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A unique opportunity to build cross-sector relationships, learn, and explore how research in the unique environment of space is creating opportunities to meet key challenges here on Earth, and how you could get involved.

A cross-section of expert speakers will give perspectives – including first-hand case studies – showing how results from research in space can shape our daily lives through new possibilities in engineering, materials, life sciences and the environment.

Who attended had a chance to see live demonstrations, hear live examples and share your perspective, making new international connections across sectors in one of the world’s most renowned science venues.



Who was there?

We did welcome leaders from both within and outside the space community – coming together to discuss the broader implications of space-based research.

This was an event for those working at the forefront of science and technology on Earth and who want to learn how the laboratory of space could help them address their challenges – practically and affordably.

Alongside colleagues from international space agencies and space-focused businesses, the event appealed to scientists, politicians, academics, journalists, public servants and representatives from the private sector – indeed, any organisation with an interest in science, engineering or public policy.

Hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, the event appealed to a truly global audience, and this is reflected the choice of London: a city with excellent air links.



  • Gained unparalleled insights into live cases, where space research is creating new opportunities for business models on Earth in smart materials, heat management technology, food production and meeting the needs of an ageing society.
  • Took an active role in a conversation about how space and non-space sectors should work together to maximise the potential of research in space to address global challenges and create new ways of doing business.
  • Network with global contacts, inside and outside the space community.


Photo gallery

Programme highlights

  • A beacon of human achievement: the International Space Station is the centrepiece of human space exploration. A global platform for research and development with scientists from over 90 nations running experiments to drive innovation and deliver benefits to humanity.
  • Space research helps to solve global challenges: discoveries made in space can help solve some of mankind’s biggest challenges in areas such as health and well-being, affordable clean energy, feeding the planet, clean water, and sanitation.
  • Inspiration and innovation: how society can be engaged and benefit from the activities related to human spaceflight and exploration.
  • The International Space Station, a driver for economic growth: ”New Space”, new trends, new opportunities for private-sector services and research.
  • Humans in space – opportunities and challenges: the value and role of astronauts in space and the challenges of living in space.
  • Beyond ISS – the way forward, the future of Earth orbit and beyond: moving to a market-driven Earth-orbit economy, expanding human presence beyond Earth orbit, sending European technology and science to the Moon and Mars.


Day 1 (Wed, 14 Sep)

09:00 Registration
Welcome and opening remarks   (–)

Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group
David Willetts, Chair of the British Science Association – Trustee, Science Museum Group
ISS: a beacon of human achievement (–)

The International Space Station (ISS) is the most complex undertaking of our time. It is the centerpiece of modern space exploration, and serves as a constant reminder of the remarkable things the human race can achieve when we all work together. Join us as we remember and celebrate the amazing steps forward that the ISS has helped us make, both in space, and on earth – from peaceful collaboration between nations, to new technologies that have changed our lives forever.

  • ISS in a changing environment, driving #SPACE 4.0i
    Johann-Dietrich Woerner, Director General, ESA
  • ISS partnership today and opportunities for the future
    Sam Scimeni, Director for International Space Station, NASA
  • ISS, delivering benefits for humanity
    Julie Robinson, Program Scientist for the International Space Station, NASA
  • ISS, delivering benefits for humanity
    Takashi Hamazaki, Director General of Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, JAXA
  • ISS and beyond – Opportunities for engagement
    David Parker, Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, ESA
12:00 Lunch
How space research helps to solve global challenges (1/2)  (–)

ISS enables academics, researchers, and private sector scientists to conduct experiments that simply wouldn’t be possible on earth. We’ll reveal recent breakthroughs in areas like engineering, clean and sustainable energy, human health and wellbeing, and food production – and show how discoveries made in space can help to solve some of mankind’s biggest challenges.

The International Space Station exists to drive humanity forwards—both in our exploration of the wider universe, and in the quality of our life here on earth. It’s open for business, so join us to discover how the next chapter in the story could be written by you.

Moderator: Roderik van Grieken, Director, The Netherlands Debate Institute
Space for solutions to global challenges in the fields of energy, health and food
Maria van der Hoeven, Senior Associate Fellow, Clingendael International Energy Programme, Former Minister of Economics, and Minister of Science and Education, the Netherlands
Affordable and Clean Energy – Panel
  • Energy solutions – Less emission of CO2
    Gerd-Ulrich Grün, Head of Research Department Rolling Ingots, Research & Development, HYDRO
  • Energy Transfer
    Oliver de Laet, CEO, Calyos-tm
  • Sharing technologies to deliver better energy
    Sylvie Duflot, Prospective and R&D Strategy Manager, TOTAL
  • Robotics in oil: collaboration in extreme environment
    Walt Aldred, Former Research Director and Scientific Advisor, Schlumberger
  • Benefits from Space-based technologies
    Chris Bee, Head of Business Development, STFC, ESA Technology Transfer Broker for UK
Good Health and Wellbeing – Panel
  • Countermeasures, Muscle diagnostics
    Aleko Peipsi, CEO, Myoton Muscle Diagnostics
  • Telemedicine
    Beth Healey, Research MD for Spaceflight Analogue Concordia, ESA
  • The stake of World Health Organization in space exploration
    Ramesh Krisnhamurthy, Senior Advisor, Department of Information, World Health Organization
  • Healthcare’s risks from Space Exploration to Earth
    Mathieu Cynober, Partner and Life Sciences Activities Director, Tech2Market (ESA Technology Transfer Broker for France)
15:15 Networking break
How space research helps to solve global challenges (2/2)  (–)

Creating and shaping a mission-oriented space economy
Mariana Mazzucato, SPRU, University of Sussex
Feeding the planet – Panel
  • Grey water solutions
    Pierre Magnes, Development Manager, Firmus France
  • Circular space technology / Space technology for terrestrial applications
    Rob Suters, Managing Director, IPStar BV
  • Growing plants in space
    Roy O’Mahony , Chief Technology Officer, CleanGrow Ltd
    Øyvind Mejdell Jakobsen, Senior researcher, CIRiS
  • Analogue scarcity between space and non-space contexts
    Frank Zimmermann, Managing Director, cesah (ESA Technology Transfer Broker for Germany)
Success stories awards
Maria van der Hoeven, Former Minister of Economics, and Minister of Science and Education, The Netherland
Jean-Claude Worms, CEO, European Science Foundation
ISS historic achievement award
David Parker, Director od Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, ESA
17:15 Short break
ISS: from inspiration to innovation (*)  (–)

Space exploration inspires us in so many ways. From the indescribable view of our lonely blue planet from space, to the groundbreaking technology that’s made that new perspective possible – it has the power to fundamentally change the way we think about our lives, our future, and the challenges we face every day.

It is no surprise then that space has had such a pervasive impact on our culture, our ambitions, and the way we live. From farming to fashion, join us to see how advances made for spaceflight have influenced almost every aspect of modern life on earth.

David Honess, Education Resource Engineer, Raspberry Pi Foundation
Panel discussion on the cultural significance of space exploration
Moderator: Helen Keen, Science Comedian
  • Fashion and product design. Couture in orbit and first spin-offs
    Annalisa Dominoni, Designer and Professor, Politecnico di Milano
    Benedetto Quaquaro, Designer and Professor, Politecnico di Milano
  • Urban Farming
    Angelo Vermeulen, Space Systems Researcher, Biologist, Artist and Community Architect, Delft University of Technology
  • Food
    Thorsten Schmidt, Chef, Malling & Schmidt
  • Film and entertainment
    Duncan Copp, Film Producer, Director and Writer
Interview – Making space the new frontier for peace
Namira Salim, Space Tourist and Founder and Chairperson, Space Trust

(*) Participants can choose to join this session or the “Sharing Success Stories” session.

18:30 Reception
19:30 Social dinner


Day 2 (Thu, 15 Sep)

08:45 Opening remarks
Space Exploration: a driver for economic growth (1/2)  (–)

For large businesses and industries looking for new ways to grow, the International Space Station (ISS) has opened up opportunities that were previously unimaginable. By opening its doors to private sector research and initiatives, and by setting the bar for future commercial Low Earth Orbit (LEO) projects, ISS has shown that space can, and will, provide a vital source of inspiration and economic growth in the coming years.

  • New space – trends and opportunities in the domain of space exploration
    Rainer Horn, Managing Partner, SpaceTec Partners
  • Developing the LEO space economy
    Michael Suffredini, President of the Commercial Space Division, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies
  • NASA policies promoting use of ISS for economic growth
    Marybeth Edeen, International Space Station National Lab Manager, NASA
  • Panel on emerging commercial services
    Moderator: Bernhard Hufenbach, Head of Strategic Planning and Outreach Office, ESA
    Fritz Merkle, Member of the Management Board, OHB
    Mike Read, Manager, Commercial Space Utilization, NASA
    John Roth, Strategy & Business Development, Sierra Nevada Corporation
    Richard Aked, Co-founder, Space Applications Services
    Bart Reijnen, Head of site Bremen, Space systems-SVP On-orbit Services and Exploration, Airbus
    Walter Cugno, Director Exploration and Science Domain, Thales Alenia Space
10:30 Networking break
Space Exploration: a driver for economic growth (2/2)   (–)

  • Emerging actors of the new Space endeavours – Galaxy Tank
    Antoine Joly-Battaglini, Co-founder and CEO, Mymicrogravity
    Karsten Becker, CTO, Part-Time Scientists
    Simon Acland, Angel Investor and non-Executive Director, Satellite Finance Network
    Tim Just, Head of Space, Innovate UK
  • Socio-economic impacts of ISS
    Luigi Scatteia, Senior Manager in the Practice, PwC Paris Space
    Ciro Formisano, Co-Founder and CEO, Airgloss
  • Prize scheme to boost space awareness
    Luca Del Monte, Office for Relations with Industry, ESA
Humans in space: opportunities and challenges (1/2)  (–)

The International Space Station is humanity’s first major foothold outside of earth. It has changed our perspective of our world forever, and has shown that our future – while unclear – is not necessarily bound to our planet.

Sustaining human life in space is no simple task, but the steps we’re taking today will be remembered for generations to come. As we conduct deeper research into how that might be possible for longer periods of time, we’re learning more and more about our bodies, and what we need to survive and grow as a people.

These are the early days of the greatest adventure of modern times. Join us as we share the latest insight and opinions on the most important topic imaginable – the future of the human race.

  • Philosophical aspects of exploration and entrepreneurship
    Pete Worden, Executive Director, Breakthrough Initiatives
  • Challenges of human spaceflight
    Luca Parmitano, Astronaut, ESA
    Herve Stevenin, Leader Neutral Buoyancy Facility Operations and the EVA Training Unit, ESA
  • Oïkosmos: the growing convergence of space and terrestial research agendas
    Suren Erkman, Head of Industrial Ecology Group, University of Lausanne (UNIL)
13:00 Lunch
Humans in space: opportunities and challenges (2/2)  (–)

  • The role of Astronauts: from today to the future scenario
    Moderator: Reinhold Ewald, Former Astronaut, ESA
    Thomas Reiter, Coordinator for the International Space Station programme and advisor, ESA
    Luca Parmitano, Astronaut, ESA
    Don Pettit, Astronaut, NASA
14:45 Short break
14:55 Tim Peake mission highlights and outlook
Beyond ISS – the way forward, the future of LEO and beyond   (–)

Interview of agency representatives
Interviewer: Chiara Manfletti, Programme Advisor to the Director General, ESA
David Parker, Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, ESA
Kirk Shireman, Manager, ISS programme, NASA
Closing panel on relevance of space exploration to societal development
Moderator: Nick Harkaway
  • Representatives from relevant international organisation
    Pedro Matos, Regional Biometrics Project Manager, World Food Programme
    Tony Donne, Programme Manager, Eurofusion
  • Broker from Space to Non-space
    Sam Waes, Innovation Consultant, Verhaert, ESA Technology Transfer Network Manager
  • Non-space industry representatives
    Abhay Bhagwat, Senior Director for Sustainable Innovation, Unilever
    Alex Melnitchouck, Digital Farming Technology Lead, Global, Bayer
  • Political representatives
    Valerian Vreme, MeP of Romania, Chairperson of European Interparliamentary Space Conference
16:25 Closing remarks
16:40 Open opportunity for interviews
Key Areas

Smart materials & technology

As a result of conducting research in space, new materials are developed that offer advantageous properties such as lightweight or heat-resistance that are proving significant to the automotive and aerospace sector. There have also been advances in heat transfer pipes which will be of interest to any sector where knowledge on thermal management is a key issue.


Agriculture, biology & food

Sustaining life in orbit means cultivating food in challenging conditions, with absolute efficiency. This provides opportunities to improve the way in which food is grown, monitored and conserved on earth, as well as offering solutions as to how we recycle, filter and clean our waste. Research into forming and sustaining foam and emulsions could also be applied to many industries including food production and industrial petrochemicals.


Medicine, life sciences & health

The microgravity environment of space presents an unparalleled chance, in a way that would not be possible in a lab on Earth, to accelerate research into muscle atrophy, bone loss and neurological deconditioning – key health issues as populations age. We also discussed next steps in satellite technology, and how it can support health monitoring, telemedicine and crisis response.

Johann-Dietrich Woerner
Director General
David Parker
Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration
Timothy Peake
Simon Acland
Angel Investor and Non-executive Director
Satellite Finance Network
Richard Aked
Space Applications Services
Walt Aldred
Former research director and scientific advisor
Antoine Joly-Battaglini
Co-founder and CEO
Karsten Becker
Chief Technology Officer
Part-time Scientists
Chris Bee
Head of Business Development
Abhay A Bhagwat
Senior Director for Sustainable Innovation
Ian Blatchford
Director and Chief Executive
Science Musuen Group
Duncan Copp
Film producer, director and writer
Walter Cugno
Director Exploration and Science Domain
Thales Alenia Space
Mathieu Cynober
Partner and Life Sciences Activities Director
Olivier de Laet
Luca Del Monte
Office for Relations with Industry, Procurement and Legal Directorate
Annalisa Dominoni
Designer and Professor
Politecnico di Milano
Sylvie Duflot
Prospective and R&D Strategy Manager
Tony Donne
Programme Manager
Marybeth Edeen
Manager, ISS Reserach Integration Office
Suren Erkman
Head, Industrial Ecology Group
University of Lausanne – UNIL
Reinhold Ewald
Former Asronaut
Ciro Formisano
Co-Founder and CEO
Gerd-Ulrich Grün
Hydro Aluminium Deutschland
Takashi Hamazaki
Director General of Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
Nick Harkaway
Beth Healey
Research MD for Spaceflight Analogue Concordia
David Honess
Education Resource Engineer
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Reiner Horn
Managing Partner
SpaceTec Partners
Bernhard Hufenbach
Strategic Planning and Outreach Office, Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration
Tim Just
Head of Space
Innovate UK
Helen Keen
Science Comedian
Ramesh Krishnamurthy
Senior Advisor, Department of Information
World Health Organization
Pierre Magnes
Development Manager
Firmus France
Chiara Manfletti
Programme Advisor to the Director General
Pedro Matos
Regional Biometrics Project Manager
World Food Programme
Mariana Mazzucato
Professor in the Economics of Innovation
University of Sussex (SPRU)
Alex Melnitchouck
Digital Farming Technology Lead
Global, Bayer
Fritz Merkle
Member of the Management Board
Roy O’Mahony
CleanGrow Ltd
Luca Parmitano
Aleko Peipsi
Chief Executive Officer
Myoton Muscle Diagnostics
Don Pettit
Benedetto Quaquaro
Designer and Professor
Politecnico di Milano
Mike Read
Manager, Commercial Space Utilization
Bart Reijnen
Senior Vice President
Thomas Reiter
Coordinator for the International Space Station programme and Advisor to ESA Directors
Julie Robinson
Program Scientist for the International Space Station
John Roth
Strategy & Business Development
Sierra Nevada Corporation
Christine Rozand
Director of Research and Development
Namira Salim
Space Tourist and Founder and Chairperson
Space Trust
Luigi Scatteia
Senior Manager in the Practice
PwC Paris Space
Thorsten Schmidt
Malling & Schmidt
Sam Scimemi
Director for International Space Station
Kirk Shireman
Manager, ISS programme
Herve Stevenin
Leader Neutral Buoyancy Facility Operations and the EVA Training Unit
Michael Suffredini
President of the Commercial Space Division
Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT)
Rob Suters
Managing Director
IPStar B.V.
Maria van der Hoeven
Former Minister of Science and Education
The Netherlands Debate Institute
Roderik van Grieken
Netherlands and former Director General of the International Energy Agency
Angelo Vermeulen
Space system researcher, biologist, artist and community architect
Delft University of Technology
Valerian Vreme
Romanian Parliamentarian and Chair
Sam Waes
Innovation Consultant
David Willetts
Chair of the British Science Association – Trustee
Science Museum Group
Simon “Pete” Worden
Breakthrough Prize Foundation
Frank Zimmermann
Managing Director


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Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration

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