The Space Center EPFL was formally created in June 2003 under Professor Roland Siegwart's guidance, when RUAG Aerospace decided to work together with École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in this domain. At the same time, the Swiss astronaut and EPFL Professor Claude Nicollier started giving a very popular lecture on space technology attended by more than 150 students in 2004. The Microsystems for Space Technologies Laboratory (LMTS), chaired by Professor Herbert Shea, was also set-up at EPFL. Since then, more and more industrial and non-industrial partners became members of the center.
The Swiss Space Center today
Faced with the constant growth of its' members, and with the arrival of Volker Gass as Director, it became necessary to change the structure of the Center, which was renamed Swiss Space Center in 2011, thus becoming a truly national entity.
In 2013, the Board of Directors decided to seperate national and project activities. This process started in 2014, with the creation of the EPFL Space Center (eSpace), and a gradual transfer of projects to this new entity. The separation is ongoing and will be completed in 2016.
The Swiss Space Center contributes to the implementation of the Swiss Space Policy. lt provides a service supporting institutions, academia and industry to access space missions and related applications, and promotes interactions between these stakehoiders. Its main tasks are
- to network Swiss research institutions and industries on national and international levels in order to establish focused areas of excellence internationally recognized tor both space R&D and applications;
- to facilitate access to and implementation of space projects tor Swiss research institutions and industries for established actors as weil as tor newcomers;
- to provide education and training;
- to promote public awareness of space.