ESA BIC shows potential of space at the Hannover Messe

People benefit daily from space technology. And not only through satellite navigation in cars or live sports events on television. The possibilities for applications are endless, says Martijn Seijger, director of space incubator ESA BIC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. At the Hannover Messe he will show the world how Dutch space applications are making our lives more efficient, safer and more enjoyable.

ESA BIC encourages budding entrepreneurs to take technologies originally developed for space or applications for satellite data, and develop them for terrestrial applications. This is done in cooperation with, amongst others, ESA and NSO.

Can you give an example of such an innovative space application?
‘One of the start-ups we have invited to present at the Hannover Messe is Social Charging. With his company, Gert Jan Geurts is developing an app that is going to change electric cars. Electric car owners all have the same questions: where can I charge my car? What is the precise location of the charging station, and is it already in use? And if so, when will it be available again? This kind of information is not currently available, but will be provided by the Social Charging app. A community of electric drivers will be created. This is interesting for the users themselves, but also for advertisers and infrastructure owners.’

Is this a typical example of companies that participate in ESA BIC?
‘The ESA BIC technology transfer programme has a broad scope. Space has many different applications in our society. Although many companies focus on applications that use Earth observation data and satellite navigation. So using satellite data to develop new or more efficient activities in agriculture, energy, infrastructure and mobility.’


How will you convince businesses to invest their time and money?
ESTEC, the largest ESA site, is situated in Noordwijk, the Netherlands‘By showing them what is already possible. At Hannover Messe, together with Verhaert Connect and Social Charging, we will talk about smart cities and smart agriculture, two areas in which satellite applications play an important role. Creative entrepreneurs already think in terms of new applications. At ESA BIC we highlight the opportunities in space by organising activities such as app challenges. These challenges last 36 hours and focus on smart mobility, smart agriculture or smart cities, where everyone can contribute to explore relevant applications of satellite data.’

Where does the Netherlands stand when it comes to space applications?
‘There’s a willingness to do business in the Netherlands. And the best kept secret of the space industry in the Netherlands is obviously ESTEC, ESA’s technical centre, in Noordwijk. The high-tech industry can benefit from the knowledge that is already present. It is not a coincidence that the ESA BIC is just a stone’s throw from ESTEC.’

When will you consider the Hannover Messe to be a success?
The Space Business Incubation Centre in Noordwijk.
The Space Business Incubation Centre in Noordwijk.
‘If I can convey to an international audience that the Netherlands is doing some very special things with space technology, especially the start-ups. For example, an application that helps to streamline municipal parking. And better analysis and training of professional athletes is even possible using space applications.’

Hannover Messe
The Dutch space industry will be present at the Hannover Messe from 13 to 17 April under the banner of NL Space. From rocket components, solar panels and sensors, to satellite applications and fundamental science; Dutch hardware and expertise will be a highlight at one of the world’s largest industry trade shows.

Martijn Seijger from ESA BIC will be present in the Holland High Tech House, Hall 2, on Monday 13 April until 14:00. Between 14:00 and 16:00 he will lead a workshop together with Verhaert and Social Charging in Hall 4, stand E 49.



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