Science for Society

Lund is moving closer to space

Caroline Wendt
June 17, 2020

A few years ago, at a business day, companies in Lund were presented with the opportunity to conduct research into space. Now there are more and more businesses in Lund that are seeing the possibilities to test things in space, but also how to use space technology to create sustainability on earth. In June, Space Hub Lund held a webinar where the discussion included, among other things, the ESA-incubator in Lund and how Axis Communications is actually associated with the highly renowned SpaceX.

At the beginning of June, this spring’s final Space Hub Lund webinar was aired from the Vattenhallen Science Center. Joining via the link was Anna Rathsman, Director-General of the Swedish National Space Agency, where she spoke about the importance of linking space research with the research done on earth.

- Space is a good tool to understand what happens on the earth in many different ways and also understand which actions that have to be made. Information from space connects a lot of different arenas in a way that people maybe don’t see. Our aim and goal is to support the Swedish space arena including the industry and the researchers. We have a small budget and therefore we try to collaborate with different agencies and companies.

Many companies have a clear interest in space research in Lund, although this connection may not be obvious at first glance. One example is Axis Communications, which was represented at Space Hub Lund by Veronica Sällberg, Global Business Development Manager Smart City.

In what way does Axis seek values cooperating with space industry?

- We look in-to different areas. Our core competence is image processing and the space industry can use our technology. For example – SpaceX, which was launching last Saturday, uses our cameras for testing the engines. We can also apply learnings from that to our product development for image processing. The other thing is in the development of new sensors. The extreme environment in space gives us knowledge that makes our sensors for cities better, as we have extreme environment also here on earth. And also the other way around – sensors placed in the city could be used for data collection for the space industry.

One goal for Space Hub Lund is to establish a space node with a European Space Agency Business Incubator Center (ESA BIC) in Lund.

- We have three other nodes in Sweden but we are missing a node in the south of Sweden, Anna Rathsman says. We like what you are doing in Lund and it´s important to have the ESA BIC there to start new companies -- but we also need collaboration and financing. We will try to support you as far as we can and I look forward towards a future collaboration.

Other participants in the webinar were Sune Nordentoft Lauritsen, ESA Business Incubator in Denmark and Moa Persdotter, from VentureLab in Lund. They presented Launchpad, an entrepreneurial program which ESA's business incubator also offers to Swedish students in Denmark this summer.

Gianluca Dettori, Executive Chairman Primomiglio and Founder & Chairman of Primospace, is one of the founders of an investment fund for space-oriented projects in Europe. He was interviewed during the broadcast and showed an interest in Lund.

The webinar also offered a retrospective. A few years ago Per Persson, Director of Sustainable Business Development at Lund Municipality, stated that Lund needed to invest in space research and technology.

- Most people were positive because space is an interesting area, especially as Lund as a city has many companies in technology and life science. Technology from space can be used on earth and I think that Lund can use space in the best way and develop it to be more sustainable on earth.

It all started with Lund Grand Prix 2015 where Cecilia Hertz from Umbilical Design presented how to use space technology on earth and vice versa. Two years later, in May 2017, all space ESA-brokers and the Swedish National Space Agency had a conference in Lund and that showed them the potential of Lund, including Max IV and ESS. That led to more contacts with the ESA and Swedish National Space Agency. By November 2020 Space Hub Lund started, and the Space Hub is now seeking to establish an ESA BIC in Lund in collaboration with Ideon Innovation.

See video from the live-stream.

The work with Space Hub Lund continues after the summer.

Translation: Ben Dohrmann

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