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Space technology specialist Astrosat tackling humanitarian issues on earth

 
Judy Law
Space technology specialist Astrosat is tackling truly global issues on earth (Source: Astrosat)

Space technology specialist Astrosat is using satellite data to diagnose and predict problems on earth.

The company, based in Musselburgh, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, has recently returned from the US having participated in the high-profile Armstrong Space Symposium at The Ohio State University.

“Our business is bringing space down to Earth. At Astrosat we do space-as-a-service and turn raw satellite data into tailor made, user friendly, humanitarian applications,” states Dan Ghatoray, Business & Innovation Analyst at Astrosat.

According to Astrosat, there is no challenge on planet earth that could not be assisted or solved with space.

This is the company's ethos and it has been since chief executive, Steve Lee, formed the company in 2012. “We work out of a fully renovated hi-tech space, a former church in Musselburgh, on behalf of government bodies or large private organisations,” adds Dan.

Astrosat has just returned from the United States, having participated in the Armstrong Space Symposium at The Ohio State University. The Symposium is an annual gathering of the space Industry’s elite academics, business leaders and former astronauts, including the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong. They gather from all over the world to discuss and plan for the future of space.

“Steve’s overall contribution to the UK space industry and collaborative work alongside Dr John M Horack of Ohio State had earned him an invitation along with our Chief Operating Officer, Dr Fraser Hamilton, to attend and to moderate a key panel discussion,” says Dan.

Dan Ghatoray, Business & Innovation Analyst at Astrosat:

There is a formidably strong business community in the Lothians. The space industry is one where everything is done by collaboration. You need friends in space, and those aren’t in short supply in Scotland.

The company is involved in tackling some truly global issues. In Guatemala, they are developing a revolutionary method for stopping the illegal logging trade in its tracks.

“We have created an application we call ‘FMAP’ – Forest Management and Protection. In a country where three quarters of the population live on or below the poverty line, the fair use of the natural environment is paramount to sustainable economic growth.”

The hope is that this technology will be used to reduce illegal logging across the country but also, as a result, protect and create sustainable forestry jobs, reduce forest degradation and also boost biodiversity.

Another project is a single data point designed to meet the needs of first responders who need situational awareness in critical situations.

“This is RAPID – Response and Protection in Disaster. RAPID collects, collates and processes satellite imagery to allow a full interrogation by the user to make smarter decisions on the ground,” explains Dan.

Since the company's formation in 2012, it has increased staff numbers significantly, from 15 to 50 and is generating a healthy annual turnover. “There is a formidably strong business community in the Lothians. The space industry is one where everything is done by collaboration. You need friends in space, and those aren’t in short supply in Scotland,” continues Dan.

“As to our vision for the future? We keep growing and innovating all the time. The possibilities are endless with the team we have. One thing we do know for sure is that the sky is not the limit, not even close.”

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