After a most fruitful first part of 2017, summer is finally gaining its way even here in the grand North. We have an interesting period behind us with several events and important visitors in the region specially focusing on our business. Space has become an important and well established element in our daily lives and even people outside the business is aware of this on a higher level. I’m convinced that the work we all do within the RIT project is part of this progress.
One of our most appreciated activities within the project is our “Space Innovation Forums” (SIF) were we get the chance to gather all project members and also invite external stakeholders. Here are some of the voices from SIF 4: “The Space Innovation Forum is a great place where people from different backgrounds get together and discuss”, “We see industry-academia cooperation as a very important part of keeping our company vital and at the leading edge” and finally “The forum focused on the need of strong innovation processes in the space industry in order to get ahead of the competition”.
From focusing on the value created within the R&D collaborations in the Graduate School of Space Technology led by Professor Marta-Lena Antti, and product development within our space companies, the next logical step for SIF 5 will be to work on intellectual assets and verification of potential business ideas. We will also invite our space companies to share their thoughts about innovation management, like how to stimulate new ideas within the company and how to know which to choose once they have been presented. Once again we will be led by Professor Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck and her team supported by process leaders from LTU Business.
Several representatives from RIT also met in Visby last week for the 23rd ESA/PAC symposium where the global rocket and balloon community gathered for interesting and inspiring presentations, meetings and networking. A positive signal this time was the focus on our next generation of space leaders and co-workers. All bigger countries presented impressive student programmes were industry and academy cooperate and several undergraduate and PhD students from LTU shared results from their space related projects.
Our work to establish a Centre of Excellence at Space Campus in Kiruna is progressing and the dialog with potential partners is gaining momentum. This work will intensify this autumn and we are looking forward to fruitful discussions will all of those interesting in joining as members. The Centre of Excellence will offer the RIT partners a future creative platform for further R&D collaboration once the project is over. In parallel the innovation eco system that is being identified and strengthened during this project, will be integrated in the Centre. This is most important as we see that new knowledge transfer and business ideas often need support in early stages to reach full potential or in some cases make it all the way to the market in a successful way.
Another very pleasing feature connected to the Centre of Excellence is that new Space Laboratories at LTU recently established both in Kiruna and Luleå. First out was the magnificent NanoSpaceLab at Space Campus in Kiruna that Professor Reza Emami presented during Rymdforum 2017. And in June Professor Javier Martin Torres inaugurated the INSPIRE Lab (Instrumentation for Space and Planetary Investigation, Resources and Exploration Lab) in Luleå. LTU is also looking to expand the research focus into Space Technology and Atmospheric Science, and is therefore currently looking to hire new senior researchers, Ph.D. students and senior research engineer.
We are also very proud to note that collaboration between academy and space business also includes new international interactions. One fantastic example is the cooperation within QB50, the first miniaturized satellite that is built and developed at LTU in collaboration with Open Cosmos, a start-up based in UK and established by young space engineers (one is Alumnus from LTU). The satellite was launched into space and after a short stop at the International Space Station, it is now in orbit working as planned. For the research group of Onboard Space Systems this is the first important experience of a full cycle of design, development, fabrication, integration, test, deployment and operation of a miniaturized satellite. Read more about this in the article below.
In addition we are very excited that two new regional start-ups has established at ESA BIC Sweden in Luleå. Kristoffer Ödmark, CEO of Widefind, attended SIF4 and talked about his journey of taking a research idea and starting a new company in the 3D localization market. The second company, TLight, has developed a new technique to identify minerals, including satellite receiver and TPS equipment to improve a precise positioning.
We have come a long way through the project and our constant evaluator Oxford Research has started the work with their Halftime Report. It will be based on interviews and observations since the start of the project, and those of you who will be involved have already been forewarned.
Finally I am pleased to once again thank you all for your personal engagement in different activities within the RIT project. It is still a great pleasure to be part of this enthusiastic space team and I do look forward to meet you all again.
Keep up the good work and enjoy summer!
Project Manager RIT
LTU Business AB