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THE NEW SPACE ECONOMY IS READY TO LIFT OFF THANKS TO FINNISH INNOVATION

As space technology turns towards improving the future of life here on earth, the new space economy is taking a giant leap as well. With the growing sector, innovative Finnish companies are leading the way using their digital and tech-savvy expertise. They are dedicating their stellar engineering skills to bringing space back down to earth. 

Future aspects of the global space idustry

As per Morgan Stanley’s Space Team, by 2040 the global space industry is expected to surge to over $1 trillion. In the coming time, the companies will use space technology and innovation to solve issues that impact our lives. These issues include climate change, rising sea levels, wildfires, and ice melting rates.

Moreover, with Finland’s innovations that have led to the rise of ‘Astro-preneurship’ and the establishment of the New Space Economy, it is fast becoming a technological superpower. The traditional business models will be reshaped by independent space companies in the future. These companies will make access to space faster and cheaper than ever before. Furthermore, they will advance earth observations far beyond today’s satellite capabilities.

New space initiatives from Finland-backed start-ups include microsatellites that monitor the impact of climate change on the environment. Examples of such changes are floods and natural disasters. 

Some examples of the Finnish space tech innovation

One such start-up is, ICEYE. ICEYE has almost reached ’unicorn status’. At the same time, ICEYE is disrupting traditional earth imaging with its synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) microsatellites. The SAR technology is capable of delivering reliable imaging data at any time and in any weather, also during darkness and overcast conditions, making it a fitting solution for object detection, target tracking, activity monitoring, and more.

It’s been an incredible journey for us at ICEYE and we are extremely proud of the progress our team has made in such a short amount of time.

This year we’ve launched seven additional spacecraft and ICEYE is now the operator of the world’s largest SAR constellation in the world. We also signed several important partnerships and reached significant milestones such as our work with the European Space Agency, where we joined the Third Party Missions data portfolio and also became the first European New Space company to officially join Copernicus, the largest satellite Earth observation program in the world.

Rafal Modrzewski, ICEYE’s CEO

Another dynamic space tech innovation is Aurora Propulsion Technologies. This is a Finnish company with a goal of sustainable use of space. Also, partnering with the US company Rocket Lab, Aurora is preparing to launch a satellite to test ‘space junk’ removal technologies. Space junk refers to debris from objects such as satellites that are still in space but are no longer functional. 

Space debris and sutainable technology

According to the Experts, there are currently millions of pieces of debris orbiting the earth. Furthermore, the declining cost of space technology is likely to result in even more debris. The AuroraSat-1 CubeSat contains systems that will help bring satellites back to earth.

Currently, there is another name worth noting in the developing space satellite technology to support the sustainable use of natural resources. It is VTT, one of Europe’s leading research institutions. Hundreds of satellites collect daily global information from the earth’s surface and atmosphere. It is done to support the sustainable use of natural resources. VTT’s remote sensing technology includes hyperspectral imaging used by a Finnish company, Kuva Space. Kuva Space is building the world’s most effective service for global daily data on vegetation and soil in order to help manage natural resources and grow the economy more sustainably. The technology is the first infrared hyperspectral imager ever to be flown on a nanosatellite and the smallest ever to be flown in space (at less than 500g). 

Technology and nature, hand-in-hand

We cannot underestimate the space sector’s contribution to life on earth. In fact, the most accurate location data is provided by the satellites that orbit our planet. Along with providing the location data, these satellites also provide weather reports and predict storms. They monitor our climate, every day, providing valuable data on climate change and its effects. These effects are rising sea levels, wildfires, and atmospheric changes. Satellites connect millions of people and can connect countless more who lack access in isolated areas. They help us identify and prevent illegal fishing and deforestation. Furthermore, they help to ensure the security of states by monitoring and verifying actors’ behavior. 

Finland is already a leader in ground-breaking digitalization, connectivity, the real-time data economy, AI, smart cities, and smart mobility innovations. It is now supporting, funding, and developing innovative businesses to significantly accelerate the New Space Economy in the coming years. This is all thanks to its world-class research capabilities, technology expertise, and accommodating business climate,  

Finnish people have a connection with nature which is rooted in our culture. It is intrinsic for us to respect the planet and keep it clean. That’s why we are using our expertise and knowledge to create New Space Technology and innovations. These will put sustainability at the heart of everything we do and push the frontiers of our understanding of health and material science, robotics, and other technologies.

Markus Ranne, Head of New Space Economy, Business Finland.

Finland’s call to action

Finland’s commitment is to bring new space companies and non-space companies together. Its goal is to create business opportunities and change the way of working. Taking care of space is critical for our life on earth. Only through collaboration and global partnerships can the technologies and innovations that ensure this precious resource is secured, be developed for future generations. 

Following the Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen, Germany, on 16-18 November, Finland is calling upon start-ups operating in the New Space Economy to join its mission to develop technologies and innovations that will help businesses, societies, and countries reach their climate change goals and challenges. 

Finnish companies are now seeking new partners for cross-border business development and want to collaborate with U.S. companies to develop Europe’s digital and sustainable future. Finland offers a stable business environment for start-ups and international businesses: highly educated and tech-savvy talent, stable infrastructure for testing, and the best know-how in digital technologies. Moreover, it offers attractive work opportunities and high quality of life.

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