How industry can use technologies developed for space

Textile production monitored by a 'space eye'
19 September 2007

Spin-offs from space technology, often used in our everyday lives, will be given centre stage at the European Space Technology Transfer Conference to be held in Munich from 16 to 17 October.

Uses to which space technologies are already being put include innovative crash test systems to improve car safety, microbiological sensors for water treatment, light-weight hydrogen-tanks for environmentally friendly cars, and systems to identify sulphur in fuel and sort scrap metal. Research is also ongoing to see how space technology can be applied in state-of-the-art ultra light robots for surgery, and to produce artificial organs and prostheses.

The future potential of advanced European space technologies will be addressed at the Conference that will take place at the MunichExpo, and which is being co-organised by ESA and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology.

Space technology and experience help in daily life

“It is not always obvious what role in our daily life the spin-off of advanced technologies, originally developed for our space programmes, can play. At this conference we will be very concrete and focus on successful transfers of space technology that bring commercial benefit to the space and the non-space industry.

“We have 24 speakers who will reveal exciting new transfers in each of their sectors so everyone can see what can be achieved when using available space technologies in the research and development of new applications and systems in non-space fields,” says Frank M. Salzgeber, head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office and one of the instigators of the conference.

Among the speakers will be Douglas A. Comstock, Director for NASA’s Innovative Partnership Programme, who will illustrate how international cooperation projects can both serve space programmes and the technology transfer of space tech into non-space application.

Dr Peter Hofmann, Director of Business Development from Kayser-Threde, Germany, will also illustrate the successful use of space technology. For Kayser-Threde, space spin-offs resulted in the set-up of two new divisions: one in the automotive field and one in process control systems. Today both offer well established market products and services. The automotive division has for many years upheld its title as a world market leader in on-board crash test acquisition systems and now offers complete crash facilities to improve car safety.

Space technology improves racing car safety and performance

Altogether 19 companies from 10 European countries will present successful transfers where space technology has provided innovative solutions in a variety of sectors such as automotive, medical, energy, textile, security and robotic.

Prof. Dr Ulrich Walter, Head of the Chair of Astronautics at the Technical University of Munich and former German astronaut, will also give his first-hand experience of the complexities of engineering spacecraft.

“Every year in Europe we use a significant amount of money for the research and development of the new technologies and materials needed for our space programmes. This provides an incredible pool available for use in new and intelligent solutions to problems on Earth that will improve everyday life for all of us,” adds Salzgeber.

Entrance to the European Space Technology Transfer Conference

“We have set up a network of technology brokers in Europe to facilitate the transfer and help interested industries and entrepreneurs identify possible technologies. In addition, we support entrepreneurs and start-up companies with bright ideas for the use of space technology in new applications at our three Business Incubation centres in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.”

For those interested in attending the European Space Technology Transfer Conference a limited number of seats will be assigned on a first come first served basis.

Registration can be done online at

About ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)

The main mission of the ESA TTPO is to facilitate the use of space technology and space systems for non-space applications and to further demonstrate the benefit of the European space programme to European citizens. The TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies including the incubation of start up companies.

For more information, please contact:
Technology Transfer Programme
European Space Agency - ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1, P.O. BOX 299, 2200 AG, Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Office: +31 (0) 71 565 3910
Fax: +31 (0) 71 565 6635
Email: ttp @

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