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Joint journey to space

Finnish space technology professionals presented their achievements to the Director General of the European Space Agency.
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Janne Kuhno and Bagus Awidhuilung introduced the model piece of Aalto-1-satellite to ESA Director General Jan Wörner.

ESA Director General Jan Wörner visited Finland and Aalto University and described what 'Space 4.0' will look like. Aalto University will be part of the breakthrough in space conquest when Aalto-1, the first Finnish nanosatellite, is launched into space in a few months. The smaller size of satellites and lower launch costs have also triggered a breakthrough in Finland.

'The five years of work spent designing and building the Aalto-1 satellite is a masterpiece of the new space technology generation. The motivation and hard work of the students has created a strong foundation for the innovative space technology field in Finland,' states Aalto University Professor Jaan Praks at the Space on the Stage seminar.

Held at Aalto University Design Factory, the Space on the Stage seminar brought together companies and experts in the field and provided them with the opportunity to present their activities to the new Director General of the ESA, who was visiting Finland for the first time.

Space is part of the global infrastructure

ESA Director General Wörner believes that companies will play an even larger role in utilising space in the future. He emphasised the strong research in the field.

'Without research, we have no new ideas,' he says and also calls for close collaboration.

The Aalto-1 nanosatellite was built in a student project in broad cooperation with other Finnish universities and institutes.

'Along with the Aalto-1 satellite, work has already begun on the Aalto-2 and Suomi100 satellites as well as new ideas and missions, such as the AIDA asteroid mission. The project has produced new companies, like the space technology start-up Iceye Oy, which is developing a service based on microsatellites and a company called Reaktor Space Lab that was jointly founded last week by the Aalto University satellite team and the technology company Reaktor,' says Praks.

Director General Wörner is pleased with the cooperation and encourages the partners to continue with education and high motivation. The director general is quite cautious when talking about the future plans of the European Space Agency. The next step is the introduction of the renewed European rocket family. The Finnish audience was interested in why Europe is in a weak competitive position in terms of launching satellites and whether this situation can be changed. Director General Wörner is optimistic, but reminded listeners that Europe should focus on developing its strengths. Finland is one of the ESA's 22 member states.

The presentations made at the Space on the Stage seminar can be downloaded on the event website.

Photos: Aalto University/MIkko Raskinen

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