The Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) is a longstanding partner in the European Satellite Navigation Competition and as such is a trusted friend to the SBIC community. But that does not always mean that employees and members of both organisations know exactly what the other does. In order to right this wrong, SBIC Noordwijk organised an excursion to Marknesse (Flevoland), where NLR is putting the final touches to its brand new testing and development facility.

Alexander Gunkel (All4Elevation) presents

After an – admittedly – quite long drive through the lush green polders of Flevoland, we started by giving a lunch lecture to some 40 NLR employees who gave up their free lunch hour to learn about the Space Business Innovation Centre and its projects. ESA BIC incubatees Drones for Work and All4elevation also gave a pitch about their own companies, providing the audience with a brief insight into what entrepreneurs can do with space data.

NLR’s new facility in Marknesse (c) Alexander Gunkel

Touring the facility

After a lovely lunch, the SBIC delegation was treated to a very extensive tour of the shiny new building, with all its labs, cleanrooms, testing facilities and development areas. NLR engineer Paul Arendsen for instance taught us all we ever needed to know about ‘shaking and baking’ – some of the stress tests that NLR can put components through. We were also introduced to the ‘Living Lab’, NLR’s new initiative for collaboration and co-creation, both within its own organisation but also between NLR and partners.

At the end of the afternoon, the roles were reversed again, as Derk Schneeman from Verhaert facilitated an ESNC idea generation workshop. Almost 20 NLR employees were helped to develop an idea into a well thought-out business case that is ready to be submitted to (and win?) the European Satellite Navigation Competition, which officially opens this week.

Host your own idea generation workshop

If you’re interested in hosting an idea generation workshop for the European Satellite Navigation Competition or the Copernicus Masters (earth observation) for your employees, students or partners, don’t hesitate to contact us!