Master students and others got an extraordinary insight into how advanced space technologies can provide innovative strong solutions and new business on Earth, through presentations by seven world-leading space agencies at the International Space University last week.
Organised by ESA, the 2019 annual meeting of the Space Agencies Technology Transfer Officers (SATTO) group was hosted by the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg.
The President of ISU Juan de Dalmau opened the day with a warm welcoming note highlighting the importance of technology transfer and innovation from the space sector to our societies and the importance of a international, intercultural and interdisciplinary perspective to optimize the benefits.
This was followed by officers from JAXA, ESA, NASA, CNES, CSA, ASI and ISA presenting insight and exchanged knowledge and experiences in strategies, methods and challenges faced, leading up to a morning panel discussion on the space technology transfer themes.
The Head at JAXA for Strategic Planning and Industrial Promotion Takayuki Kawai highlighted systematically how Japanese space policy results in augmented JAXA support for innovation, technology transfer and entrepreneurship.
This is done through a number of support initiatives such as J-Booster, S-matching and J-Spark. Mentioning different cases, he specifically pointed as a good example to the opportunities to re-use long-term food storage technologies for handling human consumptions developed for long duration space missions that could help in earthquake and tsunami shelters.
Head of ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office Frank M. Salzgeber pointing at the opportunities and challenges of business incubation and long-term perspectives versus short-term trade-offs.
The ESA Business Incubation Centres and ESA booster initiatives have proved highly successful in creating new companies, disseminating space technology and adding value.
Over 700 new start-ups have been fostered in Europe at the 20 ESA Business Incubation Centres in 16 European countries, all based on space spin-offs. He emphasised that space technology can provide smart solutions in almost every area here on Earth - even the Vatican uses space technology to help preserve its ancient document and book archives of inestimable worth for centuries to come.
Marc Dvorscak from NASA outlined the emphasis which is taken in US towards entrepreneurship, industry and support to societal needs by making available portfolios of candidate technologies for new market creation, noting the property rights challenges and NASA’s supportive initiatives. He presented an impressive catalogue of hardware and software patents available for transfer to non-space sectors and to the corporate world.
Sebastien Poujade from the French space agency CNES focused on the complementarities between large and small companies and highlighted the important role of technology transfer supportive tools like ActInspace that underline the global and partnership-enhancing nature of the sector.
The ActInSpace challenge atttracts entrepreneurs, students and others to foster business ideas, based on using CNES and ESA space patents.
The concept was born and initiated in France and following its success, currently it is being expanded to countries around the world through the network of ESA Business Incubation Centres.
Head of Innovation and Transfer of Technologies at the Italian Space Agency ASI Anilkumar Dave pointed at the risk elements associated with technology transfer and the development of start-ups and financing aspects.
To support specifically in this area ASI is launching next week the first Space Venture Capital Initiative in Italy at the 30 year celebration of the Italian Space Agency.
Anne-Marie Lan Phan from the Canadian Space Agency CSA concentrated on the challenges related to intellectual property.
CSA has established a stepwise procedure clarifying all transfer elements and improving frequently neglected aspects to asssist start-ups and entrepreneurs in their business doing technology transfer from space programmes.
Ofer Lapid from Israel`s ISA highlighted the synthetic environment of institutions from academia, industry, government for start-ups and entrepreneurship with ISA at the forefront of this environment in Israel.
After the presentations, the morning session continued with a seven officials-wide panel discussion moderated by Vasilis Zervos from the faculty in Economics and Policy at ISU.
Students and officials, among others also representatives from OECD, Eurometropol and business incubators, had the opportunity to interact and pose questions in relation to the tolerance and criticality of failures and lessons learned for technology creation and dissemination, as well as the resources and failure tolerance of space agencies and industry.
An informal lunch at ISU’s Pioneers Hall provided a venue for socializing and brain storming for speakers and audience alike. In the afternoon the SATTO members had their internal yearly meeting.
The SATTO working group includes a number of international and national space agencies and offices, including NASA from USA, ESA from Europe, CSA from Canada, CNES from France, DLR from Germany, ASI from Italy, JAXA from Japan, the Space Office from Switzerland, the Aerospace Research Institute from South Korea, the National Institute for Space Research from Brazil and ISA from Israel. Most of the members were present with also OECD representatives at this SATTO 2019 annual meeting 21 February 2019.