Deploying imaging with synthetic-aperture radar for flood monitoring

Written by Dominika Wolska
Business Analysis Expert at EXATEL

 


The numerous disasters that have become a part of our everyday life can be classified as natural (such as floods, hurricanes, or tsunamis) and those caused by man. Flood risks are considered one of the most critical hazards for Polish citizens, as conformed by data from the Government Centre for Security. According to figures, between the year 1990 and 2010 floods caused as much as 98.5% of losses incurred as a result of natural disasters[1]. By way of example: even though one of the most recent floods (the 2010 flood) that occurred in Poland covered only 2% of Polish territory, it caused significant losses. The results were as follows: 800 schools destroyed, 18 thousand private buildings affected and 1,300 business premises damaged[2]. Furthermore, due to climate change, it is anticipated that floods will double in frequency in the upcoming decades. Thus, floods will soon become the most dangerous natural disasters with the greatest potential for damage and harming people. In recent years, the greatest emphasis has been placed on the development and implementation of advanced technologies aiming at providing citizens with the best possible security.

 

SAR – a helping hand in the time of flood

JSAR (ang. Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite technology can prove useful in the process of assessing the consequences of a flood. The principle of the system’s operation consists in placing an imaging instrument on a satellite platform and flying over a selected area in order to “scan” it with the use of radar waves. Due to the fact that SAR imaging allows for using the radar not only in daylight, but also at night, when it is raining, cloudy, foggy or the air is full of smoke and dust, it is widely used in various fields of science[3].The radar instrument sends radio waves in the indicated direction and then measures how they are reflected. These kinds of instruments are used primarily to project images of the land surface (soil moisture, distinguishing rock types, flood monitoring) as well as by the military aviation for terrain reconnaissance[4].

Taking all these circumstances into consideration, one of the most important objectives of protection against flood risk is obtaining early, real-time warning information about emergency situations[5]Such probabilistic predictions are possible if we decide to deploy SAR imaging technology. The SAR image recorded by a given system is a so-called microwave hologram, which, when a rather complicated visualization process is completed, becomes a radar image. Each single pixel in the radar image contains information regarding the amplitude and phase of the signal returning to the antenna. The value of this data may change in successive satellite flybys, due to the distance between the satellite and the object, the time-dependent changes occurring in the analysed object and the inhomogeneities of the atmosphere. It is worth remembering that the value of the amplitude registered for any pixel of the radar image depends to a large extent e.g. on roughness of the analysed surface and soil moisture[6]. All in all, due to the frequent co-occurrence of flooding with heavy clouds, radar imaging presents itself as an attractive observation technique when the use of optical methods seems practically impossiblee[7].

 

Contrast sets the boundaries

Observation of flood dynamics involves primarily identification of partially (including those obscured by vegetation) or entirely flooded areas. In general, the detectability of water in SAR images depends on the contrast between flooded areas and the surrounding land, therefore, the value of the measurement can be influenced by roughness of the surface, wavelength, angle of incidence and polarization. The simplest case is a smooth sheet of water, which in the vast majority of images is displayed simply as a black surface. This is the result of specular reflection of radiation in the direction opposite to the radar and a deficiency in the backscattering component[8]. The following figure illustrates what the scattering mechanisms of water and land surfaces look like under different environmental conditions and what the scattered radiation components look like as a function of angle of incidence between SAR and surface roughness.

Source: S. Marinis, C. Kuenzer, A. Twele, “Flood Studies Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data,” (in: P.S. Thenkabail (ed.), Remotely Sensed Data Characterization, Classification, and Accuracies, Volume 3

 

All these limitations may result in the so-called false alarms; factors that can lead to misclassification of floods are indicated in the table below:

Flood overestimation Flood underestimation
Factor Occurrence/impact Factor Occurrence/impact
Effects of a shadow behind vertical objects (e.g. vegetation, topography, anthropogenic structures) +++ Effects of a shadow behind vertical objects (e.g. vegetation, topography, anthropogenic structures) +++
Naturally smooth surface features (e.g. dunes, salt and clay basins, bare soil) +++ Naturally smooth surface features (e.g. dunes, salt and clay basins, bare soil) ++
Smooth anthropogenic features (e.g. streets, airstrips) ++ Anthropogenic features on the water surface (e.g. ships, debris) +
Torrential rain cells + Loss of water surface smoothness by wind, heavy rain or high flow velocity +
  The effect of overlay on vertical objects (e.g., urban structure topography, vegetation) +

 

Range: high +++; medium ++; low +
Source: S. Marinis, C. Kuenzer, A. Twele, “Flood Studies Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data,” (in: P.S. Thenkabail (ed.), Remotely Sensed Data Characterization, Classification, and Accuracies, Volume 3, p. 148

 

In order to make the most accurate measurements of areas covered by partially submerged vegetation, it is necessary to use radar signals operating in three bands: L band (wavelength equal to 30-15 cm), C band (wavelength 7.7-3.75 cm) and X band with wavelength equal to 3.75-2.5 cm[9]. The longer the waveform, the less sensitive it is to surface roughness. Additionally, if the water surface is not affected by the wind, the backscattering component is stronger, which leads to misclassification of water areas as terrestrial territories. However, such cases can be reduced to a minimum by using HV cross polarization or HH horizontal polarization, and by using a larger imaging angle[10].

 

SAR and urban areas

Urban areas are another environment where flood detection is strongly reduced, especially in comparison to rural areas. Reflection from anthropogenic structures (such as buildings) and the presence of metallic surfaces cause backscattering that is identical for flooded and non-flooded surfaces. In addition, shadows and illumination reduce visibility, which in turn reduces the ability to detect urban leakages. In addition, non-flooded roads and other smooth man-made structures often cause erroneous readings due to mirroring and are difficult to separate from smooth water surfaces.

In such harsh environments, it is therefore difficult to perform accurate terrain surveys based on imaging alone, which is why high-resolution SAR data, such as TerraSAR-X data processing, is used to increase the accuracy of analyses. It is a fully automated water mapping tool that uses a fuzzy logic based algorithm to combine SAR backscatter information with digital information about elevation, slope and water body size[11].The system uses data on the area before the flood, and then automatically analyses all the changes that occurred on the relevant territory. A numerical terrain model is a source of information regarding potential directions of water mass movements. The land/water separation is created by automatically thresholding the pixel values that are present in the amplitude images. The whole process of flood monitoring consists in synthesizing various information with the use of complex mathematical methods[12]. As far as the actual improvement of the observation accuracy through application of relevant technology is concerned, during the tests, measurements based on data processing increased the measurement accuracy from 20.9% to 82.4% and from 51.7% to 83.7%, respectively[13].

 

 

[1] Karol Mąka „System ochrony przeciwpowodziowej w Polsce”

[2] Presentation “Satelitarny System Obserwacji Ziemi”

[3] Mgr inż. Jędrzej Jakub Drozdowicz – project “Trójwymiarowe obrazowanie radarowe z syntetyczną aperturą wykorzystujące optymalizowaną, złożoną trajektorię ruchu nośnika radaru”

[4] pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar_z_syntetyczną_aperturą (accessed on: 26.04.2021)

[5] Sat4envi, Satellite data for public administration, p. 311

[6] Stanisława Porzycka-Strzelczyk, lecture “Teledetekcja w ochronie środowiska”, AGH University of Science and Technology

[7] Sat4envi, Satellite data for public administration, p. 316-317

[8] Sat4envi, Satellite data for public administration, p. 317

[9] Konrad Nering, “SRTM – technologia obrazowania powierzchni Ziemi”, Cracow University of Technology

[10] Sat4envi, Satellite data for public administration, p. 317

[11] S. Marinis, C. Kuenzer, A. Twele, “Flood Studies Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data,” (in: P.S. Thenkabail (ed.), Remotely Sensed Data Characterization, Classification, and Accuracies, Volume 3

[12] Sat4envi, Satellite data for public administration, p. 318

[13] S. Marinis, C. Kuenzer, A. Twele, “Flood Studies Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data,” (in: P.S. Thenkabail (ed.), Remotely Sensed Data Characterization, Classification, and Accuracies, p. 155

How fast will SDN become obsolete?

Written by Michał Mach
SDN Architect at EXATEL

 


When planning the development of a networking solution for a few – or even a dozen or so – years ahead, it is necessary to take a step back and look at our plans from a wide-angle. The crucial element we should analyze is the lifespan of a given project. In other words: we need to consider how long the technologies we invest in today will be useful tomorrow. Will the technology that seems so innovative now could become obsolete within 5 years? What will happen when current business needs change? How difficult will it be to implement a more efficient hardware platform on the current software platform? These questions are also valid for network planning in the spirit of a Software-Defined Networking (SDN). The key question is whether SDN will age faster or slower than conventional networks. To answer these questions we should go back to the definition of programmable networks.

It is worthwhile to note that Software-Defined Networking is not the name of a specific product, product group, or technology. First of all, it is a definitive change in the approach to producing, managing, and controlling the functionality of computer networks. Such a change in the approach opens the door to all the benefits (and challenges) of software development. SDN is a tool to make up for more than 20 years of differences between computer networks and software engineering by taking advantage of good software development, extensibility, modularity, and maintenance practices.

Software-Defined Networking differs from traditional computer networks by, among other things, separating the control plane from the data plane – see Figure 2. This separation opened new horizons to the programmability of the former and the emerging of standardized high-level APIs (Application Programming Interface) for the data plane. These data plane APIs allow for control and management of hardware functionalities.

And how does this approach affect network aging? For programmable networks, the situation is very similar to popular operating systems and the applications installed on them. While initially, companies like IBM and Apple offered proprietary software (and user apps as well) on their hardware, we can now independently choose the hardware platform, operating system, and application software (see Figure 1). Thanks to standardization processes (of hardware and software interfaces), components from different vendors can be used interchangeably. What we are witnessing today in computer networking, is the evolution of monolithic vendor systems to a disaggregated ecosystem where hardware, operating systems (SDN controllers), and network applications can be developed independently (see Figure 2).

Figure 1. Evolution of computer architecture

 

Figure 2. Evolution of computer networks

 

As in the case of other technology areas, software in networking increasingly gains in importance. With SDN, the field of computer networking is becoming more and more similar to any other area where software plays a key role. When developing SDN solutions we use the same processes, methodologies, and similar tools as when developing applications for smartphones or creating an online store. As with the online store apps, networks need a hardware platform (like switches/routers/encryptors) to handle the traffic. Devices that process the network traffic are highly specialized and their functionality strongly depends on custom, purpose-built, chips (called Application-Specific Integrated Circuits, or ASICs). However, even in this area, programmable network chips with open APIs (e.g., Tofino chips and P4 API) and network functions programmed on FPGAs are emerging.

Thanks to modular software architecture, adding new functionalities does not require changing the whole solution. A specific SDN solution consists of hundreds of smaller components. When a component (hardware or software one) begins to limit the functionality of our platform, we can replace it (or modify it) with a new one, thus introducing a continuous development process for the solution. So when will our SDN become obsolete? Probably sometime after we stop the development and/or the hardware deprecates in terms of functionality and performance. What seems to be important, however, is the fact that a good SDN platform allows for convenient and efficient extension with new functionalities and adaptation to various physical and virtual network elements.

Fuzzing in the TAMA project

The text was written by Michał Krzywkowski
TAMA project programmer at EXATEL

 


Fuzzing in the TAMA project

In the TAMA project, in addition to using static code analysis tools and performing tests with the use of sanitizers, fuzz testing is one of the ways to increase security. Fuzzing is a software testing technique that involves sending various valid/invalid/random data to a program and observing its behaviour.

In this article, I will describe how we fuzz our packet filter using the clang compiler and libFuzzer.

Code to test

Packet filter operation

Our packet filter – GlaDDoS – basically performs the following algorithm (pseudocode):

uproszczony algorytm (pseudokod) GlaDDoS

In this algorithm, you can see two instances where we operate on data that can cause errors:

  • decode – function which takes N bytes and returns the packet structure e.g. (proto=IPv4, src=1.2.3.4, dst=5.6.7.8);
  • process method of each filter, which operates on the already decoded packet. The logic of these methods depends on the binary data we received.

C++ code

And this is what the code looks like in C++.

Kod C++

The Filter base class receives the packet in the process method and gives feedback whether the packet should be forwarded or discarded. Subclasses implementing its interface include:

  • InvalidPacketFilter – discards packets that are invalid (invalid checksum, header errors) and illogical (TCP packets with SYN and RST flags etc.),
  • GEOFilter – discards packets that originate from blacklisted countries.

Next, the Pipeline class has a filter list and filtering configuration for the addresses we are protecting. The configuration includes, for example, the information which filters are enabled for a given address or which countries are whitelisted/blacklisted.

Filtry pipeline

Fuzzing with libFuzzer

The clang compiler makes it very easy to start fuzzing. In the new source file, you only need to define the function that is called by the fuzzer. It should take two arguments – a pointer to the data and a size:

Kompilator clang

Before testing, sometimes it is necessary to do some global initialization.

Initialization can be done by defining a function that will be called by libFuzzer only once at program startup.

In our case, we need to initialize the Pipeline because all filters are disabled by default, so none of them will be tested – here, we configure the Pipeline so that every possible IPv4 address has all its filters enabled.

Filtry IPv4 w Pipeline

Compile and run:

kompilacja i uruchomienie

Once started, the fuzzer will run indefinitely or until the program performs an erroneous operation that is detected by AddressSanitizer or UBSan.

Use with CMake

In our project, we use CMake to configure the build system. In order to easily build the fuzzer, we have a CMakeLists.txt file in the directory where its source file is located:

CMakeLists.txt

And, in the main CMakeLists.txt for the project we have an option to enable building with fuzzer:

opcja buforowania

Thanks to this solution, while building a project we can also build a fuzzer:

fuszer

Custom mutator

When we started fuzzing, we were initially surprised that the fuzzer did not find any bugs – even the obvious ones prepared for testing. After analyzing and checking the code coverage made by the fuzzer, we discovered that only the first filter was tested.

This happened because the first filter – InvalidPacketFilter – was checking the IPv4 checksum in the packet and it discarded any packet without matches. Obviously the fuzzer did not know how to generate packets with the correct checksum. Because of this, the fuzzer stuck on the first filter and was not increasing its coverage.

To solve this problem, we used our own input  “mutator. The mutator is a function that somehow changes the generated input to cover more of the code.

In our case, before each LLVMFuzzerTestOneInput, we first do a standard data mutation, and then we calculate the checksum and overwrite it in the IPv4 header.

Mutacja danych_1

Mutacja danych_2

Seed corpus

You can run the fuzzer with your own input. This is not necessary because libFuzzer itself can generate data that causes the coverage to expand. Nonetheless, it can be expanded quickly.

The directory that contains the input files is called the “corpus”. In our case, each file will contain a binary packet. For GlaDDoS, we generated these packets using the scapy tool.

scapy

After running such a script, we can call the fuzzer on the generated corpus:

corpus

Debugging

When a fatal error occurs in the program while the fuzzer is running, the fuzzer will stop its operation and save the data it generated that causes the error and show the name of the relevant file:

fuzzing error

With this data, we can analyze the packet using the scapy tool and find the cause of the error:

przyczyna błędu

przyczyna błędu_2

In this example, the TCP data offset is too large. Because of this, our program tries to read data out of range and gets the fatal SIGSEGV.

Summary

Fuzzing is a very useful technique for finding bugs in programs. In the TAMA project, we use a dedicated server for fuzzing.

To date, the fuzzer has generated about 3 trillion packets and has already found more than a dozen critical bugs that could significantly expose our infrastructure and customers to real losses. Its use as a component in the development process not only makes it easier for us to detect errors, but it also seals the process itself. By identifying bugs – both critical and less significant ones – we drew conclusions and learnt how to write a better, safer code.

Fuzz testing has certainly worked well for us and we will continue to use this technique and improve the fuzzing process.

EXATEL experts at a space technology conference

What will the development of space technologies and the whole Polish space sector look like? Can you identify the goals and key objectives facing this industry? What direction will space technology be heading in the coming years? All the above topics will be brought up at the conference organised by Kozminski University, to which you are kindly invited.

The event inaugurates the cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Kozmiski University (ALK) within the ESALab platform. The conference will begin at 11:00 a.m. today (19 February) and EXATEL is a partner of the event.

EXATEL experts on space technology development

We particularly recommend the second part “Polish space innovators and their drivers – what distinguishes Polish space sector?” which starts at 12:45 p.m. During this part the presentations will be given by two EXATEL experts – the first one by dr hab. inż. Teodor Buchner, who will talk about the goals of the Polish and European space sector: In space more is different: Polish and European space sector and their goals.

On the other hand, Kamil Obłodecki will talk about EXATEL’s new project, the Earth Observation Satellite System, and the use of SAR remote sensing to detect floods in a presentation titled Flood studies using satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar – Polish space sector perspective.

Both Prof. Jan Woerner (Johann-Dietrich Wörner), Director General of the ESA, and Prof. Bertrand Goldman from the International Space University have announced their participation in the conference as well as a wide group of Polish experts and entrepreneurs.

Conference agenda

  1.  11:00-12:30 Inauguration of the cooperation between the European Space Agency and Kozminski University
  • 11:00-11:10 –Speech of Prorector, Prof. Robert Rządca and POLSA Director General –  dr hab. Grzegorz Wrochna
  • 11:10-11:20 – Speech of Prof. Jan Woerner – President of the European Space Agency
  • 20-11:30 – Prospects of cooperation of ESA Lab and Kozminski University – Maria Gabriella Sarah (ESA) & Prof. Katarzyna Malinowska (Kozminski University)
  • 11:30-11:40 – Impact of space on the Polish economy – Stephanie Willekens (ESA)
  • 11:40-12:30 – Round table: “Academic cooperation for supporting European space economy”: Prof. Alina Badescu (Politehnica of Bucharest), Prof. Laszlo Bacsardi (Budapest University of Technology and Economics), Prof. Bertrand Goldman (International Space University, Strasbourg), Prof. Robert Rządca (Kozminski University), Bartosz Sokoliński (Industry Development Agency JSC), Prof. Iwona Stanisławska (Centre for Space Research, Warsaw), Prof. Jan Woerner (European Space Agency) This part will be moderated by Adam Dąbrowski, POLSA.
  1.  12:45-14:00“Polish space innovators and their drivers – what distinguishes Polish space sector?” Panel devoted to the concepts, ideas and projects of the Polish space entrepreneurs
  • Aleksandra Kozawska (PSPA, Lunares) “Future foresight for space”
  • Marek Krawczyk (KP Labs) “Taming space technology”
  • dr hab. inż. Teodor Buchner (EXATEL, Politechnika Warszawska) “In space more is different: Polish and European space sector and their goals”
  • Kamil Obłodecki (EXATEL) “Flood studies using satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar – Polish space sector perspective”
  • Adrian Parzybut (Institute of Aviation)“‘Green’ space propulsion for the future”

How to join the conference?

In order to listen to EXATEL experts, register for the conference “Meet the laboratory of the European Space Agency at the Koźmiński University” 19.02.21 (jotform.com)

EXATEL joins the prestigious Open Networking Foundation

  • EXATEL has joined the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) – one of the world’s largest non-profit organizations driving transformation of network infrastructure.

  • Thus, the Polish telco operator will gain access to global knowledge. It also wants to actively support the international community by sharing knowledge gained from the implementation of its own R&D projects.

  • The ONF is a consortium of major TIER 1 global telecommunications operators as well as leading network equipment manufacturers and OTT companies e.g. Google.

 

The world is changing faster and faster, and the demands of businesses are increasing alongside. SDN technology will revolutionize not only the telecommunications branch. Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), AI – these are all waiting for 5G to become widespread to transform our lives, economy and business. This is why we at EXATEL have long relied on SDN development. Wishing to create the future of the telecommunications market at the top global level, we write software and create our own technologies. This is demonstrated by our two R&D projects in software-defined networking, namely SDNbox and SDNcore.

The future will belong to those who own individual technologies. That’s why we have been growing our R&D team and developing our own cyber security and telecommunications solutions since 2017. The first product – TAMA anti-DDoS – has already been successfully commercialized all because our customers are served by the solution. I am aware of the fact that it will be the same with SDN projects, – said Rafał Magryś, the Management Board Vice President at EXATEL.

 

EXATEL – a new chapter

Through the membership in the ONF, we become part of a powerful international organization comprising the largest telecommunications operators and leading manufacturers of network equipment. The ONF sets the trends and directions in which the network has headed and will continue to grow. As a member of this organization, we will be able to benefit from its know-how and experience and share our ideas. As a result, EXATEL will gain a real opportunity to participate in the global development of SDN technology.

We are very happy to have join such a prestigious organization. It is a chance for us to share our experience and in a way influence the shape of solutions that will be used by various entities all over the world. It is also a chance to gain new knowledge, meet new people and be part of a team that has a real impact on the shape of the network of the future, – said Piotr Makulec, the Strategic Technology Initiative Manager at EXATEL.

 

What is SDN technology

SDN (Software-Defined Networking) is a new concept of building telecommunications networks. The idea whereby the physical layer of the device (physical interfaces, ASICs, NPUs) becomes just the operational part of the ‘network brain’, the so-called controller. In SDN solutions, it is the active controller layer with applications that defines the functionality of each machine and at the same time the entire network it manages.

In practice, this means a telecommunications revolution. In the network of the future, having a hardware platform will still be necessary but the real value of the device will be delivered by developers. Thanks to the SDN philosophy, companies such as EXATEL, which write their own software and develop their own technologies, can create flexible solutions at the highest global level. SDNbox and SDNcore are a clear evidence of this. The solutions we create for the second largest fibre optic network in Poland. And that is not the last word in this field.

 

Open Networking Foundation (ONF)

The Open Networking Foundation is a non-profit operator led consortium. Its mission is to support the transformation of mobile and broadband network infrastructure at operators. It is also involved in promoting the idea of software-defined networking and standardizing the OpenFlow communications protocol and related technologies. The ONF supports a number of open source projects for private 5G/LTE, software-defined RAN and more.

 

Polish space cluster – a step towards the Earth Observation Satellite System

  • Today, representatives of the local government of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Polish telecommunications operator EXATEL, Rzeszów University of Technology and the State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jarosław signed a letter of intent on the establishment of a space cluster. The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of State Assets.
  • The main objective of the project is to develop national competence in space technologies and satellite techniques with the involvement of the commercial and scientific sectors.
  • The first task of the letter’s stakeholders is to collaborate in the preparation, as a part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, of an application for the creation of an Earth Observation Satellite System. It will be established in cooperation with the Ministry of National Defence, which shall also be one of the beneficiaries of the developed technologies. The project will result in the launch of the first Polish observation satellite constellation.

 

Since the last decade of the 20th century, the global space market has been expanding rapidly. The technologies required for an active presence in space are becoming cheaper and more accessible. Despite this, Poland – unlike most comparable countries – still does not have its own complex and advanced satellite constellation. The planned space cluster will create conditions for integration of space capabilities of Polish companies in order to act jointly and satisfy the country’s needs with regard to satellites.

Polish observation satellite constellation closer at hand

The letter of intent signed by the Marshall’s Office of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, EXATEL, Rzeszów University of Technology and the State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jarosław is the first step towards the design of the observation satellite constellation. It sets out a framework for cooperation in setting up and managing a space cluster in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship and supporting the development of an Earth Observation Satellite System.

“This is an extremely important initiative that should strengthen the economy’s growth potential in the area of space technologies and satellite techniques, and promote the use of satellite technologies to support environment- and climate-friendly systems. Please note that Podkarpackie Voivodeship is the only region in Poland which has chosen Aviation and Astronautics as a leading specialisation in its Regional Innovation Strategy. Aviation as a branch of economy has been present in the region for nearly 100 years now, and astronautics developed naturally due to the connection with the aviation industry – it is just a step into the future. In this area, our region is looking for opportunities to develop and strengthen its natural competitive advantages,” said Władysław Ortyl, Marshall of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship.

The Ministry of State Assets also recognizes the need for development within the area of satellite solutions and supports them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of stable and secure communications and high quality data, both for the public and business sector and for common users. Therefore, the creation of the Earth Observation Satellite System is part of the Polish raison d’état. Taking microsatellites into space will also be useful for our military. I am glad that EXATEL – a company under the auspices of the Ministry of State Assets, a proven provider of telecommunications and ICT services as well as a developer of cybersecurity solutions – has become involved in the project. At the Ministry of State Assets we strongly support initiatives to develop Polish competence in these areas,” said Maciej Małecki, Secretary of State at the Ministry of State Assets.

Signing of the letter of intent is also the next step in the strategy announced by EXATEL in 2020. It assumes strong development of the Polish telecom operator’s competence in satellite communications.

“We have been providing satellite communication services to public institutions for several years. We perceive a great and constantly growing potential in this market. That is why late last year we reported on the construction of a satellite hub with mission control function, thanks to which we will be able to tap into the potential of the solutions created within the space cluster. As a result, our services will be available not only to the commercial sector, but also to the public administration or the military,” said Rafał Magryś, Vice-President of EXATEL’s Management Board.

Combining business and science

The strength of the Polish space cluster lies in using the scientific and research potential of Polish science. Therefore, the entities signing the letter of intent included two scientific units – Rzeszów University of Technology and State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jarosław.

Zdjęcie sygnatariuszy listu intencyjnego klastra kosmicznego
Signatories and special guests of the ceremony of signing the letter of intent on the Polish space cluster.

 

The cluster will actively utilize the knowledge of European organizations such as NEREUS (Network of European Regions Using Space Technologies), ESA Business Incubation Centres, EURISY, EARSC, SME4Space or EUROSPACE.

Further actions

The first task of the letter’s stakeholders is to collaborate in the preparation, as a part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, of an application for the creation of an Earth Observation Satellite System. As of the date of signing the letter of intent, the parties will collaborate to create a space cluster as soon as possible.