Space Institutions and Initiatives in Austria
The Aeronautics and Space Agency (ALR) of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) is the docking station to the international space world for Austrian science and industry.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Agency implements the national space policy and represents Austria on an international level, in particular in the bodies of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Agency's core objectives lie in the international positioning and networking of Austrian industry, economy and science, and in securing Austria's competitiveness at the international level. It is a central contact point for coordination activities in the area of space and represents Austria in European Union bodies, ESA and EUMETSAT.
Importantly, the Aeronautics and Space Agency manages the participation in bilateral and international aerospace programmes and aims at developing and strengthening the Austrian aeronautics and space cluster. Education and outreach are also important tasks, which are fulfilled through special initiatives that aim at fostering children's interest in technical and scientific topics via space technology and research.
The Space Research Institute (IWF) in Graz/Styria has focused on the physics of (exo-)planets and space plasmas for more than 40 years. With about 100 staff members from 20 nations it is one of the largest institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). IWF develops and builds space-qualified instruments and analyses and interprets the data returned by them.
The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) is a citizen science organization for space professionals and people with a passion for space in collaboration with both national and international research institutions, industry and politics.
Austrospace, the association of Austrian space industries and research institutions, is a non-profit organisation focusing on:
- Comprehensive information about Austrian space activities
- Representation of common interests of Austrian suppliers and users of space technologies vis-à-vis Austrian authorities and international organisations
The members of Austrospace account for the predominant part of Austrian contributions to space programmes and cover a broad spectrum of space technologies and applications in the areas of telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, meteorology, space transportation and space science.
During the last 15 years, the Austrian space industry has successfully expanded the customer network from Europe to the global space market.
Scientific co-operations have been established with all major space agencies worldwide.
ESA has established a network of technology brokers aiming at assessing the market needs in areas where there is a potential for exploitation of space technologies. Brimatech Services is the ESA technology broker for Austria. Brimatech conducts market analysis and mediates technology transfers between space sector and non-space industry. The goal is to make Austrian technologies and intellectual property accessible for European non-space industry and start-ups.
- The ESA Business Incubation Centre in Austria (ESA BIC Austria) is the place for entrepreneurs from research centres, universities, space and non-space business seeking to realise their innovative ideas and transfer technologies from space (e.g. navigation, telecommunications, satellite data) to other areas of the economy (e.g. logistics, health, tourism, environment, energy). Launched in 2016 the ESA BIC Austria is managed and coordinated by Science Park Graz in close partnership with accent Wiener Neustadt.
- The ESA Ambassador Platform in Austria (ESA AP Austria) fosters the engagement between both space and non-space players from industry and academia into national and international partnerships with the objective of creating new and sustainable businesses. In addition, it serves as a starting point to perform business and technical feasibility checks, undertake demonstrators and pilots, and to obtain both technical expertise and funding from ESA and industry partners.
The European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) project is ESA's main way of supporting the education of sciences in primary and secondary schools. The Austrian office is hosted by Ars Electronica in Linz. ESERO Austria uses the space context to awaken and increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It provides training sessions for teachers and innovative teaching materials and tools and thus inspires young people to pursue science-related studies and careers, particularly in the space domain.
The European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) aims to provide decision-makers with an independent view on mid- to long-term issues relevant to the use of space with the aim of supporting space as a strategic policy area for Europe. To this effect, it provides recommendations, policy options and forward vision as to how Europe's engagement in space can bring maximum benefit to society. ESPI's work also reflects how space can sensibly contribute to Europe's unique role in global politics as a strong actor.
The National Point of Contact for Space Law Austria (NPOC Austria), located at the law faculty of the University of Vienna, is part of the European Centre for Space Law. NPOC Austria aims at the promotion and development of space law in Austria. It pursues an interdisciplinary approach reflecting not only the legal but also the technical and political perspectives. NPOC's work programme focuses on enhancing space law in research, teaching of space law and increasing public awareness through events and conferences as well as publishing an annual space law newsletter.
The Space Generation Advisory Council in Support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications (SGAC) is a global non-governmental, non-profit organisation and network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals ages 18-35 to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the SGAC network of members, volunteers and alumni has grown to more than 13000 members representing more than 150 countries.
Held annually since 1975, the Alpbach Summer School is a talent incubator for European space issues. Each year about 60 selected participants from among the member and cooperating states of the European Space Agency work out in-depth studies on different topics of space research. Within ten days graduates, post-graduate students, young scientists and engineers develop concepts for future, innovative satellite missions.
The TU Wien Space Team is a student led group with emphasis on aerospace engineering at the Vienna University of Technology. Their focus lies on the design of experimental rockets, rocket engines and mini satellites. Their projects are meant for civil use only.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the United Nations office responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. UNOOSA serves as the secretariat for the General Assembly's only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space: the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). UNOOSA was relocated to Vienna, Austria in 1993.