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ESA launches lab with German Research Centre for AI

Paris, 29 January 2021. – You could call it “SpAIce”: The European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) are launching a research laboratory in Kaiserslautern, Germany, called ESA_Lab@DFKI.

Scientists from both organisations will be researching AI systems for interpreting complex, extensive data from Earth observation or for collision avoidance of satellites in the new lab, DFKI and ESA announced in a joint kick-off event.

The lab will take advantage of DFKI’s proximity to ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt; ESOC is the mission control for 22 spacecraft and centre for the agency’s Space Safety program which monitors hazards posed by space debris, risky asteroids and space weather.

ESA and DFKI have already cooperated in the field of space robotics and long-term autonomous systems. The internationally renowned Bremen-based Robotics Innovation Lab is part of DFKI.

ESA Labs (dubbed ESA_Lab@s) are joint initiatives between ESA and academic or research institutions, combining their research and education programs with ESA’s technical expertise and spaceflight knowledge. The ESA labs at Oxford university and the College London university are already focussing on artificial intelligence today.

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