RHEA Group special report

How the space sector in Europe stepped up to the COVID-19 pandemic challenge


View full screen

2020 will forever be known as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every sector was affected, including the space sector, which responded not only by monitoring the situation, but also by proactively pursuing projects to address the challenges presented by the pandemic and supporting others to do so too.

It is impossible to quantify the impact of the space sector – and the value of space systems, data and technologies – in tackling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is clear that the many and varied contributions made a significant difference. The response showed that space systems could be quickly repurposed to provide essential data for policy-makers and service providers. It highlighted the value of programmes such as Galileo and Copernicus and the model of providing free, open data. And it demonstrated that both space data and space technologies could provide essential foundations for solutions that would prove beneficial to individuals, communities and nations.

This paper:

  • showcases the role of space in crisis management and highlights the use of space data and technologies in a broad range of applications
  • details funding initiatives created by governments and space agencies to developing products and services
  • highlights the value of competitions such as hackathons
  • explains how collaboration between space agencies and industry led to the development of data dashboards providing free insight into a range of areas impacted by the pandemic