4S Symposium - Small Satellites Systems and Services 2020 -

4S Symposium -  Small Satellites Systems and Services 2020 4S Symposium -  Small Satellites Systems and Services 2020
  • Contact

    ESA Conference Bureau
    ESA and CNES
    Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Hotel: Apartado 65 Marina Vilamoura 8125-401 Vilamoura, Portugal
    phone: +31 71 565 8179

  • Keywords

    Small Satellites, Drones

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  • Updated on 2020-08-29 05:50:00

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Seen the travel ban recently issues with regards to the Covid-19 virus, the 4S Organizing Committee has decided to postpone the event to 14-18 September 2020.

What’s Up?

What’s up above our heads making a strange noise like a big mosquito?

Many of us have asked ourselves this question the first time a small drone was flying above our heads. Drones are not only toys for taking aerial images, they are also quickly becoming systems capable of performing remote sensing campaigns.

The recent development of drones and high-altitude aerial platforms have opened up new possibilities for remote sensing with unprecedented capabilities and characteristics.

Small octocopters, for example, available at a very modest price and easy to operate, can be equipped with very compact hyperspectral cameras. These systems can perform remote sensing operations with ground resolutions far better that any satellite. Although drones can cover only very limited areas, they are now used for precision farming, cadaster mapping, and many other applications that target the same end users and customers of space systems.

Similarly, high altitude aerial platforms will provide persistent surveillance of densely populated areas, with applications ranging from air quality, traffic information and security.

Small satellites have, for about three decades, been the alternative way to perform remote sensing to conventional space systems and airborne campaigns. Drones are now, similarly, providing a comparable service to that of small satellites, but at a fraction of the cost. Will drones disrupt the small satellite sector? Will companies operating in the small satellite sector be able to promptly react and establish viable and cost effective synergies between the two technologies? 

The application of Artificial Intelligence to remote sensing will easily find its way into drones, where experimenting with new ideas is certainly simpler than on a satellite. Can small satellites benefit from the AI developments done for drones and therefore become more powerful systems?

Conversely, can the experience gained in developing algorithms for processing satellite data, be applied to data acquired by drones?

How will the future small systems  industrial landscape look like? Will we see new companies offering services that combine data acquired from drones and satellites, or will the existing small sat companies be able to extend their capabilities?


What’s up? is the special topic of the 2020 conference. Any contributions addressing the synergies of technologies and services between small satellites, drones and high altitude aerial platforms are warmly welcome. The selected papers will be discussed in a dedicated session on the first day of the event.

The programme will also cover technical sessions as: mission and system analysis; applications such as Earth observation, science, telecommunication and navigation; new technologies at system, sub-system and component level, etc. 

A special session will be dedicated to Small Satellites access to space, addressing launchers and platform cross-compatibility.

The 4S Symposium will also host a product Exhibition (e.g. hardware, software, services) with space for more than 60 exhibitors.

A CubeSat workshop will be held in parallel to the 4S Symposium, starting from Wednesday 3 March until Saturday 6 March 2021.

Note: Seen the current limitations and travel restrictions with regards to the Covid-19 virus, the 4S Organizing Committee has decided for a second postponement. The 4S Symposium will now be held starting from Tuesday, 2 March till Saturday 6 March 2021