Hero’s Journey – European Space Agency Business Incubation Tour (ESA BIC)


What do you value? And what would you pay to make it happen?

The European Space Agency Business Incubation Tour – took an interesting extension and it was what I had wanted to call for – A Hero’s Tour.

Some of you know that a Hero’s Journey, a term I learnt at Singularity University, is when an ordinary individual goes on an extraordinary journey. They go on a journey to discover themselves and along the way they may find a pot of gold, they may find the Master they were seeking for all this time, or they may discover their magic along the way – whatever outcome the individual desired, it somehow changes their whole life. That is the purpose of the ESA BIC Tour. To be more precise, this ESA BIC tour is like swimming into the depths of an ocean, the deepest corners like going to the Mariana Trench where no more than 2 individuals have been – less than going to space!!

And discover, explore and find new possibilities. In the context of NewSpace and startups it is about looking at investment opportunities for the investor and investee, meeting newspace startups, key stakeholders and the crowd.


Tell me something? What did you discover on this journey.

Well, I could say we went to visit Toulouse, and went to Aerospace Valley. We met and visited the ESA BIC in Toulouse and even went on an Airbus Tour. That is amazing, though not extraordinary.

How about going to attend the Space Forum in Luxembourg and meeting the key stakeholders discussing the latest in space, blockchain in space, financing. It’s the same. The same, with more but the same.

How about the new Luxembourg Space Agency?

How about the new Luxembourg space fund?


Yes, it is exciting, and this could not be a better time to enter NewSpace though it is not the pot of gold in the Hero’s Journey.

How about attending DES2019? Speaking about living on the Moon? Inspiring fellow tech entrepreneurs? That was closer. Some came to me about the courses they are developing about space, others spoke of the underground space city they were thinking of developing. Closer.

How about Stockholm? What did you find there?

The Hero’s Journey was coming to an end and I discovered more truths than I could have imagined before I set out. It was not about being a hero, and neither was it about slaying the dragon to prove a point or showing how strong one is. Rather it is about introspection.

It is the quiet moment, before you have a serious meeting with an investor/entrepreneur. A moment with one self, to decide what to do.

It is more like being Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, believing that there is a path when you cannot see with your eyes, yet somehow there is.

It’s about using your 6th senses and grasping the 4th- 6th Dimensions you never explored.

The Hero’s journey I discovered is not walking the same path that others have had, but rather creating your own. There is no right or wrong, better or worst.

Rather it is understanding that when there is no path, what a wonderful opportunity it is to carve and create our own.

When we see no boundaries, the limitless of the sky and actual possibilities – creativity gets started and something sparks a fire – a passion so small you can barely notice. Yet this is the bearing of a fruit, a seed of idea.

I finally watched the film Contact, and felt the same way as the protagonist in the film. If only others could see how beautiful this Universe is. If only this could be shared, understood and accepted. The ESA BIC tour is something like that.


Those that started may knew nothing about space, but after the 3 weeks, I hope like in the Matrix or a Jedi in training got something incredible out of it. It may well be intangible. Like a dragon that discovers that they had wings all along. Yet during the journey, we had been forced to fly high, and low to explore the canvas, the mountains and landscape that was before us.

It’s like training a muscle you never realised you had. Using an ear, eye or sense of smell in ways never imagined. For those that were unable to join, the question is there, what did I miss?


Sometimes, we only see certain things once in our life time. For others who are more fortunate, we are able to experience wonderful things many times. Think of the red blood moon or witnessing the dark blue moons. These are nothing short of miracles for the time and place that we are in.

Law of attraction states that we attract what we are vibrating. This ESA BIC Tour – A Hero’s Journey exceeded my own expectations as I never thought I could see so much, experience so much and understand so much.

Do you think Neal in the Matrix, when he downloads all this information, suddenly says, ‘Wait a moment, I think this is too much?’ No, rather the opposite is true. He realises that he has far more greater capacity than what people and he himself thought he had. So instead, like neuroplasticity, his brain cells expand, his memory likewise and like a sponge absorbs all this new information, skill and understanding.


This ESA BIC Tour would not be possible without the support and assistance from a number of key players. With much heartfelt thanks I would like to thank Frank Salzberger, Kaznunao Sato, Colleagues from ESA BIC in Darmstadt, Harwell, Toulouse, stakeholders from Bochum, Luxembourg, Spain and Stockholm.

We don’t know what kind of impact doing something like this has. Though what I am sure, is it is what we make of it. We are entering a terribly exciting period in NewSpace and it is open for everyone who has a dream, goal or ambition to do it.

May you have a safe and prosperous journey, as you embark on YOUR Hero’s Journey.


Written by Helen Tung

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International Aeronautical Federation Spring Meeting

Landing in Paris, I was surprised to see cherry blossoms lining along the streets. Charles de Gaulle was busy as usual, if not even busier.

It started off with parallel meetings at the International Academy of Astronautics catching up on meetings and the latest developments over the year. Running parallel across the river was the Moon Village Association on their latest development and news.

As committee members from Space resource to space exploration, from human space flight to entrepreneurship, one could sense the International Aeronautical Federation and strong sense of community. The spring meeting was held at NewCap located a stone throw’s away from Eiffel Tower. It was a wonderful feeling, knowing full well the meeting was along the river.

Delegates entered through the door, greeted by IAF staff and most importantly bidding countries for the next IAC after UAE 2020. The Global Network Forum at the IAF was one of the highlights of the Spring Meeting. The focus was on Geography, Generation and Gender. Launched by the IAF President, Dr. Jean-Yves Le Gall the goal includes:

Geographical diversity and global reach have been traditional features of the IAF since its creation. Attracting the young generation has been in the focus of the IAF during the recent years with manifold newly created activities and programmes tuned to this target community. This has resulted in a significant increase of the number of young people engaged and participating in IAF activities. Gender diversity is still an area where strong progress needs to be achieved. Dedicated promotion of opportunities for female space actors within the Federation and the space sector in general, presenting successful role models and encouraging the young generation of the female space community to aim for leadership positions shall help to reach a balanced and inclusive representation within the governance of the IAF, its Technical and Administrative Committees, as well as the IAC speakers’ and authors’ community.


Implementing the “3G” Diversity Focus as part of the IAF Global Innovation Agenda 2016 – 2019 calls for the creation of an IAF Platform which will allow the Federation to take a leading role in the effort to promote and advance diversity and equality principles amongst a global space community, become an exemplary organisation in terms of geographical, generational, gender and any other diversity aspects, and live up to its motto Connecting @ll Space People.

IAF “3G” IDEA provides a framework for an intensive and open exchange on diversity and equality aspects within the IAF and amongst IAF member organisations as well as potential IAF members and other organisations promoting diversity. On the basis of IAF “3G” IDEA, events of different nature shall be organized during the annual International Astronautical Congress, IAF Global Conferences, IAF Spring Meetings and other occasions, focusing on “3G” diversity topics. Such events can be, but are not limited to:

  • Keynotes or lectures
  • Moderated panel discussions
  • Networking events
  • Mentoring sessions
  • Social events
  • “Diversity” Luncheons or Dinners
  • Competitions and awards ceremonies

Focus of these events shall be to contribute to:

Focus of these events shall be to contribute to:

  • Connecting and engaging space communities in remote areas to IAF activities;
  • Further increasing the involvement of and the offer to the young generation within the Federation and its activities;
    • Reviving the IAF mentoring programme;
  • Attracting specifically the female space community to become active and take over leadership within IAF bodies;
  • Providing an international platform to connect gender diversity organisations from different countries, such as WIA US, WIA Europe, WIA Canada, WIA Africa, WIA Japan, etc.
  • Establishing IAF focus on all diversity aspects and promoting diversity as a basic principle to the entire global space community.

One certainly felt the presence of GNF events and increasing importance also at the Annual IAC conferences. As the IAC2019 would be in DC, there is much anticipation and excitement as it is the 50 years since the Apollo landing.

Once again as a space conference of the greatest breath and depth, the organisers announced that it had the largest number of submitted abstracts well into the 4000s and over 80 plenaries were proposed for 6 slots.

For the upcoming days, particularly on the last day it would be a great challenge for Chairs of committees to select papers for DC. Due to the considerably high numbers of submissions for oral submissions, it has indirectly also resulted in larger number of interactive submissions. What that has caused is almost like a second round of selections, particularly in relation to interactive sessions. It’s important the those whom submit abstracts understand this, because on the contrary to belief, submitting for an interactive session could actually be slightly harder to get accepting, depending on the kind of committee and what the potential category the author submitted their abstract in.

Being part of the process as VP for the Enterprise Risk Management Committee and as Rapporteur for the Space Resources Technologies, Systems, Missions and Policies Committee one can see how the process is not straight forward, particularly as Chairs assess which papers get accepted, put forward for interactive sessions or rejected.

There is an art to this kind of selection. As committee members we sit, discuss and engage in the topics of what is written in the abstract, what is mentioned, what is left out, what needs more work. It is in fact, rather academic, with a healthy dose of practicality as well.

One of the greatest joys in being part of this process is to engage with colleagues from different walks of life, countries and backgrounds in discussing abstracts of mutual interest. For instance, when we discuss risk management, we ask our selves, what is it? What does it mean? How do they access it? What process do they talk to avoid it? Are there contradictions? How can risk managers make better decisions?

The few days flew by, with a few individuals recognised for their achievements, with visions from leaders from various space agencies and also looking forward to UAE2020.

DC is going be great – if we were to access solely based on the abstracts submitted. Even if it’s not that, the fact that the IAC is going to be held in Washington DC is a highlight unto itself. Somehow it seems so appropriate to celebrate 50 years of space in the US. Indirectly we are celebrating the work of NASA and all space agencies or countries whom have contributed to space. Directly, it is about celebration of space and throughout the year we can look forward to events, seminars and upcoming publications on celebrating space.

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Space safety/Space Traffic Management programs




According to Aerospace corporation, “Space traffic management is the classification of services designed to help satellite operators avoid physical or operational conflicts. Commercial, civil, academic, and international entities all contribute to the development of procedures to ensure universal spaceflight safety by creating actionable predictions, early warnings, and sound avoidance maneuvers.”

The implementation and enforcement of space traffic management (STM) policies and regulations will be extremely complex and expensive for governments of spacefaring nations and all users of the near-Earth space domain. Compared to air traffic management, the challenges of managing low-orbital traffic will be orders of magnitude more sophisticated.





The underlying reasons include:

  • High orbital speeds of near-Earth satellites, 25 times greater than jet aircraft
  • Lack of the ability of satellite to responsively execute avoidance maneuvers
  • Difficulty of assessing real-time and precise collision probabilities
  • Presence of millions of uncontrolled and dangerous resident space objects (RSOs) that share the most-congested region of space as operating satellites
  • Complexity of reaching an agreement with all spacefaring nations regarding space traffic issues
  • Development of regulations that are fair and balanced without excessively restricting space traffic and related operations
  • Creation of centralized space traffic controller and enforcement systems
  • Achieving satellite operator compliance related to additional onboard traffic management hardware, operational restrictions and licensing processes





Due to the envisaged growth of smallsat constellations and space craft, including human space flight, some authorities suggest there needs to be great air traffic control regulations, even ‘zones of exception’ for satellite operators.

According to Marshall Kaplan, “It is important to note that most satellites operating in the geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) belt, at about 36,000 kilometers altitude, are already under a space traffic management system. For all practical purposes, GEO spacecraft operate in, or near, the equatorial plane and move in the same direction at the same speed. Since they are synchronous with the Earth’s rotation, STM operations are achieved by simply assigning orbital slots, corresponding to longitudes, over which these satellites remain stationary relative to Earth.”

It is envisaged that the LEO zone, between about 550 kilometers and 1,200 kilometers altitude would be greatly congested.  With more than 10,000 new satellites being prepared for launch into LEOs in the next few years, traffic may well be congested and hence STM is essential in order to guarantee future access and use of the LEO zone.




Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme

A European capability to monitor the space environment for hazards, both natural and human-made that could impact assets in orbit or populations and infrastructure on the ground.

Establishment of a space weather (SWE) forecasting service based on existing and to-be-developed assets, including new SWE instruments; a SWE mission to a Lagrange point (L1 or L5); hosted payload missions for SWE instruments; a network of Near Earth Object (NEO) survey telescopes; small satellites for SSA payloads less than 100 kg and Participating States’ subscriptions for 2017–20.




Asteroid Impact Mission

Provide a companion observatory and microlander mission for the NASA DART impactor, which will strike the small moon orbiting the Didymos binary asteroid.



Launch in 2020 and encounter with Didymos in 2022.


The mission provides a first essay of planetary defence, an international cooperation, science and education return and a test for advanced planetary exploration technologies.


Cleaning space

e.Deorbit/Tug Maturation Phase

Remove a single large ESA-owned debris from orbit, which will be the first-ever active debris removal mission.

Completion of Phase-B2 definition, ready for implementation by 2019.


A high-profile mission providing large visibility on the global stage for all actors involved. It will place European industry at the forefront of the world’s active removal efforts and space tug applications, providing a competitive advantage for all industry involved.


ESA concept for active debris deorbit mission



What do you think are the challenges/opportunities in Space Traffic management?

What do you think makes a successful Newspace startup?


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Japan Space Forum




Japan Space Forum (JSF) was established to coordinate an alliance of industry, government, and academia for the development of Japan’s aerospace industry. JSF operates under policies established by the Japanese government and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) while providing support for research proposals and implementing programs designed to educate and enlighten the public about the aerospace industry as well as provide for the exchange and development of human resources.

JSF’s mission is to function as both a think-tank and a clearinghouse for information on the aerospace industry. JSF is dedicated to providing as many people as possible with the opportunity to learn more about outer space and to participate in the development of Japan’s aerospace industry.

Established in February 1994, the objective of JSF was to contribute to the development of the Japanese economy in general and the enhancement of Japan’s aerospace and other science and technology in particular through the promotion of businesses utilizing science and technology.



source: JSF


The activities of JSF include:

  • Research surveys regarding aerospace and other science and technology
  • Sponsorship and cooperation in the promotion of international conferences and symposiums on aerospace and other science and technology
  • Promotion of programs designed to educate and enlighten the public about the aerospace and other science and technology as well as to contribute to the development and exchange of human resources in these fields
  • Other activities necessary to the achievement of JSF’s objectives

Business activities include:

  • Jointly organizing the Satellite Design Contest

  • Planning and management of “Public relations network of Astronomy, Space and Aviation”
  • Planning and running of events of National Space Day
  • Support for spin-offs of aerospace technologies
  • Design and produce of space-related products

Other business activities include:

  • Support and coordination for space experiments
  • Support for operation of “The International Space Station/Kibo Utilization Promotion Committee”
  • Support for experiments of high-quality crystal growth for protein structure analysis
  • Management of Spaceguard Center observatories for space debris
  • Research of international aerospace information
  • Support for the International Disasters Charter agency in Japan
  • Support for organizing an advisory council on space policy
  • Support and management of international conferences
  •  Planning and support of public relations of rocket launching
  • Maintenance and operation of websites
  • Production of public relations activity tool for research and development of space aeronautics and science & technology
  • Support for educational experiments in micro gravity by aircraft
  • Loan of space-related exhibits

Supporting members







fujitsu 1.jpg



What do you think makes a successful Newspace startup?

What are your thoughts on developing the Newspace ecosystem?


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In late November 2018 the European Commission, European and national authorities together with the industry adopted the Amsterdam declaration to advance safe, secure and green drone operations in Europe. The declaration focuses on smart mobility solutions that integrate aviation in wider transport policies.  These solutions should also support automated drone operations over longer distances. The Commission and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency reiterated their readiness to help Member States to implement the drone regulation.

Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport said, “I am delighted to see that smart mobility solutions are becoming reality. All partners are on board to ensure safe, secure, green and quiet drone operations. Our U-space system will connect all drones flying in the air, which in turn makes them visible for authorities and citizens. The EU’s Demonstrator Network will be instrumental in the development process.”

Technologies are maturing fast. Industry is showing today that drone taxis no longer are a far-fetched future – they are ready for entry into service in a couple of years. The meeting concluded that regulators must continue to coordinate their efforts to allow drone services and smart mobility solutions. Expectations for the industry are to develop product standards as a priority. This smooth coordination – also through the recently launched EU U-space Demonstrator Network.

The Amsterdam Declaration calls all stakeholders to work in parallel and with maximum cooperation on the following:

  1. Supporting cities in their efforts to provide a fertile ground for smart mobility solutions involving drones;
  2. Actions should focus on achieving a strong drone services market;
  3. Regulators should timely deliver the U-space regulatory framework that is indispensable for highly automated drone flights over longer distances;
  4. Societal concerns and local needs should always be at the forefront of all actions;
  5. Drone and U-space technologies should evolve further by driving and prioritizing R&D drone projects.

The European Union is now competent to regulate drones regardless of mass. The Commission is in the final stages of its consultations with Member States on technical drone rules and their adoption is foreseen in the first trimester of 2019. The EU U-space Demonstrator Network allows the sharing of knowledge on how to keep drone operations safe, secure and green.

Background information

In December 2015, the Commission proposed to create an EU-wide framework for drones as part of its Aviation Strategy. This framework became reality with the entry into force of the new EASA Basic Regulation which allows the establishment of technical rules and standards for drones and drone operations.

European Network of U-space Demonstrators

Already today drone and U-space projects deliver concrete results on how to fly drones safely and how the developing U-space system can become more reliably robust. Yet these U-space projects are only sustainable and will only attract additional investment if the found solutions are compatible with the European framework. That is why the Commission has taken the initiative to establish a European Network of U-space Demonstrators to support these projects. The support cell to the network bundling the regulatory and safety competence consists of representatives of the European Aviation Safety Agency, the R&D management expertise of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and the technical and operational air traffic management expertise of EUROCONTROL.

 The objective is to:

  • de-risk implementations, by reducing “first-time” errors and uncertainties and sharing “lessons learned”, notably for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) or automated applications;
  • accelerate the lead-time to market for novel services and solutions, notably by facilitating the mobilisation of the relevant public and private parties that are pivotal in enabling and authorising the deployment of such solutions into the marketplace;
  • provide a platform for those regulators and other public authorities – in particular safety authorities and local authorities – which are responsible for handling early implementations, to jointly acquire the capabilities and develop the due processes and guidance that are key to realising such implementations;
  • reduce red tape by streamlining regulatory and administrative hurdles across borders, pushing for as much harmonisation as possible.

The SESAR Joint Undertaking has awarded funding to another six demonstrators which aim to show the readiness of U-space services to manage a broad range of drone operations and related services, and their interaction with manned aviation.

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Sources: European Network of U-space Demonstrators