Lift off! - Opening of the new TMW space exhibition
Telephone, navigation, television, logistics, environmental management, weather and climate observation: space travel has become an integral part of our everyday lives. The permanent exhibition "Mobility" at the Technisches Museum Wien will therefore be increasingly dedicated to the topic of space travel from 6 April 2022.
Together with the first Austrian in space Franz Viehböck, renowned representatives of the space scene and innovative organisations from the field of space research and technology, and in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, Austria in Space and Austrian Angel Investor Association, the new exhibition area was ceremonially opened in the course of a discussion event on 5 April 2022. "Many people are not aware of how actively and successfully Austrian players are involved in space research and technology. With the exhibition expansion, we want to offer innovative projects a platform and show how far-reaching the impact of this future topic is," says Director General Peter Aufreiter, explaining the objective of the new exhibition area.
Unique Austrian space history
The new area at the Technisches Museum Wien is primarily dedicated to Austria's contribution to space research and technology. The AustroMIR mission in 1991, in which the scientific cosmonaut Franz Viehböck was the first and only Austrian to carry out 17 experiments in space for a week, acted almost like an initial spark. The new area shows not only original objects from the mission, such as Franz Viehböck's spacesuit, but also the medical and technical experiments that provided important and lasting impulses: for example, the measurement of radiation exposure for space travellers on the ISS is still carried out today with dosimeters developed for AustroMIR. The AustroMIR experiments MIGMAS-A and LOGION provided valuable technical know-how on the behaviour of ion beams in weightlessness, which was used in the development of ion engines "Made in Austria". In addition, a domestic supplier industry for satellite and rocket construction emerged, which also benefits from orders from the European Space Agency ESA. Since the 2000s, satellites and rocket launches have become increasingly affordable. In the current phase of space travel, also called "New Space", more and more states, private companies and even universities and schools are building their own satellites and conducting space research.
Austria in "New Space
Austrian companies, start-ups and research institutions are also getting involved in the "New Space". This was impressively demonstrated by the three start-up pitches of the still young companies Hydrosolid, Beelte For Tech and Gate. All three use space in different ways: the Hydrosolid team uses space technology to develop their product, Beetle For Tech uses the possibilities of downstream, i.e. satellite data for their services, while Gate develops a drive for the upstream sector. After their pitches, the three companies answered questions from the investors present.
But that was not all. From satellite navigation receivers to insulation foils, ion engines, propellant tanks and special space computer chips: Every European rocket and many satellites worldwide contain space technology from Austria. The new exhibition area at the Technisches Museum Wien shows innovative projects and products from established Austrian players that have been active since the 1980s, as well as from innovative start-ups and spin-offs from technical colleges and universities. "We are very pleased that the Technical Museum Vienna is now acting as a kind of 'showcase' for Austrian space activities. In this way, a broad public will not only experience the inspiring domestic innovative power, but also the socio-political importance of space research and satellite-based data for climate and the environment, mobility as well as security," adds Margit Mischkulnig, Head of Department for Space Affairs at the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.