For you to understand it, you have to live it. This is Act In Space. Before pandemic, and within pandemic!
In old time we lived the most intense 24h of our year in a scouting, challenging and demanding event at which we had the opportunity to meet new entrepreneurs, from all over the country with fresh and motivated solutions to old and new problems/challenges. From saving our planet, to boosting new space commercial markets, we had a lot of fun. We shared meals, naps and power plugs. Mentors were coming in and out, and in a glimpse, 24h were over.
This year, Act In Space in Portugal was different, but surprisingly it was not less interesting and enthusiastic. We were all remote, each one in its place. We were slightly fewer but we were all gathered by the power of internet.
The structure was the same, and the 10 teams accepted the challenges and did not stand quiet. Though through an online platform, at which we could chat, have meetings and share files, we were all in a single room… We were all at IPN, at the heart of the Portuguese space downstream booster.
The event started as usual, with the video presentation from CNES, ESA and Aerospace Valley, the international organizers of the competition. And rightly at the same time, in 61 cities all over the 5 continents, more than 3500 participants were hacking the planet powered by space. Portugal was not left behind, almost 50 participants spread across the country were working hard day and night powered by IPN / ESA Space Solutions Portugal and its partners. In 2020 we had three sponsors, INFANTE Satellite, Critical Software and the Go2Space-Hub (Coimbra), powering not just prizes, but also providing technical support and assistance through experts availability and dedication.
Fun was also assured, no buzz lights or active games were promoted this year, neither could we provide the participants with console games, however… we had “surprise minute challenges” that they could perform at home and share the pictures with us. There was not spicy lasagna for all participants and mentors, but there were free vouchers for home delivery services all over the country.
But the best…? At the end we had once again, motivated teams performing their 5min pitch to the board of jury members. And it was a tough competition! The teams were so amazingly great that the jury had to come up with more prizes than expected.
The overall Portuguese winner – Our Watch Leads (O.W.L. team proposed an app based on citizen active contribution combined with EO data to fight climate change within green spaces) had to share the podium with other teams, as there were other winners:
SpaceCell and GeoGrowth team were ex aequo at the INFANTE Prize, and both are invited to visit Tekever premisses at Ponte de Sor in Spring 2021 to assist at the INFANTE satellite tests before launching. Spacell provided an “Oceanic Lab” solution a combined in situ and EO data method to detect and track oceanic plastic that needs to be removed from the seas. GeoGrowth proposed a new approach to detect and protect endangered species with already a roadmap to implement it in Portugal.
Staruplo team proposed a solution to fight climate change, focused on the detection and monitoring of methane emission sources, and as such, along with the already mentioned O.W.L team took the Go2Space-Hubs prize home. Nonetheless, and as Star squad team proposed a “reality check” for our health status and inflatable gym whenever we’re doing space trips, they were also awarded Go2Space-Hubs honour prizes.
Last but not least, the team To the Potatoes and Beyond deserved a merit and honour prize at the Portuguese edition of Act In Space 2020 Portugal for their “overcloud solution”, a lunar cloud service that would allow increased data storage significantly.
We’re sending out today all the goodies, vouchers, and “tickets” to more that 20 participants from all the mentioned teams.
At the end of the day… Act In Space 2020 was remote, but it was great again!