Earth Observation Companies – A Ranking of UK EO Businesses13th Jul 2023
The UK’s Earth Observation industry is a significant one. Many of the companies operating EO are big players such as Thales Alenia Space and Airbus, which are not specific EO companies, nor are they just UK companies.
In this guide, we’ve focused on mainly companies for whom EO and Earth observation data processing is their main business. Many of them are partnered with big space agencies and companies. We’ve focused on companies that have operations in the UK, rather than those that merely have an office here.
There are some exciting smaller companies that are operating in the UK as well! Since the space industry is set to continue growing in spite of recent hiccups, many of these EO companies are providing crucial space-borne services and devices to other industries.
|ESA, NASA, UKSA
|Airbus Space, ESA
|NASA, Airbus, UKSA
|ESA, Shell, Catapult
|ESA, University of Cambridge, UKSA
|Lockheed Martin, UKSA
RAL Space is a national laboratory focused on working with a variety of different agencies on space projects. Known for scientific research and developing new technologies, the company has a big role to play in the field of Earth observation.
Scientists working within RAL Space assist with a number of different projects within the science community, working with partners including NASA, ESA, UKSA and more. The company uses multiple methods to obtain information on the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth. Their scientists have expertise in atmospheric research as well as remote sensing and modeling environmental phenomena.
The programs they are involved in include:
- Broad Band Radiometer (BBR) on EarthCARE
- GEostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB)
- Chilbolton Atmospheric Observatory (CAO)
- Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR)
- Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) RADAR
- ENVironmental monitoring SATellite (ENVISAT)
- European Incoherent SCATter (EISCAT)
Telespazio UK is just one arm of a joint venture between Leonardo and Thales. Though the holding company is headquartered in Rome, Telespazio UK is its own entity working out of Luton.
Telespazio is known all over the world for providing satellite solutions and services, which includes Earth observation. The mission of the company is to support the core space market and use space assets in market sectors including defence and transport.
They are well-positioned to do so, based on the fact that they have a huge network of space centres and teleports.
In recent years, Telespazio UK has worked on a number of environmental projects, and has a specific role in helping companies adapt to, and mitigate for climate change. Their partners include ESA, but they also have a network of clients in the UK and the rest of the world.
EO is just one piece of the puzzle. In over 40 years of history (they were formally operating under the name Telespazio VEGA) they have been involved in satellite communications, mission control systems, consultancy, and satellite navigation.
ARGANS, based in Plymouth, is an organisation of scientists and software specialists that has a rich portfolio of helping companies in their satellite-based EO.
The company is growing, with offices in Toulouse, Brest, and Sophia-Antipolis, as well as in Valencia in Spain.
Their specialities include remote-sensing applications and services, and monitoring marine and atmospheric data from satellites.
Argans builds algorithms and EO products that can process data, providing valuable insights for their clients. They also offer mission-critical project management of international Earth observation teams.
The EO specialists within Argans work with partners on mission requirements specifications as well as ground segment design to ECSS standards.
SEN’s first satellite recently launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon9 craft. Their dream is to stream videos that are universally accessible as well as useful for a variety of business and humanitarian needs.
Their mission statement includes “using its own micro satellites and hosted cameras to stream real-time videos and information about Earth direct to individuals, creating a unique dataset for all humanity, empowering people and inspiring global change.”
SEN has a holistic mission of raising awareness about changes of the Earth, and they also plan to incorporate AR and video into their UHD network as well as providing data for a variety of organisations and charities to use.
Earth-I provides near real-time satellite data as well as analytics and insight. They work in a number of different fields including natural disasters and ecology as well as marine monitoring, energy, and agriculture.
The company uses data from the Vivid-i satellite constellation, creating high-res video images from an orbit of 500km. These satellites were made by SSTL, another key British company working in the space industry.
Earth-i offer consultancy services as well as bespoke project management services. Their case studies show a wide-reaching service that can help a number of industries.
Terrabotics is a London-based EO company, developing analytics platforms for EO and remote sensing data. They provide 3D maps of Earth and a number of different analytics and data insights.
Clients for Terrabotics include companies in the energy, mining, and metals industries. They are described as “working in vital natural resources sectors to reduce risk, improve decision making, and increase transparency.”
The data analytics solutions include unique ESG and operational intelligence and metrics. Their products use data derived from aerial, satellite and geospatial data, and this is combined with machine learning algorithms to provide valuable information for a variety of different industries.
Astrosat is a company based in Scotland with a mantra that “any problem has a space solution”.
Operating for just over a decade, they have created multiple platforms for monitoring and analysing Earth observation data.
Though a relatively small company compared to some other space companies, they were the winner of the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus Masters award three years in a row and have been handed contracts by the ESA, UK Space Agency and UK and foreign
Their stream of satellite data measures a huge amount of data and the company offers consultancy services to a variety of different industries. They are moving more into disaster recovery and are also developing space hardware.
SuperSharp is another Earth observation company making specific innovations in an attempt to provide affordable yet insightful data.
Specifically, SuperSharp is working on unfolding telescopes which provide high resolution thermal infrared images. This technology can be included in smaller satellites meaning more affordable Earth observation. They claim their TIR telescopes have a 4x greater resolution per unit cost than other options on the market.
Applications include crop monitoring, shipping, security, climate change, and more.
A spin out company from Cambridge University, and currently working out of the Cambridge Innovation Park, the company has already built a lot of buzz in the industry and generated significant funding.
SatVu is an Earth observation company capable of providing 3.5m resolution thermal imaging from space. This temperature data is designed to be useful for numerous industries as well as tracking climate change and other environmental data.
Building their thermal satellite technology, HOTSAT-1 is the first satellite in their planned constellation, which launched on the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket recently sent into orbit.
The platform also provides a range of analysis tools to help users extract insights from this data, with cloud-based tools that can provide valuable information for monitoring and analysis.
What’s Behind Our Rankings?
This is definitely work in progress, and has only focused on the UK players in the industry. There are some fledgling companies in our list who we expect to grow, or possibly end up amalgamating with other, larger companies. Our rankings will be regularly updated as the industry continues to grow and evolve. Moreover, EO as a commercial field is expected to bloom, so this ranking in particular is subject to change!