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In-Orbit Economy Workshop: from space innovation to business development

In this one-day workshop organised by the ESA Downstream Gateway it was covered how the space environment can boost commercial solutions through the involvement of private actors in experimenting aboard of European facilities (e.g., ISS internal and external platforms, Space Rider facility) and on current European in-orbit services missions.


Topic overview


ESA’s commercial partnerships with European industry promotes a broader utilisation of the International Space Station and facilitates space exploration, nurturing new technologies that could accelerate future ESA’s missions to the Moon and Mars while helping our everyday life.

Back in 2015, ESA issued a permanent open call to industry to participate in the Agency’s Space Exploration Strategy via innovative partnerships. Since 2016, the Agency is running the so-called commercial partnership initiative which enables private industry to develop space-enabled services together with ESA in form of a Public-Private Partnership.

Today, the ESA agenda 2025 highpoint how ESA and its partners need to evolve to boost commercialisation in the European space sector, focusing on three key ingredients: talent, access to capital, and fast innovation.

Through this digital discussion platform, the ESA Downstream Gateway has the objective to provide traditional and not-yet involved with ESA actors with a virtual and physical spaces where to confront and generate potential commercial opportunities.


Introduction and Panel 1: Space Commercialisation and Zero gravity Innovation


Donatella Ponziani, Downstream Gateway Officer at ESA opened this workshop illustrating the opportunities that the space sector can offer to the financial ecosystem and how the space environment can boost commercial solutions in experimenting aboard European facilities focusing on three key ingredients: talent, access to capital and fast innovation. It was also covered how to involve a new generation of motivated talents and how to better cooperate with the private sector and private investors in order to improve the life of the ecosystem (startups, SMEs and large companies), while moving fast into innovation in both the telecommunication and business fields.

The first panel was moderated by Charlotte Mathieu, Head of the Industrial Policy and Economic Analysis Section at ESA


Luisa Innocenti – Head of the Clean Space Office, ESA. Live presentation
Bernhard Hufenbach – Commercialisation & Innovation Team Leader – Human and Robotic Exploration, ESA Live presentation
Ferenc Darvas – CEO and President, Innostudio Live presentation

Panel 2: How space innovation fosters new markets?


The second panel was moderated by Donatella Ponziani, Downstream Gateway Officer at ESA.

Geraldine Naja – Acting Director of Commercialisation, Industry, and Procurement, ESA Live presentation
Thilo Kranz – Commercial Space Transportation Programme Manager, ESA Live presentation
Mark Boggett –  CEO, Seraphim Capital Live presentation
Luca Rossettini – CEO and co-founder, D-Orbit Live presentation
Éloïc Peyrache – Dean, HEC Paris Live presentation
Marwan Elfitesse – Head of start-up programs, Station F Live presentation

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