Call for space assets in response to COVID-19

In our related articles: What we can learn from the Coronavirus crisis with satellite data, and The strengthening of the health sector after the Covid19 outbreak, we illustrated how space-enabled solutions contribute their share in the fight against this pandemic, and what satellite data tell us about the extraordinary current situation. We now hope that this overview of satellite applications may serve as inspiration in order to participate in the ongoing open calls that we list here.

European Space Agency (ESA)

While ESA isn’t really placed to help forecast the progression of the virus, it is responsible for developing and operating the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Union, ensuring the flow of data for the Copernicus-enabled services. These sophisticated satellites, as well as new artificial intelligence technologies, can be used to understand and monitor some of the societal shifts happening right now.

To see how Earth-observing missions could be further used to explore the effects of COVID-19, ESA has issued two new initiatives. The aim is to see how satellite data can be used, for example, to map changes around transport networks, commercial ports and heavy industry such as oil refineries, to understand the effects that COVID-19 is imposing on society, the economy and the environment.

In cooperation with the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization (MID), ESA launched an Announcement of Opportunity to respond to the emergency that Europe, and especially Italy, is facing because of the spread of the coronavirus. Companies are invited to propose Demonstration Projects dedicated to the deployment and demonstration of pre-operational services, addressing healthcare or education. The scope is to support the realisation and deployment of digital solutions to help citizens and communities which are facing the extraordinary consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. This call closes on 20 April 2020, 13h00 CET.

This new call has been added to the Permanently Open Call, part of ESA’s Earth Observation Science for Society programme. Proposals which address the monitoring of Covid-19 impacts on society with Earth observation data will be considered. The closing date is 17 April 2020 at 13h00 CET.

European GNSS Agency (GSA)

  • Precise location is a key requirement when attempting to monitor and map the spread of a disease and GNSS is one of themain tools supporting this. Galileo, currently embedded in over 1.3 billion smartphones and devices worldwide, is helping to increase GNSS accuracy and availability, especially in urban areas. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus earlier this year, many apps have been developed that use GNSS precise location to monitor the global spread of the virus and to map outbreaks of the COVID-19 disease. GNSS-apps are also proving their usefulness by helping people to implement social distancing in queues and other public spaces. The GSA is looking for apps that are already working and available in app stores. Submit details of your solutions in writing to and they will be featured on The goal is for this page to become a toolbox to help authorities, emergency response services, citizens and app developers to understand what resources are currently available and what needs remain unmet.
  • It is also possible to develop new applications by submitting innovative ideas to solve pressing societal challenges with the help of satellite data. For Earth observation there is the Copernicus Masters, and for satellite navigation there is the Galileo Masters.

Copernicus Hackathon

  • The Copernicus Hackathon Sofia 2020, organised by the Risk-Space Transfer Technology Transfer Office (RST-TTO), will be a virtual Hackathon between 24-26 April with the motto “Space Hacking of COVID19”. The Hackathon will cover topics such as the monitoring of air pollution, assessment of water quality, assessment of geographical distribution during this pandemic. Topics can also be suggested by participants.

  • Eurisy, the National Space Centre and the Blackrock Castle Observatory of the Cork Institute of Technology organise the Copernicus Hackathon Cork online on 9-13 June 2020 on the issue of “Natural and Cultural Heritage”. A special challenge is dedicated to the impacts of Covid-19. The hackathon will challenge students and IT professionals to use the data made available by the Copernicus Earth Observation System to better protect, manage and promote natural and cultural heritage. A webinar will be held on May 18th.

COVID-19 Custom Script Contest

The European Space Agency, in coordination with the European Commission, is launching a special edition of the Custom Script Contest, focused on the support of space assets during the COVID-19 crisis, managed by Euro Data Cube group. It is a quest for ideas and new algorithms on how satellite data could help monitor and mitigate the situation for the upcoming months, as the world will get back to business and will need to adapt from this crisis. The contest will be running until end of May with weekly prizes. Due to importance of the matter, the best ideas will be selected on a continuous basis and will be presented to the European Commission in the context of the dossier ESA is preparing on space as a support to Covid-19 situation.

NASA International Space Apps Challenge

Join the special edition of the International Space Apps Challenge on May 30-31 and tackle the COVID19 challenge in this global virtual hackathon!