting and discussing on the Letter of Intent for the joint framework to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and capacity building in the New Space Sector through the Deployment of an All- Atlantic Nanosatellite Constellation
    Samy Djavidnia |GEO Blue Planet | Presentation of results and recommendations of the Ocean and Coastal User Needs
    António Geraldo | Labomar
    Samuel Mafwila | University of Namibia
    Foster Mensah | University of Ghana
  • 11:00 Coffee break
  • 11:20 Session II (Roundtable) Existing Capabilities and current projects to quick start an All-Atlantic Nanosatellite Constellation
    Moderator: Nuno Lourenço | CoLAB +ATLANTIC
    José Ferreira | TEKEVER | INFANTE Project
    Nuno Catarino | DEIMOS | NextGEOSS Project
    Milton Kampel | INPE
    Asma Ibrahim | NASRDA
    Stewart Bernard | CSIR
    Nuno Catarino | DEIMOS
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 13:30 Session III (Hands-on Session) Co-Creation user stories and developing functional requirements for the All -Atlantic Nanosatellite Constellation
    Facilitator: José Luiz Moutinho | AIR Centre
  • 14:30 Session IV (Talk) The way Forward: planning on All-Atlantic Nanosatellite Constellation
    Keynote: Stewart Bernard | CSIR
    Hilkka Ndjaula | University of Namibia
    Adesina Adegibie | NIOMR
    Mahmoud Ibrahim Mahmoud | NOSDRA
    Isa Elegbede | University of Lagos/ Brandenburg University
    Ffion Atkins | University of Cape Town