From Lego-style satellites that plug together to robot avatars for lunar exploration, satellite maps for Arctic navigation to a DNA-analysing 'tricorder': next week 24 of planet Earth's top start-ups will showcase their cutting-edge ideas for space and beyond at the International Astronautical Congress in Germany.
In response to an open call for new ideas from space-related start-ups, two dozen selectees from Europe, Japan, Canada, the US and Russia will present their technology concepts and prototypes at ESA’s Start-up Space zone at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, Germany from 1-5 October.
They will have an opportunity to demonstrate their designs and discuss their uses in a series of four pitching sessions on 2 and 4 October, under the theme ‘We Need More Space’.
The start-ups' efforts span a wide range of game-changing concepts. These vary from new ways to design, manufacture and fly spacecraft to novel services from space – including very-high range Earth observation imagery, environmental surveying from commercial aircraft and frequently-updated Arctic ice maps – and technologies to improve daily life – such as a portable lab for DNA analysis and satellite monitoring to slash farmers’ fertiliser use by 40%.
Europe’s space industry is evolving rapidly, with new companies devising novel uses of space data and technologies. ESA is at the heart of these developments, providing support to young companies through its Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Programme, including a Europe-wide space solutions network of 20 Business Incubation Centres and 16 Technology Transfer Brokers.
Fostering entrepreneurship, boosting employment and expanding innovation, ESA’s BICs have supported more than 650 start-ups to date and another 160 join the network each year, receiving two years of support.