ESTEE talk at MELiSSA Conference 2020

Nov 8, 2020 | News

ESTEE participated to the 2020 edition of MELiSSA Conference dedicated to closed life support systems.

Théodore Besson, Managing Director of ESTEE gave a talk on the “Consolidation of the Swiss activities and rationale for ALSS and MELiSSA development” (see abstract below).

Held in early November 2020, the MELiSSA Conference was the place to share and exchange about fundamental and applied research for Space and Earth applications. All the respective communities: air, water, waste recycling, food production and preparation, modelling, control, safety, circular systems, education and societal impact… were represented. The Conference highlighted and fostered the collaboration between researchers, engineers, experts, private and public organisations. 

**** Abstract **** 

Consolidating the Swiss activities and rationale for ALSS and MELiSSA development 

Théodore Besson, Earth Space Technical Ecosystem Enterprises SA (presenter)

Prof. Suren Erkman, University of Lausanne

In 2019, over twenty Swiss stakeholders active in the field of Advanced Life Support Systems (ALSS), including those directly involved in the R&D and transfer of related space- and Earth-based technologies, expressed their strong interest in the ongoing MELiSSA project of ESA by endorsing a Position Paper.

Elaborated in the context of the preparation for the recently held ESA Ministerial Council Space19+, the overall objectives of this Swiss Position Paper were: (a) to develop an ALSS roadmap, encompassing the three main pillars of the Swiss Space Policy and (b) to demonstrate that developments in the field of ALSS would be enhanced by a consolidated and concerted effort from the Swiss stakeholders, especially within the framework of the MELiSSA project.

The presentation details the results of a survey on Swiss activities, interests and strengths in ALSS and shows that: 

  • the Swiss MELiSSA and ALSS stakeholders encompass a broad range of public and private organisations exhibiting diverse and complementary scientific and technological skills and know-how;
  • the emerging and dynamic Swiss ALSS community has reached a critical size and momentum;
  • the Swiss ALSS community has gained a clear perception of the assets and uniqueness of MELiSSA and is demonstrating a precise understanding of potentials for collaboration;
  • the active participation of the community can be demonstrated by more than 30 R&D and technology transfer projects, covering most of the dimensions and topics of investigations on ALSS.

The presentation describes how the Swiss ALSS community is fostering the continuation of the current political support and looking towards long-term vision and planning in order to:

  • investigate topics relevant both for human space exploration and for their associated Earth-based applications;
  • attract and increase engagement of the Swiss non-space ALSS organisations in space exploration;
  • enhance synergies between Swiss players and the MELiSSA community;
  • further consider developing a dedicated testbed in Switzerland to experiment with ALSS concepts.

In addition, the presentation highlights the conclusions of the Position Paper, showing that the following actions are highly timely: 

  • consolidating the Swiss activities and rationale for ALSS into an active and productive cluster during the next European Exploration Envelope Programmes (E3P);
  • positioning Switzerland as a key player in space and terrestrial ALSS with a strong potential for contributions to the developments and collaborations within the MELiSSA project;
  • promoting the international visibility of Switzerland in the fields of manned space exploration and circular economy.