How do I maximise my chances of becoming an astronaut? What does it feel like to look down on earth from space? These and many more questions were answered by astronauts Christer Fuglesang and Chiaki Mukai as they took part in a conference organised by Umbilical Design and VA (Public & Science) on 8 October in Stockholm.
After a welcome address by Professor Tuula Teeri, President of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, the benefits of space exploration to life on earth was the theme of the keynote given by Dr. Chiaki Mukai, Japan’s first female astronaut. She and Swedish astronaut Professor Christer Fuglesang, have both completed two space travels. Christer Fuglesang treated the audience to several video clips from his travels, featuring himself conducting research and making repairs at the International Space Station. Following these keynotes, members of the Swedish Astronomical Youth Association asked the astronauts several questions.
Another keynote on research collaboration between Japanese and Swedish stakeholders were given by Professor Yoshifumi Saito, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Anna Rathsman, Director General, Swedish National Space Agency, gave a presentation on joint efforts between the Swedish and Japanese Space Agencies, while Cissi Askwall, Secretary General, VA (Public & Science), spoke of public attitudes towards Science in Sweden. The topic of space technology transfer and how it can create benefit for sustainable urban development was introduced by Cecilia Hertz, ESA Space Broker, CEO and founder of Umbilical Design.
After an interactive panel discussion with Dr. Chiaki Mukai, Professor. Christer Fuglesang, Prof. Yoshifumi Saito, Anna Rathsman and Måns Holmberg, Chairman of the Swedish Astronomical Youth Association, the conference was closed with remarks by Dr. Tadaharu Tsumoto, Director of the Stockholm Office of JSPS, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and Stefan Gustafsson, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Sustainable Business, SSC, Swedish Space Corporation.
The conference was part of the Anniversary year 2018 when Sweden and Japan celebrate 150 years of diplomatic relations. Conference partners were Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation, Sweden-Japan Foundation, Swedish Astronomical Youth Association, Swedish National Space Agency and Swedish Space Corporation.
Two of the conference speakers, astronaut Christer Fuglesang and space designer Cecilia Hertz, also appeared on Swedish national morning television on 9 October. (in Swedish)