Seventy Swiss companies are already involved in the space industry and, thanks to a new deal with the European Space Agency (ESA), the branch is expected to grow. (SRF/swissinfo.chexternal link)
Johann Schneider-Ammann, the Swiss economics minister, has signed a letter of intent with the ESA’s director general, committing CHF5 million ($5.19 million) per year to encouraging space start-ups.
Schneider-Ammann is keen to support national pilot projects and activities that encourage the transfer of knowledge from academia to industry.
Switzerland has been involved in European space activities since the early 1960s and was a founding member of ESA.
The alpine country allocates 90% of its space research and development budget to ESA.
Having long standing capacities in space science, it has supported European launcher programmes from the beginning and has developed industry capabilities in this sector, for example developing rockets, earth observation and telecom equipment. There is even a Swiss Space Office responsible for planning and implementing space policy.