Nine Swiss delegates from varying organisations and start-ups participated in the Space Week event last week in India. The week opened many doors for the delegates. Startups were able to intensify their relationship and cooperation with Indian partners.
Space Week in India, a program designed and implemented by swissnex India, was organised to create a platform for Swiss space organizations and experts to collaborate with their Indian counterparts. Among the Swiss delegates were large companies/organisations such as Swiss Space Center, Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry ETHZ, Spectratime, HEIG-VAUD and startups including Almatech (Ecublens-VD), ELSE SA (Carrouge-VD), Micos (Lucerne) and Saphyrion (Bióggio-TI). They all travelled to India to explore and attain deeper knowledge about the Indian space industry. Big players in the industry such as Airbus, Astrome Technologies Pvt. Ltd at Indian Institute of Science, among others were also present.
The Swiss delegates left for India with a clear objective; 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.
Indeed some of these objectives were fulfilled during the course of the event. The Swiss delegation received an overall understanding of India’s space industry, they had the opportunity to network with members of the industry, they visited Indian and international space organizations (ISRO) where they presented their technology to ISRO’s scientists and were also taken on a tour of some of the launching stations in India. Also as part of the event, the entire delegation had the opportunity to showcase their products/technologies/services at the Swiss Pavillion in Bangalore Space Expo 2016. This visit has gained several media coverage including; Times of India and the Indian Express.
Angelo Consoli, Aerospace Programme Manager at Saphyrion also adds: “It was a great opportunity to get in touch with important players, intensify our relationship and cooperation with Indian partners. Good to know the strategy of Indian players and the possible options to cooperate with them. I also had the opportunity to meet Swiss players and friends that I normally do not meet. Enjoyed the good team atmosphere and networking within the delegation.”
Collaboration with ISRO in outlook
The Swiss presence in India laid a foundation for the Swiss space industry to further share its technological expertise in India. Their collaboration with the Indian space industry will allow for technological advancements and sharing expertise across the industry. The first step for this collaboration was established in the exclusive meeting conducted between the Swiss Space Center and the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO). Volker Gass, President of Swiss Space Center and his team discussed the possibility of launching the 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.
“I believe that out of this first meeting, strong collaborations can be set up on a case by case level between the industry and academia, but also between our two countries. I hope that in the next month we will be able to set up cooperation agreements that will allow us to go forward and enhance the strength of the space programs of our two countries. I believe that, for example, 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”, says Volker Gass.
In addition, Christian Schori from Spectratime was interested in connecting with the navigation team at ISRO. Consequently, Shori and Dominique Bovey from HEIG-VD were invited by the ISRO to witness the launching of a weather satellite (INSITE-3DR).