Alumni Wins British Entrepreneur of 2020
Celebrity Rocket Scientist, Dr. Rajan Bedi, CEO and founder of Spacechips, wins Great British Disruptive Entrepreneur of 2020 for the South-East of England.
Spacechips is a UK-based SME disrupting the global space industry with its award-winning, Satellite-Communication Products, Design-Consultancy, Technical-Marketing, Business-Intelligence and Training Services. Spacechips won New Company of 2017 and Dr. Bedi's inventions won High-Reliability Product of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Spacechips designs the electronics used on-board satellites and spacecraft to address societal challenges such as Digital Divide, Climate Change, Food Sustainability, Disaster Management, Telemedicine, Smart Cities and COVID-19. Spacechips has delivered over 200 orders to 70 customers in 25 countries across 18 time zones.
Dr. Bedi is also the author of, Out-of-this-World Design, the award-winning blog on Space Electronics, which has been viewed over 3 million times. Dr. Bedi was previously invited to teach at Oxford University, has featured in Who's Who in the World and is a past recipient of a Royal Society Fellowship.
Following the award on September 23rd, Dr. Bedi made the following announcement:
Today we live in a satellite-enabled age, the spacecraft orbiting overhead are not science fiction, but part of a critical, life-support system which we depend on every day. Satellites collect vast amounts of data giving us a detailed understanding of what is happening in our world. They deliver awe-inspiring imagery in high resolution, broadband global communication, increased positional accuracy and observe the fragile eco-systems of our beautiful planet.
Today, 57% of the world's population, 4 billion people on our planet, do not have access to internet creating a Digital Divide, disempowering and excluding communities, fuelling illiteracy and poverty. Constellations of satellites are being developed to provide global internet.
Global population is predicted to increase to almost ten billion people by 2050 requiring food production to increase by 70%. At the same time, the amount of land available to grow crops is declining rapidly, with 95% of the world's fare grown in soil. Earth-Observation satellites are being used to remotely photograph fields and measure the productivity and health of plants. Satellite navigation is then used to inform farmers precisely where to spray water, fertiliser or pesticides to maximise crop yields.
20% of all fish caught is done so illegally, depleting the world's oceans of precious marine stocks. Today, one billion people in developing countries rely on fish as their primary source of protein. Earth-Observation satellites are being used to monitor the fishing behaviour of boats in real-time, in all weather conditions, to ensure food sustainability.
Climate change is impacting our beautiful planet irreversibly and Earth-Observation satellites give a global view of how human activity is contributing to greenhouse-gas emissions, global warming, sea levels, dwindling ice-sheets and rain-forests.
Earth-Observation satellites photograph areas following natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, to inform doctors and first responders which areas need immediate attention. Telecommunication satellites give these key workers mobile voice and video communication capability when traditional infrastructure has been destroyed.
Aeroplanes, ships and cars use satellite navigation to reach their destinations safely, and families and businesses use telecommunication satellites to stay in touch.
During COVID-19, space technology has been used to contain COVID-19, e.g. the use of satellite navigation to control drones to disinfect hospitals, the use of Earth-Observation satellites combined with local databases to identify COVID-19 hot-spots and which neighbourhoods are infection free and low risk. This information is used to plan the commuting routes of key-workers as well as the delivery of food and medicines to vulnerable people using drones. Satellite-based telemedicine is being used by doctors to provide remote healthcare using video calls to respect social distancing and space-based internet is allowing millions of families and businesses around the world to stay in touch and continue operating.