Adria Space Conference: AI in Space

Exploring space and man’s going into space is unthinkable without an artificial intelligence partnership, as such an endeavour is an extremely demanding job and an expensive project.

Organized by the Adriatic Space Association and co-organized by the Ruđer Bošković Institute, University of Zadar, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb and the University of Algebra, at the Ruđer Bošković Institute, and under the auspices of the Croatian Academy of Engineering, held the conference Artificial Intelligence follows the trends in the development of artificial intelligence in space, where top experts from Croatia and Europe spoke. Also, the sponsors of the conference were the Zagreb Tourist Board, the University of Zadar and Visage Technologies.

The Adriatic aerospace association is an association of individuals from top experts to students, companies, and scientific institutions, directly or indirectly linked to space science and technology. The activities of the A3 Association extend in several directions, and one of the main ones is international cooperation, especially regional. This conference was just aimed at this type of cooperation, to bring together experts, companies and scientific institutions on a topic related to space technology and space development.

Conferences are held every year, and for the past two years the same has not been feasible due to restrictions on holding gatherings caused by the current pandemic. The last one was held in 2019. The purpose of the conference is to see in which parts of advanced space technology can agree on cooperation in this region, especially in Croatia.

This year’s theme of the conference was Artificial Intelligence in Space, a topic of priority for the development of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Commission. Exploring space and man’s going into space is unthinkable without an artificial intelligence partnership, as such an endeavour is an extremely demanding job and an expensive project. Probes that carry robots with the application of artificial intelligence, can largely perform tasks that should be performed by man, but the process is much simpler and more efficient. When one day the launch of humans into space becomes a standard project, artificial intelligence, either in the form of robots or in the form of androids, will be a partner for humans to stay and explore space.

The conference was attended by top experts working on the development of space technology and those who are indirectly involved in such a development.

The first speaker (presentation) was Dr. sc. Riccardo Duca from the European Space Agency, responsible for the technological development of ESA, who spoke about the projects being carried out within the framework of artificial intelligence in ESA. There are approximately 200 current projects related to artificial intelligence, so half of these projects relate to the analysis of data obtained from space probes, space objects, or satellites that send data from space to Earth. This is a huge amount of data that would be difficult to analyze without the existence of artificial intelligence, and thus extract the important ones.

The second half of the project is related to the development of artificial intelligence, which is placed on space probes, which then control space probes, or objects that are sent to space bodies in space, such as the Moon and Mars, and even asteroids. A typical example is the navigation system of the BepiColombo probe – a probe that needs to leave Earth and orbit the planet Mercury. Extremely demanding project, which would be difficult to achieve without artificial intelligence.

The second lecturer was prof.dr.sc. Bojan Jerbić from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb, who is the holder of the robotic intelligence project and the head of the Centre for Advanced Artificial Intelligence – CRTA. He spoke about the neuronavigation project and the possibilities of robots to independently perform operations on the brain and other parts of the human body. Although the project is medically oriented, it is very important for the future development of the space presence in space. Such a robot can largely replace the need for traditional medical participation in surgeries. On Mars, a single robot could very well be used for future operations, without the need for medical staff.

Next, the third presentation (presentation) was given by dr.sc. Alexander Radovan from the University of Algebra, who had a presentation on the development of artificial intelligence on the Mars rover and the development of artificial intelligence for probes on Mars. In the presentation, the lecturer Radovan gave a historical overview of the development and continued the lecture in the direction of the latest development of the rover; of its possibilities, how it makes decisions, in which direction to explore the surface of Mars and how to avoid awkward situations.

The fourth presentation (presentation) was given by mr. sc. Luka Orsag on behalf of Visage Technologies, which is also a member of the Adriatic aerospace association. He spoke about the visual communication of man and robot based on visual collaboration. By visually exchanging information between a human and a robot, it is possible to interpret information from the context of such communication, from the expression of a human face.

The fifth lecture (presentation) was given by prof.dr.sc. Philipp Berglez, from the Faculty of Geology, Technical University of Graz, who spoke about navigation based on data obtained from satellites. Today’s navigation uses GPS, but for special needs it is required to be highly accurate. In other words, it is necessary to analyse an extremely large amount of data that ordinary GPS, which is used in everyday use, cannot process. For such a large amount of data, precise navigation on the ground requires artificial intelligence. In the future, if self-driving cars are to be planned, they will need just such a high-precision navigation and they will have artificial intelligence with them to interpret this data.

Jorge Ocón, Head of the Department of Autonomy in the Department of Space Robotics at GMV, then spoke as the sixth speaker. The topic of the presentation was the application of artificial intelligence for autonomous robots with examples used on earth. They are planned to be used to explore mines, inaccessible areas, pollution, radioactivity, etc., which can very easily be used to explore “enemy areas” such as the Moon or Mars.

Prof.dr.sc. Tomislav Stipančić from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb, as the seventh exhibitor, spoke about the visual interaction of man and the image of a robot that perceives human facial expressions and interprets various emotions such as laughter, anger, joy, sadness, dissatisfaction, etc., showing examples interactive visual communication with the robot. Based on such an expression, the robot, i.e., the embedded software of artificial intelligence, can conclude the state of emotions of its partner.

This is extremely important, because one day in space, humans will surely be partnering with an android and a human-like robot that will be able to read conclusions about emotional state and current mood based on the expression of a human face.

Daniela Jović, as a member of A3, but also an employee of the Slovak company Spacemanic, as the eighth lecturer (presentation), gave a historical overview of the development of space technology and space science in Slovakia from the early 60-70 years, the results achieved and especially the current success of Spacemanic development of satellite technology. She also announced the A3 project, which together with the company Spacemanic is building the first Croatian satellite that should be launched in 2023. The satellite is called CroCube and measures 10 x 10 x 10 cm.

Filip Novoselnik from Protostar Labs spoke as the ninth speaker on the development and programming of artificial intelligence for industrial robots, which can be easily used in space conditions, such as work on space stations or work on space bodies such as Mars and the Moon.

At the end of the presentations (presentation), Ph.D. Jörgen Ahlberg, owner of Visage Technologies from Sweden, spoke about a very important topic, and that is how start-ups, ie business start-ups, can succeed in the market world of competition. It was extremely interesting to see that failure to set up and run such small businesses does not have to be an obstacle to not starting and developing new ideas to start such ones, ultimately with the success of companies like Visage Technologies, where they manage to find projects that companies process. and have success in the world rankings.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion on the role of SMEs in the development and organization of artificial intelligence for space exploration. The discussion was extremely interesting, and the aspects of how small companies would have an advantage in the development of basic ideas of artificial intelligence in contrast to large companies were considered. Small companies have the flexibility that ideas can be launched immediately, while large companies must go through administrative steps in order for such a project to be launched.

As part of the conference, “Night under the Stars” was organized, also at the Ruđer Bošković Institute, which was in the evening, and began with a lecture by Ante Radonić on the James Webb telescope. The lecture attracted many people, especially younger ones, and Ante Radonić presented the historical development of space telescopes in space. The final project resulted in the James Webb Telescope, which surpassed all previous telescopes in technology, but which still provides extremely important data. With its precision, James Webb replaces special areas of the electromagnetic spectrum, which complements previous telescopes.

In the evening, three telescopes of the Zagreb Observatory, the astronomical society “Beskraj” and one telescope of amateur astronomers were set up on the meadow of the Ruđer Bošković Institute, where the citizens of the City of Zagreb could watch the night starry sky. Fortunately, the sky was extremely clear so that very distant objects could be seen nicely.

The event attracted many citizens, but what makes us happy is the presence of many children and young people who had the opportunity not only to see the night sky, but also to find out what these facilities represent. It is people from astronomical societies who are top experts in astronomy and have been able to transfer a large amount of information to the public.

The second day of the conference was organized in the form of a visit to the Center for Advanced Robotic Technology – CRTA, at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb, with prof.dr.sc. Bojan Jerbić. On the spot you can see what all kinds of robotic technology exist and are developing in this Centre, which left a great impression on the conference participants.

IEEE lecture: Challenges in space technology and some practical aspects of building and managing spacecrafts

This lecture covers some very inetersting thoughts and experienced overview of ever interesting space technology challenges and corresponding practical aspects in solving it, presented by two distuinguished and experienced scientists, prof. Slobodan Danko Bosanac from Adriatic Aerospace Association (A3) and its colleague Zdenko Uvalić from Airbus.

The lecture is divided into two part where first talk will be devoted to space technology challenges with practiacal examples in efforts to make and launch first Croatian satellite Perun 1, and the second, experience-rich talk from mr. Uvalić on spacecrafts managing in general, i.e. spacecraft accommodation challenges with overview on the functional subsystems, environmental loading on spacecraft during flight and in orbit and qualification and verification philosophy of space components and systems. The concludal part of lecture will give an overview of cubesat Perun 1p – first Croatian satellite.

More on: Challenges in space technology and some practical aspects of building and managing spacecrafts – SMC28 – sustavi, čovjek i kibernetika – IEEE

Challenges in space technology and some practical aspects of building and managing spacecrafts : vTools Events (ieee.org)

Space crew Mali Lošinj

Damir Preksavec, professor at the Mali Lošinj Odgojni dom and founder of the Space Technology Section at the same one, gathered a team of students at the High School Ambroz Haračić in Mali Lošinj on the topic of space technologies. At the A. Haračić School, he teaches courses in electrical engineering and electronics as an external associate. One of the first projects of students inspired by space technology is the creation of a model of our 1U satellite, named Perun.

Student Jan Žugić
My ambition is to become a software engineer and work for faang companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), ie the biggest tech companies or even NASA / SPACEX. I am interested in modern and experimental technologies of the type composite materials (carbon fiber, fiberglass, clover), graphene, robotics (boston dynamics), development of artificial intelligence (machine learning), I think to go to Algebra as a software engineer after high school.

Student Luka Dudić
My ambition is to successfully complete the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka and board a ship and, if possible, a good company. My interests are renewable energy, space technology and everything related to space.

Student Marijan Matković
My ambition is to finish the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka and go sailing maybe a tanker or LNG. My interests are green energy, space science and technology, cryptocurrencies and gaming

Project “Learning Through Play”

In the Bogdan Ogrizović Library and Reading Room in Zagreb, on December 30, 2021, contracts were signed on the implementation of projects for the Call “Strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to popularize STEM”. The contracted projects are worth more than 20 million kuna, and are co-financed from the European Social Fund and the State Budget in the position of the Office for Non-Governmental Organizations. The contract for the project entitled LEARNING THROUGH THE GAME, worth HRK 1,709,968.59, was signed on behalf of the project holder of the GAME OF KNOWLEDGE association, the president of the association Ida Srdić and a member of A3. In addition to the holders, the Adriatic Aerospace Association, FERIT Osijek, the Faculty of Graphic Arts in Zagreb, HZTK, the University of Algebra and MIPRO are participating in the project as partners in the project. Workshops are organized in the implementation of the project “Learning through play”

New Energy Days Conference

Within the Technical School Sisak, under the leadership of Professor Stevča Arsoski, working models of propulsion for the next generations of space vehicles are being made, using electromagnetic fields and ions.

It is in Poreč from January 26 to January 28. In 2022, the first conference entitled “Days of New Energies” was held. The organizer of a very interesting conference was the company BELMET 97 from Zagreb, and the sponsors are the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education and the Croatian-German Chamber of Commerce. At the invitation of the organizer prof. Arsoski gave a lecture on “Ionic motor drive for small satellites” with an emphasis on the school project of the functional model of the ion engine, which was made at the Technical School Sisak as part of the Workshop exercises. In addition to lectures, Arsoski demonstrated the work of the ion engine. In addition to the lecture, he also presented the Regional Competence Center of the Sisak Technical School, which is the only one to have a planned and implemented practicum for space technology. In addition to the work of the school, Arsoski presented the A3 association and introduced the participants to the PERUN project – the first Croatian satellite. Participants showed a high level of interest in the development and implementation of space technology education models in their schools.

Željko Ivezić appointed Director of Rubin Observatory Construction

Željko Ivezić, member of A3 Managing Board, has been appointed director of the construction of a very demanding and important Rubin Observatory project, starting on 3 January 2022.

The Rubin Observatory will play an important role in answering some important questions about understanding the structure of the universe, its beginnings, details of our planetary system and our domicile galaxy, Milky Way. The technological challenges surrounding the construction and operation of the Observatory are described in more detail in the Rubin Observatory .

We wish our member of A3 Board of Directors a lot of success in this challenge and once the Rubin Observatory starts working, we believe that our members will be able to get involved in the analysis of a huge amount of data.

Željko Ivezić appointed Director of Rubin Observatory Construction | Rubin Observatory (lsst.org)

International conference on security, science and peace was held

A two-day conference entitled ‘Security, Science and Peace Conference’ organized by the Croatian Pugwash Group, a branch of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (https://pugwash.org/) and the World Academy of Arts and Science (www.worldacademy.org) was held from the 12-13 November 2021. It was held in a hybrid form due to epidemiological measures. The conference was held under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Zoran Milanović, and within the platform Conference on the Future of Europe.

In two days, six topics on security, science and peace were discussed. Academician Ivo Šlaus, member of the International Council of Pugwash, Paolo Cotta Ramusino, Secretary General of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Götz Neuneck from EuroPugwash and Zvonimir Šikić, President of the Croatian Pugwash Group, addressed the gathering at the beginning. The conference was moderated by Ana Jerković, Vice President of the Croatian Pugwash Group.

The first panel dealt with the topic ‘How can Croatia contribute to the security and peace policies of the European Union’, and was discussed by former President Ivo Josipović, former Minister Vesna Pusić, Ambassador Božo Kovačević and Krševan Antun Dujmović from IRMO. The second panel held was on  ‘Science and Security’ in which the panelists were Götz Neuneck from EuroPugwash, Krunoslav Pisk, Director of the IUC, Nikola Protrka from the Ministry of the Interior and Toni Prug from the University of Rijeka. The third topic ‘Nuclear Disarmament and Global Security’ was a round table with Paolo Cotta Ramusino, Secretary General of Pugwash, Ambassador of Japan Misako Kaji, Ambassador of Kazakhstan Tolezhan Barlybayev, Ambassador of the Netherlands Henk Voskamp and Ambassador of Switzerland Emilia Georgieva.

The second day of the conference began with the panel on the role of the Non-Aligned Movement today, which was discussed by former President Stjepan Mesić, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Fakhraddin Gurbanov, diplomat Budimir Lončar and scientist Asim Kurjak. The panel on Emerging Technologies was held with presentations by Jürgen Altmann from the University of Dortmund, Frano Barbir from FESB, Haris Boko, Director of EUBusinees and Bojan Pečnik, Director of Hipersfera. The conference was concluded with the panel ‘Croatia and Space’ in which Tome Antičić from the Institute Ruđer Bošković, Marina Skender from FERIT, Slobodan Bosanac, director of the Adriatic Aerospace Organization and Mirta Medanić from Amphinicy Technologies presented their views on this topic.