Space innovations on the agenda
How can space develop into a new Swedish base industry? That question was in focus at a seminar on Almedalsveckan, where Luleå University of Technology was present among experts, business leaders and other leading space actors.
– Space-based innovations are about more than exploring other solar systems. Thanks to the space industry, we have 1700 satellites that travel around the world and continuously give us an overall picture of our planet. Information about pollutants in air and water, or the status on our forests and fields, helps us to care for our planet, says Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology, adding:
– Satellites are also a prerequisite for the navigation systems that we use today. Although the space industry is still in its infancy, there are already many different examples of how research and innovation linked to space helps solving different societal challenges.
A large audience
Together with, among others, the Swedish Space Corporation, SSC, and the Institute of Space Physics, IRF, Luleå University of Technology participated in the seminar "Space – a new Swedish base industry", which attracted almost 100 people to the audience.
Besides Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, Luleå University of Technology was represented by Kanika Garg, PhD student in Onboard space systems, and Jonas Ekman, Head of the Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering.
Johanna Bergström Roos, Project Manager for Space for Innovation and Growth, RIT, at LTU Business moderated the seminar that was attended by Johann-Dietrich Wörner, General Director of the European Space Agency, ESA, Christer Fuglesang, Space Advisor at SAAB, and Professor of Spacecraft at KTH and Olle Norberg, Director General of the Space Agency. According to Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, important partners, knowledgeable lecturers and the focus on concrete benefit are the reason for the great interest.
– Just like when the first mobile phones came, it's hard to predict what services are going to be in the future, but a similar development can be seen in connection with space-based research. In order to create innovations that generate new businesses and strengthen existing industries, it is therefore important to invest in everything from research and education to innovation systems and new business. It's not possible to invest in one part separately, she says, adding:
– It is important to disseminate information about the skills and knowledge located in northern Sweden and how the region in many ways is crucial for Sweden to meet its societal challenges. Almedalen is a place where we can do this very concentrated and effective. The cooperation between Luleå University of Technology, SSC and IRF shows that northern Sweden is an important space cluster from a national and European perspective.