Space has not traditionally been a destination for delicious food. Without gravity to help clear their sinuses, astronauts are left with a dulled sense of taste.
But in BI Norwegian Business School In Oslo, associate professor of marketing Carlos Velasco and his colleagues are working to develop more appetizing meals for space travelers. “Space captured my imagination from a very young age and we saw an opportunity to address some of the challenges space travelers can face,” says Velasco, a specialist in “multi-sensory marketing.” “We want to position food, which is a multi-sensory experience in itself, beyond nutrition.”
Together with academics from the University of Sussex in the UK and Carnegie Mellon University in the US, his team at BI Norwegian has developed three concepts for use in zero gravity. These include a blending capsule where solid spices are dissolved into food for flavor and texture; a 3D printer that astronauts can use to make food that enhances the emotional experience of eating; and small bites with different flavors from different cultures or moments of life that are combined with virtual and augmented reality.
It may seem like a lot of effort for the few people lucky enough to travel to space. “But research and development in the space industry often results in innovations that also provide solutions for humanity’s small and large challenges,” argues Velasco, citing inventions such as freeze-dried food, home insulation, and purification systems. of water.
Velasco’s menu is still in the concept stage, but other European business schools are turning space-age ideas into reality.
In the University of Exeter Business School In the South West of England, Professor Nikita Chiu will launch an undergraduate module early next year on the ‘economics of space’. Open to students from different disciplines and hosted on the university’s Penryn campus, the module will offer an opportunity to examine past achievements and missteps in the space. Its goal is to help students imagine a more responsible and sustainable future in space, says Chiu, a senior professor of innovation policy at Exeter and named an Ad Astra Distinguished Fellow in Robotics and Outer Space Governance at the University’s Center for Space Engineering Research. University of Southern California.
“There is no other sector more intriguing than space,” says Chiu. “When we look to the stars, we are actually looking to the past, and yet the space sector has a lot to do with building the future.”
The course, he says, will draw on insights from business studies, the history of science and technology, engineering, and global governance to understand how policy, technology, and business intersect to enable the space economy.
“For those determined to make a career in the space sector, I hope you can apply what you have learned with us to instill positive change, bringing new ideas to an established industry and making it more diverse, more responsible and more sustainable,” says Chiu, who is also a mentor to Space4Women, a network organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
Meanwhile, the first six students recently graduated from Europa’s inaugural Space for Business programme, an executive education course for space professionals, entrepreneurs and companies interested in developing their projects. The course is a partnership between Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) at the Erasmus University, Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, the University of St Gall in Switzerland and the European Space Agency.
Space is the new economic frontier, says program director René Olie, who is also an associate professor of strategic management at RSM. Investment bank Morgan Stanley estimates that the $350 billion global space industry could grow to more than $1 trillion by 2040. However, while many companies in this sector start out with strong ambitions and ideas, they often lack the knowledge and skills. management to grow your business.
“Many in this industry have an engineering background with limited business education training,” says Olie. “Another reason for starting the program was the rapid changes taking place in the industry, which makes it attractive for entrepreneurs and non-space companies to enter the industry, such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.”
The three schools started discussing the idea in 2019. On the programme, St Gallen focuses on the space environment and space business models, Nova specializes in entrepreneurship and financing, while RSM leads the process of scaling, innovation and leadership. The next program will run in early 2024, with plans to expand the cohort to about 15-20 participants.
Space entrepreneurs are also being targeted HEC Pariswhich earlier this year launched a seed funding program within its Creative Destruction Lab incubator. Launched in partnership with Toronto’s rotman Georgia School and Technology Scheller College of BusinessThe nine-month program has room for 40 startups as it seeks to give scientific space research an entrepreneurial perspective.
But Franz Viehböck is one of the few people who can attest to the rare perspective that visiting space brings to life, business and education. The first, and so far only, astronaut from Austria has been a speaker at the short programs on pioneers at the Vienna-based WU Executive Academy. He has worked with NASA and Boeing, and is now CEO of the steel products maker Berndorf Group, whose employees regularly receive executive education at WU. “The view of Earth from space was overwhelming,” he says. “You no longer see artificial geographic boundaries, but the big picture.
“There is a spirit of optimism in the aerospace industry, which means that with courage and commitment, you can make a lot happen,” he adds. “Innovations are very welcome and appreciated, in contrast to many other sectors. It’s about having the courage to be an entrepreneur and overcome setbacks, it doesn’t necessarily mean having to fly into space yourself.”