[STEE 2022]“City of Space” Participation in the Space Industry Exhibition in Bremen. Further Increasing Presence in Europe.
Bremen, in northwestern Germany, is a city that many people have heard about in fairy tales. In fact, Bremen has been attracting attention as a space city in recent years. To the north of Bremen Airport, in front of the Weser River, there is a row of major large factories such as Airbus, where rockets and satellite fuel tanks are manufactured. On the north side of the river, academic aerospace research and development is thriving, including the University of Bremen’s Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity(ZARM), a microgravity experimental facility used by the European Space Agency (ESA) and other space agencies for their missions.
The city of Bremen also offers tax incentives to companies in the space industry. The three-way relationship between industry-academia space development on both sides of the river, and government support for both sides, is what makes Bremen a “City of Space” in the nostalgic sense of the word.
The north side of the Weser River is also home to the old town and a popular tourist destination. WARPSPACE was at Messe Bremen, north of the Weser River, for three days from November 14–16 for the Space Tech Expo Europe (STEE) 2022, the world’s largest space industry exhibition, with the largest number of exhibitors. CSO Mori gave a presentation at the exhibition.
Presentation at Main Stage: What is the Value of Optical Communications?
In his presentation on the main stage, he systematically explained the challenges in the operation of Earth observation satellite data and the value of optical communication technology as a possible solution to these challenges. While remarkable technological innovations in recent years have lowered the hurdles for launching satellites into space and enabled a large number of satellites to operate Earth observations, and improved the frequency (i.e., the time resolution of satellite data), the growth of communication infrastructure to downlink such Earth observation data to the ground has become a bottleneck in providing high quality data with low latency. Therefore, it is necessary to build an inter-satellite network of high-speed, high-capacity communication nodes, and he said that inter-satellite optical communication, which is reliable enough, could be a solution to the current problems.
Many people at STEE were interested in the business of using Earth observation data and the issues related to its communication, but were not familiar with the details. Perhaps because the effects of COVID-19 have relatively subsided, he said, “many Japanese participants are now on site, and I am getting fresh reactions from them, so I am attracting more attention than last year”.
From Japan, the Yamaguchi Space Cluster, a network of manufacturing companies in Yamaguchi Prefecture that contributes to the aerospace industry through manufacturing, Interstellar Technology, Astroscale, and SpaceBD also had booths. Other large companies such as Marubeni, AGC, and Sumitomo Seiki were also there, and he received many questions from Japanese participants.
Meanwhile, the news that the ESA’s annual budget was decided to be increased by 17% compared to 2019 at the recent summit meeting in Paris, suggests that the ESA is expected to become more active in the future. Looking at the various booths at STEE, it is clear that the space agencies and private companies from European countries are gaining momentum. In addition to France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K., which have led ESA in the past, there are more exhibits from organizations based in Eastern and Northern European countries such as Armenia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Finland compared to last year.
For example, Astrolight (Lithuania), developer of the half-U (half the size of a 1U, 10 cm x 10 cm x 5 cm) optical terminal ATLAS, has a booth at STEE, and new players are entering the optical communications industry. In addition, many companies that were not seen at STEE in 2019, such as OFFICINA STELLARE (Italy), exhibited booths this year in businesses related to optical ground stations.
As the space industry becomes more active in the Europe, and as awareness and publicity of the industry grows, the field of optical communications will become increasingly important as a solution to the problems that need to be solved at this time. With STEE2022, WARPSPACE was able to show that it is an important player in optical communication services in Japan and to communicate its presence to the world at large. We hope you will look forward to our business development in the future.
(Written by Junichiro Nakazawa)