Press Release

First European conference on industrial and commercial utilisation of the International Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2001
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At the first joint press conference of the European Space Agency (ESA) and
the German space agency DLR, hosted by the national chamber of commerce of
German industry (BDI/DIHT) in Berlin yesterday, representatives of the two
space agencies informed an international audience of journalists about the
objectives of ISS Forum 2001 and the possibilities for industry and
business to utilise the potential of the International Space Station
(ISS).

Both space agencies have taken the necessary steps to ensure the ISS is
available on a long-term basis for utilisation by research institutes and
private-sector investors. The first industrial R&D activities onboard the
orbiting station started earlier this year.

From 5 to 7 June an international event called “ISS Forum 2001” will for
the first time bring together all of the international partners in the
project to present the complete spectrum of options for industrial
utilisation of the ISS, including requirements for access and financial
aspects. That event is to be held at the Estrel Convention Centre in
Berlin. Fifteen countries, including ten European nations, are involved in
constructing, operating and exploiting the ISS.

ISS Forum 2001: an industry marketplace

ISS Forum 2001 will inform potential users about management and
engineering aspects of the ISS programme; it is aimed at companies that
have an interest in exploiting the R&D environment offered by this
space-borne ‘technology incubator’. What is at stake is the competitive
edge to be gained by incorporating its unique possibilities in corporate
R&D programmes.

“The ISS has been in the headlines recently because of the trip by space
tourist Dennis Tito, but what is really important for us is the question
of who gets to explore its enormous R&D potential, and how,” explains
Klaus Berge, space projects director at the DLR’s Berlin office. “The
first few projects have already been started.”

“The aim of ISS Forum 2001 is to make the full catalogue of new and
innovative possibilities available to a larger user population,” adds Karl
Knott, the head of ESA’s microgravity and Space Station utilisation
department. “Our message is that the ISS is open for business, and that
investment now means important economic benefits in the medium term.”
ISS owners and operators as well as users will be fielding questions from
conference participants. Among the highlights of the event: a multimedia
presentation and a live link to the crew on board the ISS.

“A virtual lab tour”

The multimedia tour of the ISS and the live communication session with the
crew, in conjunction with a multitude of technical presentations, will
give participants a direct look at the actual utilisation environment in
the ISS. European scientists are playing an important role in experiments
currently being conducted to grow plasma crystals in its ‘weightless’
environment, leading to development of industrial applications of these
completely new technologies.

The first permanent crew of the ISS (“Expedition One”) will also be
present to report on their work on board the station.

For participant information and to find out about the “Business Stop-Over”
option, see the conference home page:
www.spaceflight.esa.int/ISSForum2001/.

For more information, please contact :

Clare Mattok

Tel. : +33(0)1.5369.7412

Fax: +33(0)1.5369.7690

For questions about the event, contact:

Vanadis Weber

Tel: +49.(0)2203.601-3068

Fax: + 49(0)2203.601.3249

SpaceRef staff editor.