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A symbol of first class space entrepreneurship

Minister for Higher Education and Science Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen's speech at the inauguration of ESA BIC Denmark 4 March 2020.

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Welcome, and thank you very much.

It is a great honour for me to be present today. The ESA Business Incubation Centre Denmark is a symbol of first class space entrepreneurship. So, it is a pleasure to be here to inaugurate it.

I would like to start by thanking DTU and the president of DTU, Anders Bjarklev. Not only, are you hosting today's event, your team has also been the main driver in the whole process leading up to today. I have noticed that the new centre has a special focus on engaging students. I encourage that. And I know you do too, Anders. I hope all three universities will be able to engage hundreds of students in space entrepreneurship in the years to come. We need it.

Without the hard work done by dedicated people from DTU - and later by all the partners in the consortium - we wouldn't be here today. So thank you very much.

Also a warm welcome to the Director General from the European Space Agency. Thank you for being here and celebrating with us today. And a warm welcome to the representatives from the consortium behind ESA BIC Denmark - to the Danish Industry Foundation, Aalborg University and Aarhus University. And also a warm thank you to all our industry-partners in the consortium, especially GomSpace and Terma, The Otto Mønsted Foundation - and of course our ESA BIC partners in ESA. You have collaborated loyally and with great competence with your Danish counterparts to make this day happen.

We hope this is just the first step among many on our continued effort of capitalizing on our space partnerships – and creating new partnerships.

Earth in the mirror

Two months ago we had our national space conference and we talked about the importance of building space partnerships. And how crucial these partnerships are to achieving our goals also in green transition.
Today we celebrate the opening of the very first national partnership in space – ESA BIC Denmark.

At the national space conference, I talked about space being a mirror – a mirror where we, on Earth, are able to use space to reflect ourselves and our planet. The image of the Earth is still a beautiful one. My four-year-old son has the whole solar system hanging above his bed. When you turn off the light, you can see it lighting up. Planet Earth has these gorgeous green and blue colors. But alarms about our environment and climate are ringing. And we need to do something about it.

Space technology can help us in this direction. It can help us protect the planet in many ways. First of all, observations from space can provide us with important knowledge about our climate. And it has done so to an extend where I don’t think without space observations we, in Denmark, would have the ambitious goal of a 70 percent reduction of CO2-emisisons.

Because what we know from space has made us knowledgeable about what we face. But secondly, observations are not enough. Space technologies can be used to do things smarter and more efficiently.

Saving energy, saving fuel, recycling water are examples of current space exploration. Space also give us the ability to communicate and navigate with extreme precision, saving energy on the way.

Optimising routes for transportation by sea or air taking account for wind and currents are all improvements of our way of living. Improvements that depend on space infrastructure and space technology.

Denmark is a space-based economy

Today, 19 percent of all Danish companies use space as an element of their business. 28 percent of farmers use precise navigation to steer their heavy machinery in the field. These are figures, recently reported by the Space Comité in Denmark. So in that sense, Denmark is well on track of becoming a space based economy.

Space is in that way an invisible infrastructure in the sky, just as important as the transportation infrastructure here on Earth.

And as I just spoke to the Director General about earlier this morning, space can do so much for other areas – including climate and green transition. But also our increased focus on safety and security is an important aspect. Cyber resilience and cyber safety is paramount when we deal with space based critical infrastructure.

So the space entrepreneurs in Denmark have plenty of areas to explore.
Today, Denmark have more than 200 space related companies. Some of you are present today.

ESA BIC will make that number grow. We expect 40 new high-tech companies to be admitted over the next five years. And by 2025, the goal is that these companies will have a total turnover of at least 150 million DKK. And – in addiction – hundreds of new jobs.

The center takes us to the next level

Denmark is a space faring nation. We launched our first national satellite more than 20 years ago. 16 years later, ESA launched the first Danish astronaut, and this year the results from the Danish ASIM-instrument on ISS reached the front page of the scientific journal; Science. And what a picture.

Danish companies and research institutions already participate to a great extent in ESA’s programmes with great benefit for all of us. And Denmark has been present on many NASA missions as well. I am proud to say that Danish technology and knowledge is present where ever man is present in the universe. And with the establishment of ESA BIC Denmark, I am certain that we will be able to bring our membership of ESA to the next level.

I wish ESA BIC Denmark the best of luck.

Thank you.

last modified Mar 04, 2020