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OrbitalAI Φsat-2

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For your submitted solution to the OrbitalAI Φsat-2 Challenge to be eligible, the following rules need to be adhered to:

Please read the full set of conditions in our Terms & Conditions. We have summarised the specific rules for this competition below:

Timing and duration

The OrbitalAI Challenge will have two phases. The first phase will be managed by the AI4EO Challenges team and takes place online from February 2023 to July 2023. The second phase will be managed by technical teams of the space missions, respectively ESA for the Φsat-2 track and Microsoft and Thales Alenia Space for the IMAGIN-e track.

Participants eligibility

Participants from all around the world can participate in the OrbitalAI Challenge. You must be over 18, or of legal age in your jurisdiction, in order to participate.

Please notice that for the second phase "Incubation & Production Release", a minimum of 6 "tickets" (out of 10 available) will be secured for teams belonging to an ESA Member State, including Canada (as Cooperating State), Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, and Lithuania (as Associate Member States). Check the full list of ESA members and cooperating states here.

Team characteristics

The teams can be comprised of a minimum of 2 people up to 5. Within your team, you need to appoint a team leader. This team leader will be the main contact point between the organisers and the team.

Swag race and competition milestones

In order to be eligible for entering the ‘Swag race’ of winning limited-edition branded goodies, the teams have to submit the first three deliverables by the indicated date for each milestone. Below is the milestone calendar together with the associated credits.


The milestones act as a checkpoint for your route as part of this challenge. As in the astronauts’ training, your team will have to pass certain tests and showcase your progress. The first three milestones are necessary to enter the ‘Swag race’ and the last two milestones are mandatory for your solution to be considered for the final evaluation. The last two milestones will be the primary materials that our jury will evaluate and decide on the ten lucky teams that will go on Phase II.

Please be mindful that if the deliverable doesn’t meet the full requirements, the full number of credits won’t be assigned. To check the full requirements of each milestone, please download the milestones template below.

  • Milestone 1 – Team profile (link here)
  • Milestone 2 – Idea concept (not available yet)
  • Milestone 3 – Initial model description (not available yet)
  • Milestone 4 – Functional prototype (not available yet)
  • Milestone 5 – Solution pitch (not available yet)

Creating and submitting your solution

For this competition, you will use the challenge simulated dataset (see Data tab) and create a working prototype adapted to run onboard Φsat-2. Besides the working prototype, we want to understand how your solution will bring value to business, industry, or science and drive forward Earth’s sustainability. That’s why besides your working prototype, you will have to submit a pitch through which you will demonstrate the benefits of your solution.

The final submission of your solution must be made by 30 June 2023 (17:00 CEST) on the submission platform, and each valid submission must consist of:

  • The functional prototype
    • A link to a notebook or the notebook (.ipynb) itself with your software solution. The link can be to your own personal Git repository or Google drive or similar.
    • Include any relevant information needed to run the notebook.
    • A pdf version of the notebook with any outputs displayed.
  • The pitch of your solution
    • A video pitch of a maximum of 3 minutes, in case more than one idea will be presented, 2 minutes will be added for each solution that will be presented. The video can be in a .mp4 or can be a link on whatever online platform of your choosing.
    • Please submit the PowerPoint presentation (saved as a .pdf file) that you used in your pitch as visual support (check Milestone 5 for more details).

Moreover, keep in mind the following when working on your prototype:

  • The notebook where you explain how your software solution works should show an intuitive end-to-end workflow, followed by any analysis/visualisation.
  • You are permitted to use publicly available or openly licensed SDKs, frameworks, and other software libraries for your project, provided details are supplied so the judging team can run the solution.
  • Your prototype should consider the framework of Φsat-2 (especially linked to OpenVINO version 2020.3 for which the use of TensorFlow v1 is strongly recommended - for a full description, please check our scientific notice.

Submitting multiple solutions

In case you want to compete with multiple solutions you have to simply submit different documents for each idea. In the end, the jury evaluation will be done based on your pitch and the functional prototype. The pitch can be just one video presenting all ideas (you will get 2 min for each additional idea on top of the 3 min), however, for the prototype, we expect different files distinguishing between the different solutions.

As for the first three milestones, we expect the first milestone, M1, to have one team profile as the same team came up with different ideas. However, for milestones M2 and M3, we expect that you will submit different files for the different ideas that your team wants to present.

Solution evaluation

The evaluation of the solutions submitted will be performed by a team of objective judges from the organising team, as well as external parties who have no connection to the competition participants.

Judging criteria

All submissions will be evaluated and scored by the Jury on four common criteria:

  • Suitability of the solutions for solving societal and/or business challenges (25% weighting in scoring);
    • What’s the value that your solution brings to Earth from a social, economic, and environmental perspective?
  • Level of creativity and originality (25% weighting in scoring).
    • Show the unique way that you are using AI technologies for EO data on board an orbiting object.
  • Technical and programmatic feasibility of the implementation (25% weighting in scoring);
    • Assess whether the developed solution is feasible technically and scientifically correct and if it is a priori compatible with the Φsat-2 mission. The programmatic feasibility as part of this ESA mission will be also evaluated.
  • Contribution to Open Science (25% weighting in scoring);
    • What is the level of applicability to a wider community and the level of detail to your methodology?

Competition netiquette

The OrbitalAI Challenge is a project that encourages the AI&EO community to come together to explore key issues, exchange ideas and collaborate to develop and share content, information, and best practices for uncovering the newest algorithms and technology solutions in AI and EO.

Everyone is welcome. We welcome all participants regardless of race, creed, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical appearance, body size, disability, or marital status.

Be nice to each other. We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of race, creed, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical appearance, body size, disability, or marital status. We do not tolerate harassment on our platforms in any form.

Do good. Use your time and energy to innovate for good, not to make the world a worse place. Activities promoting or related to alcohol, tobacco, religion, politics, intolerance, violence, firearms, pornography, obscenity, gambling, or illegal drugs are explicitly excluded from the competition. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate on our platforms.

Failure to obey will result in the removal of the member’s account and/or associated content. We reserve the right to change these rules and guidelines at any time, without prior notice.

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AI4EO is carried out under a programme of, and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site shall not be construed to reflect the official opinion of ESA.

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