Switzerland explores India’s Space Industry

By Yashaswini Kumar, Manager – Communications, August – September 2016

‘Space Week in India’ was an ambitious program designed and implemented by swissnex India to provide avenues for Swiss space organizations and experts to collaborate with their Indian counterparts. The program was designed to enable the visiting Swiss delegates to receive an overall understanding of India’s space industry, get the opportunity to network with members of the industry, visit Indian and international space organizations and exhibit their products/technologies/services in India.

The Swiss delegates in India

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Space Week in India: 29 August – 3 September 2016

Delegates from prominent space organizations in Switzerland such as the Swiss Space Center, Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry ETHZ, Spectratime, Almatech, ELSE SA, Micos, Saphyrion, and HEIG-VAUD participated in the program. Each organization came with its own agenda. HEIG-VAUD was interested in setting up Indo-Swiss space projects, Saphyrion and Almatech were looking at sales and potential partnerships, ETHZ was keen on exploring the possibility of launching its satellite through India’s launch vehicles and the other organizations were interested in specific partnerships with institutes in India.

The week began with familiarization sessions to India’s space sector by Indian experts. This was followed by comprehensive sessions on business collaboration opportunities, space laws, information on upcoming space startups and companies as well as peer networking.

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The program had two main highlights – visits to India’s premier space institute – Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and other big players in the industry such as Airbus, Astrome Technologies Pvt. Ltd at Indian Institute of Science, etc., and the Swiss Pavilion at Bangalore Space Expo 2016. Among the visits, the one to ISRO was of utmost significance to the visiting delegates.

ISRO tour and collaboration opportunities
Volker Gass, President of Swiss Space Center at Ecole Polytechnic Federal de Lausanne, and his team discussed the possibility of launching its nano-satellite, CubeETH, via ISRO’s launch stations. ISRO had formerly launched Switzerland’s satellite, SwissCube, in 2009 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center near Chennai. Mr. Christian Schori from Spectratime was interested in connecting with the navigation team at ISRO. Each of the delegates presented their technology to ISRO’s scientists and were taken on a tour of the launching stations. The delegation found the tour interesting and informative, and looked forward to a possible collaboration with ISRO.

Bangalore Space Expo 2016 & Space Innovation Evening
A Swiss Pavilion was set up at the Bangalore Space Expo 2016 (a platform for space companies to demonstrate their latest technologies and network with their peers from the industry) to showcase the work of each of the participating Swiss organizations.

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A model of CleanSpace One, EPFL’s response to the problem of orbital debris, was showcased at the Space Expo and generated a great amount of interest. CleanSpace One aims to recapture the Swiss cubical satellite called SwissCube, launched into space in 2009, as well as clean up other space debris. Several visitors to the pavilion were fascinated by the technology and asked penetrating questions to the team that developed it. Mainstream newspapers in Bangalore picked up on the interest and published several articles on this innovation. The technologies and services of the other visiting Swiss organizations also piqued the curiosity of the space companies, drawing a large crowd to the pavilion.

A Space Innovation Evening was organized for the delegates to present their work and organization to specially invited industry members, followed by a networking session.

The program was a success in terms of market immersion and exploration of partnership possibilities. The combination of Swiss precision and Indian ingenuity is bound to lead to fascinating outcomes. We look forward to the results of the connections established between Swiss and Indian peers in the space industry and hope to facilitate many such collaborations in the future.

 

Thanks to swissnex India, we were able to spend a fantastic week with industrial partners and academic partners, to visit Bangalore, to visit startups, to visit large organizations and to visit ISRO, which is really great and a once in a lifetime experience. And I believe that out of this first meeting, really strong collaborations can be set up on a case by case level between the industry and academia, and also between our two countries. And I hope that in the next month we will be able to set up cooperation agreements that will allow things to go forward and enhance strength of the space programs of our two countries. In systems like cleaning up the space debris, we have a common problem that is even a global problem. And together we can solve it. So really thank you for organizing this event and look forward to the future collaboration we will have.
Dr. Volker Gass

 

Space Week in India: 29 August – 3 September 2016