Last week, 25 and 26 October, the fourth international Spaceport Norway Conference & Expo, was arranged at The Old Library in Oslo. The night before there was a reception hosted by University of Oslo - both events were fully booked. Oslo was on the plan for 2020, but was cancelled because of a global pandemic - finally, we made it happen in the capital city of Norway.
412 participants from USA, Asia, Europe and Norway was registered for Spaceport Norway 2022, our biggest conference and expo to date. The program's main title this year was "It's time to be bolder" – a title that was reflected in many of the topics covered by the invited speakers.
Géraldine Naja, Director of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement at the European Space Agency (ESA), was the first keynote speaker in our rich and varied program, and talked about the strong development in the European space industry, but also the need and importance of making more happen: engagement with other industry sectors, attract more private investors, strengthen the European space programs with human spaceflight capabilities, securing European capacities. We got off to a great start!
The following talks from DG at Norwegian Space Agency, Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, CEO of KSAT, Rolf Skatteboe and CEO & Co-founder at the tech start-up Vake, Thomas Leira, formed a thematic session we called // FOUR PERSPECTIVES //. It concluded with the first "sofa chat" of the conference, moderated by Senior Adviser at Norwegian Space Agency, Mari Eidholm. The speakers were joined by an engaged and insightful Luce Del Monte, Head of Commercialisation Department at European Space Agency (ESA).
Luca Del Monte also gave us a fantastic feedback after the conference, greatly appreciated by the Spaceport Norway team:
This is one of the best and well organized space business events I have attended. What is truly special is the sense of a community we all feel we are a part of - looking forward to return in 2023.
Luca Del Monte, ESA
The first session shaped the context for the rest of the two days, touching on the many facets of business opportunities that now are emerging in the space domain.
Exponential technology development, scientific breakthroughs, the geopolitical situation and the need for faster innovation and better solutions across all industry sectors open a landscape of possibilities – It really is time to be bolder.
Norway's minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Christian Vestre, made it clear that Norway's government sees the potential for growth in the space sector, and talked about how the nation can play a bigger role in the European and Global market.
Next year Norway will have launch to orbit capabilities, launching satellites up to 1.5 T to low earth orbit from Andøya, developed and operated by Andøya Spaceport. This new capacity will give easier access to orbit for the space industry, research communities and academia, and have extended effects across sectors in and outside of Norway. This perspective was clearly communicated by the minister, we expect many follow-ups and actions going forward.
Spaceport Norway has been growing year by year since the first time we arranged the conference in 2017, but one thing remains the same: the engagement and intensity in the community. This year we saw it on stage from many inspired and insightful speakers, we saw it in the audience that often would reach out for questions and discussions in the breaks, we saw it in the two expo zones – buzzing with conversation and discussions, and 175 felt it at the Spaceport Norway Award Dinner. Not only because of the fantastic electronica music performance by So Takahashi (also the designer of the Spaceport Norway logo), but his performance certainly contributed to a great night.
There are many reasons for this energy, one is that most people working in the space industry, or that aspire to develop space business from a different sector, often are very driven, motivated and committed. In addition, there is also the diverse constellation of established companies and start-ups, a mix of experienced professionals and students*, the space profiles from government and industry, and leaders and strategists from non-space actors. This eclectic mix of cultures and personalities, creates a very special atmosphere. We hope to be able to cultivate that even more going forward.
Part Deux of this article will be published Friday 4 November, and will cover the Spaceport Norway Award, Nordic Launch and more.
READ PART DEUX