The university continues to invest in space

Luleå University of Technology continues to strengthen and develop its role as Sweden’s leading Space University. The project Rymd för innovation och tillväxt, RIT, got new funding. – Now we have the opportunity to establish earlier initiatives. We will get lasting results and a sustainable development effort, says Johanna Bergström-Roos, project leader for RIT 2021.

– The first RIT project gave us the opportunity to strengthen the university as an important player within space. We are now expanding the partnership in the region, says Jonas Ekman, Head of the Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, and initiator of the RIT project.

The goal of RIT 2021 is to continue to establish northern Sweden as a space region. The aim is to create an attractive and productive innovation environment that provides long-term sustainable growth that attracts people, investments and companies to the region. In the county of Norrbotten, the conditions for meeting the space industry’s needs are good: the geographical situation combined with long-established systems of education, research and infrastructure.

– We have unique geographical advantages in our region that are ideal for space operations. Combined with long experience, broad competence and excellent research and test infrastructure, the space industry has the possibilty to become one of our strongest industries, says Johanna Bergström-Roos.

– RIT 2021 will ensure a productive and attractive innovation environment that attracts expertise, customers, partners, investors and new businesses to the region.

Testbed and innovations

Within the framework of the project, collaboration between academia and industry will be in focus. More PhD projects will ensure the exchange of knowledge between academia and industry, not least in the field of innovation. Together with the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, IRF, the university will build a test bed for space. The test bed will be a platform for advanced aeronautical testing of, for example, new systems and components on satellites sent into space. Another part of RIT 2021 is about innovation support for growth – to make small and medium-sized enterprises achieve innovation power and growth in the space industry.

– We will establish a strong innovation system for growth in the space industry based in collaboration, research and test-driven development. Many different parties need to be involved, not least regional companies that want to develop as providers to the space industry, says Johanna Bergström-Roos.

Leading part for the university

For Luleå University of Technology, RIT 2021 is also an example of interdisciplinary collaboration. Several research topics will contribute with resources and infrastructure to the project. The goal is to strengthen the university’s role as an important space actor in Sweden.

– Our goals include inventory, coordination and development and to sell services related to infrastructure at the university, IRF and SSC to develop our test capabilities. We also connect RIT 2021 to Aerospace Cluster Sweden, ACS, to develop small and medium-sized enterprises’ ability to deliver to a growing space sector, says Jonas Ekman.

RIT 2021

Parties in the project are Luleå University of Technology, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Arctic Business Incubator, LTU Business, Swedish Space Corporation, GKN Aerospace and OHB Sweden.

Financiers are the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Region Norrbotten, Luleå Municipality, Kiruna Municipality and Sparbanken nord.