Fregata Space, the company in which Sateliot has a stake and which transforms satellite images into high-resolution information with high predictive value, uses the New Space ecosystem as well as proprietary Big Data and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to prevent more than 8 million tons of plastics from ending up in the oceans every year. (View an informative video at this direct YouTube link…)
The applications of New Space technology in the field of marine biodiversity is precisely one of the central themes to be discussed this Friday at the 3rd New Space Atlantic Summit with the aim of contributing from the space industry to the preservation and management of our marine resources, above all taking into account that, if there is no response to this international crisis, by 2050 there will be more rubbish than fish in the oceans.
It is estimated that micro- and macro-plastics produce between 60 and 80% of marine litter. Thus, taking into account that plastic reaches the oceans from lakes, rivers and coastal areas, Fregata Space has designed a solution that, based on satellite images, monitors the coasts and river mouths to capture this waste before it reaches the open sea.
From there, a system of IoT sensors detects the volume of waste and the different cleaning points and, through a mobile application, automatically organises the collection and recycling of the plastics, which are auctioned in real time among local waste management companies to give them a second life.
In this way, Fregata contributes to saving the more than 33,000 dollars per tonne (more than 28,000 euros approximately) that its cleaning involves today by generating a circular economy — and local micro-economies in the areas where it operates —- to fight against ocean pollution from its own source: the coastal areas.
To make this possible, it uses satellite remote sensing – based on images collected by the European Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites and other satellites, as well as databases from the Copernicus and Galileo Earth observation programs – as the main monitoring technique. These data are then analyzed, processed and converted into practical and useful information through advanced and patented Machine Learning techniques.
Fregata Space already has several pilot projects underway to test the effectiveness of this local microeconomy with a holistic approach in cities such as La Romana in the Dominican Republic. The company, in collaboration with the Proactiva Foundation, is implementing this technology to limit the problem of waste management in this area. In this way, it monitors the volume of plastics from space, manages their removal and offers them a second life, employing, in addition, local labour.
According to María Fernanda González, founder and CEO of Fregata Space, “space is no longer a place reserved for just a few people, which is why there is a need to make the most of the assets it offers – such as Earth Observation – to solve the planet’s problems, such as the excessive amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans.”