The ESA/CNES ActInSpace initiative, sponsored by Airbus DS and directly supported by employees, aimed at bringing together people from all walks of life to come up with ideas on how to make creative use of existing space technologies.

Top ideas included mobility projects for the disabled, value-added satellite imagery for both crisis management and smart-city initiatives, a drone ejection system for simultaneous deployment of 70 drones and a global nanosatellite ground system network. On a lighter note, the use of virtual- and augmented-reality was suggested to give new space experiences for people to experience what it’s like to be in space.

Employees from across the Airbus Group took part, some at jury level, with those from Space Systems and CIS/Intelligence playing a key role at the events closest to their sites. They were particularly active in Toulouse, Paris, Kourou and Darmstadt where some helped create the challenges and organise some impressive prizes while others devoted their entire weekend to coaching or participating in the various teams.

Winners of the Airbus DS prizes:

Innovation Prize (pilot training session on an A320 simulator, Airbus DS satellite cleanroom visit, including 3D facilities, and a meet and greet with an astronaut):

  • DYbyDX from Harwell, UK A collaborative platform for facilitating disabled access using satellite imagery, navigation systems and user inputs in an insufficiently developed area.
  • NanoConnect from Darmstadt, Germany Creation of a global generic ground station network for nanosatellites
  • Entrepreneurship Prize (100k€ of Airbus DS satellite imagery):
  • WiSave from Toulouse, France Flood risk and crisis management combining satellite imagery with Internet of Things networks 

ActInSpace was this year held in 24 cities across 12 countries and generated some 200 project proposals from around the globe, with the objective of creating 20 new start-ups. This challenge in may attracted seven times the number of participants*.

*1435 subscribers in 2016, versus 201 in 2014 (more information: