Building a test bed for space technology

In 2021, 400 billion dollars were invested in the space sector globally. That number is expected to rise to over $1 trillion by 2040. New technology combined with the increasing applications of satellite data means that the demand for access to testbeds for new designs and products is growing.

Within the project RIT Rymd för Innovation och Tillväxt (Space for innovation and growth) project, Luleå University of Technology and the Swedish Institute for Space Technology are preparing to be able to offer their labs and operations to international clients.

– By tying our respective resources closer to each other with a joint offer, we strengthen our competitiveness and attractiveness as a European space hub for the future, says Olle Persson, operations manager at Luleå University of Technology, who is leading the project.

Test-as-a-service for technology providers in the space sector

An increasing number of smaller, private companies supply products and services such as reusable satellites and components for rocket engines. The space sector is undergoing a transformation where government institutes and companies with labs and expertise in test operations can become suppliers of test services to these smaller companies. At the Kiruna Space Campus, there is research infrastructure and competence to carry out advanced tests on, for example, temperature, pressure, radiation and vibration from very early stages in the development process.

Attracting more actors to northern Sweden

Already now, this international space company is attracting to establish itself in Kiruna, and the ambition is that there will be more establishments. Luleå University of Technology and the Swedish Institute for Space Physics, together with LTU Business and Arctic Business Incubator, concludes in a market analysis that there is clear potential for business growth.

– The main target group is of course space companies, but at the same time we see several alternative areas of use for our labs, for example for the automotive industry, the mining technology suppliers. We see from other parts of the world that a test bed also creates exciting and inspiring projects for researchers and students as well as a serving as a meeting place for business and research to connect, Olle Persson concludes.

Read more about the testbed space work package here.