SGAC Switzerland

National Points of Contact

Our country, although being small, has always been geographically and politically at the centre of international cooperation on science and technology.
In 1960, the first multilateral and intergovernmental meeting on space cooperation in the world took was held in Meyrin, close to Geneva. In this conference the foundation was laid for the creation of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO). The ESRO was founded in 1964 and was later merged with ELDO, the European Launcher Development Organisation to form the European Space Agency ESA.
In parallel, Switzerland has also been at the forefront of space science and space instrumentation. On Apollo 11, the first manned flight to the moon, solar sails were used to analyse the “solar wind”. This experiment, which was primarily developed at the Physics Institute of the University of Bern, was the first experiment conducted by humans on the moon.

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These early successes have been followed by a long series of developments and contributions to space missions and technologies developed worldwide in all fields ranging from astronomy to materials science.

Claude Nicollier, the Swiss astronaut who has travelled to space four times and has actively contributed to the reparation and upgrade of the Hubble space telescope on two flights, is today professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where he shares his experience with future generations.

Our activities at the SGAC also aim to motivate young people for a career in the space domain and to create connections with actors in Switzerland and worldwide. Join us and become part of the community.

Young Space Activities Overview in Switzerland

The Swiss space sector is an important part of the European and worldwide space industry. For instance, Europe’s largest independent supplier of space subsystems and components (RUAG Space) is seated in Switzerland. At the same time, around 100 Swiss companies produce high-end products and critical technologies for space missions. About 800 persons were employed in space manufacturing industry in 2013 (Source: OECD, The Space Economy at a Glance 2014).

Swiss academic players are also at the leading edge of scientific space missions. Several Swiss academic institutions and Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) develop payloads for research missions and innovative solutions for future commercial satellites. In the CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) mission, which was selected as the first S-class (“small”) space mission in ESA’s Science Programme, Switzerland is taking a leading role together with ESA.

Naturally, such activities require a strong basis in the form of highly trained specialists. Therefore, the education of scientists, engineers and professionals is a priority for Switzerland.

Space science, education and technology are closely intertwined and an example which beautifully illustrates this is the project SwissCube. This picosatellite was developed at the Space Center EPFL by students from EPFL and various other universities. They developed the electronics, structure, payload and communication system, thoroughly tested the system and prepared for its launch. Since its commissioning in 2009, the picosatellite has been continuously functional to this day.

Of course we can here only give you a glimpse of the many activities in the Swiss space domain. Check out the links below to find out more and join us at SGAC Switzerland!

Country-Specific Events in 2019

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Interesting Web Links

Swiss Space Office

Academic Insitutions and Research and Technology Organizations

Swiss Associations