Portugal Space Atlantic Challenge

The Portugal Space Atlantic Challenge is looking for brilliant ideas on how to use Copernicus data to tackle ocean and coastal needs and contribute to Europe’s Green and Digital Agendas.

The Finalists

Discover the TOP 3 submissions to the Portugal Space Atlantic Challenge below. Please note, that finalists are presented in an alphabetically order of their submission title.

Bloom Alert: Smart Ocean Analytics for Sustainable Desalination

Team: Enzoq Garcia, Tomas Acuna, Lucas Amezquita, Roberto Harvey, Andres Vivallo, Bryan Casanova, Diego Uribe

Globally, nearly 300 million people depend on water produced by almost 18,000 seawater desalination plants. Coastal pollution like oil spills or red tides can reduce their production capacity by up to 30%, which in turn decreases the amount of water available for local communities and leads to annual economic losses of almost USD 3 billion. To tackle this problem, Bloom Alert provides a cost-effective solution that brings operational intelligence to seawater desalination plants. It is a software-as-a-service application platform for oceanographic risk analytics that is powered by satellite imagery and ocean models from the Copernicus Marine Service. By integrating an early warning system for oceanographic emergencies with the ability to generate real-time recommendations and oceanographic risk forecasts, Bloom Alert can help mitigate related impacts on the operational sustainability of desalinated water production.

Deriving Bathymetry from Multispectral Imagery

Cláudio Sousa

In addition to being extremely important for navigation in any aquatic system, hydrography is necessary for environmental studies that model and monitor erosion or sedimentation processes. However, traditional hydrographic surveys are slow and costly. Multispectral imagery (MSI) offers an alternative to traditional hydrographic surveys in determining bathymetry in large and relatively shallow areas at a lower cost. This product utilises Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data to offer information at medium and high spatial resolutions with short revisit periods. The solution offers bathymetric data derived from satellite multispectral imagery as a tool for identifying navigable areas. In doing so, it uses UAVs to capture very high-resolution multispectral imagery that, when combined with satellite data, provides detailed bathymetric models in critical areas.

Detection, Monitoring, and Warning System for Harmful Algal Blooms

Team: Miguel Correia, Issah Suleiman, Ana Martins, João Gonçalves

HABTRAIL is a deep learning model developed specifically to tackle harmful algal blooms (HABs) on a large scale in ocean and coastal areas at a lower cost compared to conventional in-situ methods. It comprises two data services. The first is capable of detecting and monitoring the expansion of HABs with water quality pigments derived from Sentinel-2/-3 as an alert system. The second data service, which is made available through a mobile app, can identify HABs in near-real or real time by uploading a “suspicious picture” of a body of water. Since HABs severely impact aquaculture, fisheries, and tourism, they constitute a significant threat to public health. The HABTRAIL mobile app therefore provides the public with a free tool for quickly detecting HABs with high accuracy before engaging in any marine activity.

Want to know the winner of this year’s challenge? Then join the Space Awards via livestream on 14 December 2021. Register now for free!

The Challenge

The Atlantic Ocean spans more than 100 million square kilometres, bathing many regions with its waters and regulating climates on both a local and global scale. It is home to a great diversity of ecosystems and many human populations rely on it for their existence, but our oceans are now more vulnerable and threatened than ever. With this challenge, Portugal Space wants to promote innovative and business-oriented ideas for oceans and coastal areas and solutions that tackle global problems by making the best possible use of Copernicus data.

In particular, Portugal Space welcomes solutions that also integrate EGNSS or Satcoms and the use of very high-resolution imagery into their business plans.

Finally, the solutions proposed should contribute to Europe’s Green and Digital Agendas.

Rewards 2021

Cash Prize
EUR 10.000 cash prize for the development of your winning idea in Portugal.
Conference Pitch
Invitation to pitch at the All Atlantic and New Space Atlantic Summits in 2022 (including expenses for one and two people respectively).
ESA BIC Portugal Invitation
Invitation to apply to ESA BIC Portugal (including related technical support). Funding is subject to application approval by TEB.
Access to the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR Centre) network on four continents.
Space Awards Participation
Support to attend the Space Awards (including expenses for two people).
Satellite Data
Possibility to access EUR 10,000 worth of commercial datasets from the Copernicus Contributing Missions in the Copernicus Data Warehouse (financial support by COM).

Additional Reward for the Overall Winner 2021

Cash Prize

EUR 10,000 if your concept gets selected as Copernicus Masters 2021 Overall Winner

Evaluation Criteria

Portugal Space is looking for innovative, business-oriented solutions that facilitate ocean and coastal applications and fully exploit Copernicus’ capabilities. Integration of EGNSS, satellite communications, and VHR imagery is especially welcome.

Space Assets

How relevant are Copernicus (required), EGNSS, satcoms, and VHR data to your solution?

Technical Merit

How innovative is your idea? Does it advance the current state of the art?

Business Plan

How profitable and scalable is your idea? Are end-users clearly identified and involved?

Team Composition

Does your team have the required technical, managerial, and business skills?

Green and Digital

How does your idea contribute to the European Green Deal and Digital Agenda?

About Portugal Space

Portugal Space, the Portuguese Space Agency, is an organisation that was created by the Portuguese government to implement the National Strategy for Space (Portugal Space 2030). The agency’s primary purpose is to promote and strengthen the country’s space sector – including the corresponding ecosystem and value chain – to the benefit of society and the economy in Portugal and the rest of the world by acting as a business and development unit for research entities and companies.

In addition to coordinating the country’s participation in ESA, ESO, EST, and the SKA Organization, Portugal Space is a national representative to the European Commission for matters related to space.


Portugal Space

Joan Alabart
Industrial Relations and Projects Officer / Space Exploration, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
+351 912 059 965

Hall of Fame

Discover all previous winners of the Copernicus Masters!

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Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO)

Ines Kühnert
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