NSO at the InnovatieExpo: "Space is driver of innovation"

Innovate together and build a future-proof Netherlands. That is the motto of the InnovationExpo on Thursday, November 2 at the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam. The expo connects knowledge, policy, market and society and thus helps accelerate innovations. The NSO will be at the expo with a booth. Kathelijne Beenen, satellite applications advisor, tells the audience present about space as a driver of innovation.

Kathelijne Beenen, Advisor Satellite Applications at NSO

Who will be attending the biennial Innovation Expo in Rotterdam?

'I expect a very broad audience. The conference is organized by the government to stimulate innovation around social issues in the Netherlands. You need companies, knowledge institutes and other organizations in addition to the government itself.'

Social issues are very broad. Can you give an example?

This conference is mainly about our physical environment. This is changing rapidly. How do we ensure that this happens in a responsible manner? That we take sufficient account of climate change and safety? That we invest in the right things and at the right locations? In short: how do we make the Netherlands in which we live and work future-proof?'

And, how do we do that?

'By acting together. The government can contribute with policy, financial resources and as a launching customer that stimulates innovation. But we also need knowledge institutions to conduct research and companies that can scale up and market innovations. Bringing these parties together and challenging them to innovate is what the Innovation Expo is for.'

What message is central to your contribution at the event?

'Are you looking for answers to major social issues? Then you will often find that satellite data can play an important role in this. A good example is the construction sector, as was evident from the SBIR Monitoring Construction Phases that we organized together with the Netherlands Labour Authority.'

Construction phases can be monitored with satellite data. Above are two satellite images of the same area. Left image is from April 2, 2023. Right image
is from October 17, 2023. Source: satellite data portal, Pleiades-NEO

How do you use satellite data in construction?

'For example, you can use satellite data to investigate whether a newly built bridge will be stable enough. You can monitor the construction of a wind farm in the North Sea effectively and efficiently. As a municipality, you can monitor subsidence and respond appropriately with policy. You can prevent heat islands in cities, optimize green management, model adjustments to infrastructure and its impact on the climate. And so on.'

Is the application of space as broad in other sectors?

'I would venture the proposition that satellite applications can be of great added value in almost every sector. That applies to data from earth observation satellites, but also to navigation and communication satellites. In the maritime sector, there is still a world to be gained in communication with ships in the North Sea, search and rescue operations and obtaining additional security in location and timing with Galileo PRS, for example for tracking sensitive transports'

Society can innovate with satellite data that are already there. How innovative is space itself?

'Innovation in satellite technology is in full swing. ESA is working for the European Commission on new missions within the Copernicus Earth observation program.Satellites for temperature monitoring, CO2, biodiversity and climate research, among others.There are also ESA's Earth Explorer missions, including for biomass research.And commercial parties are offering data with an increasingly higher resolution.This trend will continue in the coming years, so the added value of satellites for our society will only increase. I will also be talking to people about this during the event. We know what technology will become available in the next ten, fifteen years.Together we can prepare for this in order to get the most out of these new missions.'

Continue reading
InnovatieExpo 2023
SBIR Projects (in Dutch)
New Copernicus Satellite Missions
New ESA Earth Explorers Satellite Missions