Energy & Environment


Dam and dike protection

Satellite technology used for monitoring soil moisture levels over vast landmasses, has been adapted for monitoring dam and dike maintenance, alerting authorities to dangerous instabilities and potential faults.

Lifecycle tool converted to offshore oil and gas installations

A tool designed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to track space project documents has been converted to operate offshore oil and gas installations. This has improved oil rig safety and reduced operating costs.

Improving oil and gas drilling

Many tasks on satellites can be compared to those on oil rigs. Software developed for use in space is now being trialled for use on oil drilling operations. This benefits the workers because the automated software can perform repetitive tasks so that the operator may focus on crucial decisions.

Clean affordable power

Fuel cells developed for applications on Mars can also be used to produce eco-friendly power on Earth. Many companies are converting to this method which is 67% cleaner than fossil fuels.

Improved flood detection

Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) now provide almost real-time measurements of water levels in flood risk areas. This means that it is possible to reduce the risk of flooding by quickly dispatching air or ground support to vulnerable areas.

Remote maintenance inspections and repairs

A system designed to allow software engineers to maintain spacecraft, providing all the information required to access and repair a problem, has been developed for use in smaller applications, allowing maintenance teams to use tablet computers to work remotely on a huge commercial scale.

High-resolution radar detects structural weaknesses

High-resolution technology developed for ESA’s space radar can also be used for structural applications, reducing the risk of dangerous foundations, predicting collapse and detecting the most minute deformities or weaknesses in architectural structures such as buildings, bridges and skyscrapers.

Monitoring mining machinery in remote places

Maintaining heavy-duty mining machinery in remote places can be problematic and needs to be resolved quickly to minimise the time they are out of use. Using satellite technology, an on-board computer can check that the vehicle is working properly and report back to specialists at a central control point. The specialists can deploy a remote helicopter-view of the vehicle and the exact location, which can be shared with the engineers on site so that any problem can be resolved quickly.


“Fuel cells developed for applications on Mars can also be used to produce eco-friendly power on Earth”




Developed for the comet lander Philae, part of the Rosetta mission, this magnetic ball valve is now being mass produced for purifying contaminated water.

Measuring water content in Spanish ham

A technology originally devised to detect the water retention of astronauts is being used to measure the level of water retention in hams.

Clean affordable power

Fuel cells developed for applications on Mars can also be used to produce eco-friendly power on Earth.

Space cameras detect viruses

Cameras designed and developed for ‘capturing’ black holes are now being used to take precise pictures of viruses to help researchers and medics develop treatments.

Cochlear implant

Electronic and vibration sensor systems used by a deaf engineer working for NASA resulted in the breakthrough development of the cochlear implant.

Excimer laser angioplasty system

A laser system originally developed to study the atmosphere in space from satellites has now been adapted to produce a medical tool which can treat heart disease.

Diabetic insulin pumps

Piezoelectric technology was developed for European satellites to absorb energy through kinetic movement. It is now used in a wristwatch sized strap that can be worn by people with Type 1 diabetes and holds 2–3 weeks’ supply of insulin.

Monitoring forests and fires

Direct readout satellite technology developed to analyse gases and particles in space has been installed on towers and masts connected to a remote central office to monitor forests and detect potential fires.

Early warning of biological threats

Originally used when searching for life on Mars, biosensor technology has been further developed to detect targeted biological warfare. These sensors can detect disease-carrying bacteria, viruses and parasites, and issue alerts for rapid action.

Real-time train updates

Software designed to process complex data to plan satellite operations is being used with the rail network.

Improved vehicle assembly lines

Spacecraft docking mechanisms use a live camera feed and software for object recognition. This is now used to improve the speed and precision of car assembly lines which use robotic devices.

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