SpaceHack2019, Consolidating Talents On Earth To Structure Entrepreneurial Ventures In Space

On 29 and 30 November 2019 the SpaceHack took place at Technoport technology incubator in Belval (Esch-sur-Alzette). The SpaceHack is a new 24-Hour hackathon event powered by a Technoport and InTech collaboration that aims at exploring space industry potentials, enhancing entrepreneurial and innovation management practices through experiential learning in space industry-focus areas. We had a chat with Olivier Zephir from Technoport to know more about the SpaceHack concept and what happened during the event.
by: Silicon Luxembourg
photo: Technoport
featured: SpaceHack 2019

Listen to article (Part I)
Hi Olivier, can you tell us what SpaceHack is and why you organized this event?

The SpaceHack is a Space Hackathon based on challenges provided by local space technology companies—the challenge sponsors—in Luxembourg. Our aim as organizers is to foster a networking and problem solving event with actors from space companies, startups and established companies, research centres, universities.

Our objective is to promote through the hackathon the practice of entrepreneurial and innovation project management, we operate what we call concept2business sprints. That is to propose a co-creation event with the challenge sponsors to explore new potentials in the space industry with teams of concept makers, the participants supported by coaches, the experts of the industry. The value of hosting a hackathon on the basis of challenges coming from local space industry players is that we curate the critical concerns of the space sector. Such field based challenges provide an opportunity to the participants to be exposed to actual focus areas of the industry.

“Space ventures are also based on talents’ availability and the power of collaboration.”

The SpaceHack is meant to foster collaboration with young talents and subject matter experts. The event contributes to the consolidation of a local community of space entrepreneurs by creating a connection among industry product owners and talents who can contribute in building tangible concepts. It is also a place were early stage space companies share about meaningful partnerships and trigger collaborations with research and innovation support institutions. I would like to thank our partner InTech, especially Francis Sujkowski, for this fruitful collaboration. We are working together to foster a greater region community of space technology practitioners and entrepreneurs where professionals, academics and students share on currents space tech challenges, business trends and innovation methods.

Listen to article (Part II)
Who are the mentioned industry players—challenge sponsors—that proposed the challenges?

We received challenges from five space companies based in Luxembourg:


Space exploration—Cybercultus, former Technoport member, is a company specialized in innovative leisure solutions applied to the cultural, environmental and space sectors. The company provides platforms enabling museums, tourists and wilderness parks to propose added value services based on virtual reality, indoor and outdoor ge-localization, environmental protection, earth observation, satellite tracking and communication.

Find out more

Nano Satellites—GomSpace, former Technoport member, delivers turn-key solutions to its customer helping teams across the globe to achieve their goals in space. These include instruments, platforms, ground stations, operations and support services. GomSpace Luxembourg is creating its Mega-Constellations Operations Platform (MCOP) for autonomously operating satellite constellations.

Find out more GomSpace

Nano Satellites—Founded in Taiwan in 2016 and in Luxembourg in 2019—hosted at Technoport incubator—ODYSSEUS is developing key Small Satellite technologies for enabling cheaper and faster Space resources prospection missions. While most of the company’s activities used to be providing expertise support to small satellite customers, it now focuses on laser communications and autonomous navigation technologies development, addressing the currently growing market of small satellite constellations and paving the way for future Small satellite Space resources prospection missions.

Find out more Odysseus Space

SatCom—SES is the world’s leading satellite-enabled solutions provider, and the ideal partner to empower communities and people everywhere on the planet. SES’ purpose is to raise up the human experience. Every individual on the planet should be connected to the world’s content. SES does the extraordinary in space to enable their customers to deliver the amazing on Earth.

Find out more SES

Earth Observation—To improve current Earth observation monitoring techniques SkyfloX proposes the use of a new platform, ORCA—Optical and Radio Frequency Constellations on Aircraft—by mounting sensors under commercial airliner aircraft. The use of this existing platform is not only sustainable but also solves issues such space debris, launch costs, and instrumentation lifetime limitations. ORCA, once deployed, will provide High resolution imagery over large geographical areas with an unprecedented revisit time, thus enabling new innovative services for a wide range of applications. SkyfloX Luxembourg is hosted at Technoport incubator.

Find out more SkyfloX

Listen to article (Part III)
Who participated in the event?

The hackathon was open to coders, developers, designers, scientists, researchers, technologists, university students and space-related professionals.

We attracted master students from University of Luxembourg, Mines Artem Nancy, ICN Business School and Université de Lorraine, with different profiles—business, design and tech centered—in order to have more diversified teams.

Moreover, we are very glad and proud to have onboarded several supporting partners representing the most relevant actors of the Luxembourg space and tech innovation ecosystem and research institutions from the Greater Region that have participated with the role of coach or jury member or even prize sponsor.

Indeed, coaches and jury members were industry experts and professionals from Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), InTech, POST Luxembourg, IPIL, SnT, LORIA, CREACTION, University of Luxembourg and ICN Business School.

So, our aim to connect Greater Region actors, also as partner of the Interreg Greater Region project PUSH.GR, has been successfully achieved.

What were the hackathon results and what the reward for the teams?

The participating teams have chosen to work on 4 of the 6 presented challenges. You will be able to discover soon the four submitted projects that have been pitched in front of the jury and the winners, as well as more insights on the hackathon by supporting partners, on Technoport Youtube channel. The aftermovie teaser is already available.

Thanks to the sponsors, four amazing prizes have been offered to the participating teams:

  • 1st place prize: European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) site visit in Noordwijk, Netherlands – Sponsored by the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA)
  • 2nd place prize: Toulouse Space Center site visit – Sponsored by Connect by CNES
  • 3rd place prize: European Patent Office Study visit in Munich – Sponsored by IPIL GIE
  • 4th place prize: 100€ Saturn voucher for each team member – Sponsored by InTech
Are you planning to organize another edition of SpaceHack?

With our partner InTech we planned to keep an enduring collaboration to organize space hackathons every year: we will alternate two space events the SpaceHack and the Act In Space. Therefore, I am glad to announce that we will host and co-organize with InTech the next edition of Act In Space Luxembourg on 24-25 April 2020. Save the date!

The article is sponsored by Technoport and reflects only the opinion of the author.

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