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The Kvarken Space Eco project will implement a long-lasting regional economic development structure for space-based business and innovation, i.e. a Kvarken Space Center.

Project Goals

An innovation ecosystem for regional new space activities will be developed and characterized during the process of developing our Kvarken Space Center. The center’s development activities will be guided by the processes associated with the ecosystem characterization.

The center will work to identify and share a common vision for regional participation in the “new space economy” (NSE). The center will engage local society and elevate their interest and understanding of “new space” processes and work to engage also students at all levels. Companies and organizations will be engaged to identify aspects of the NSE, which warrant near- and long-term consideration for specific regional development support by the center.

The center will develop regional capacity to assure that state-of-the-art technologies are understood and available to regional actors. During the three-year BA project funding, the center will carry out demonstration projects alongside local businesses to demonstrate specifically how to implement and take advantage of new space projects. The center will assist local businesses as they develop space projects. Processes associated with advancing these digital economy efforts will be supported in education programs within local universities to assure the new space industry operates locally and serves the regions’ other industries.

This center will bring existing information-based technologies and know-how to the region to benefit businesses, governmental associations and society by using currently available European Commission, European Space Agency (ESA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic, Atmospheric Administration (NOOA), Iceye and planet.com data products, among others. Use and manipulation of open and commercial space-based observations and derived products will be demonstrated for regional businesses, society and governmental associations to supplement existing or for developing new processes.

Algorithms to create new information content from the space-based data will be developed and shared as part of this activity. A digital platform for collecting, processing and disbursing such data will be developed and occupy a key role in the center’s activities.

The cooperative Finland-Sweden initiative is an optimal combination and opportunity to advance “new space” economy processes jointly. The strengths of both countries turn the established center into an internationally relevant new space economy hub.

After the project ends, the consortium will have established a non-profit association to carry 
forward the center’s activities of focus in new space economy in the long-term and will make 
a global impact.

Project Motivation

Space has become an essential part of our daily lives. For example, data communications solutions, transport, weather forecasting and agriculture and forestry are highly dependent on the resources offered by satellites. “New space” offers the possibility of using satellite platforms for new economically driven activities. In contrast to “old space” it is orders of magnitude less costly because of advances in micro-electronic and communication technologies and standardization procedures.

Private sector involvement (entrepreneurship) is a key factor along with risk-taking (i.e., not over-engineering space systems). Old space got stuck in a vicious circle: the space sector is indeed expensive, therefore systems cannot fail and must be built following strict space standards, using proved space system and implementing redundancy which in turn makes the space systems even more expensive and, in addition, hinders utilization of latest technologies.

New space, on the other hand, accepts systems failing every now and then, and follows the “fly early and fly often” philosophy in order to spur innovation. A service industry for new space applications is developing rapidly and now it is feasible to implement specific space-based systems for business and societal purposes by relying on this service industry. Doing this earlier (during “old space”) was basically not possible because of the extremely high costs. In a recent report from 2018 from the Finnish ministries of Economic affairs and Transport & Communication, new space economy will change the whole space business. All the opportunities in New Space are illustrated in the figure below.


Project website: KvarkenSpaceCenter

Project: KvarkenSpaceEco (new Space Digital Economy Innovation Center)
Contact person at the University of Vaasa: Heidi Kuusniemi, Director, Digital Economy research platform
Project partners: Vaasan yliopisto (leader of the consortium), Novia University of Applied SciencesUmeå UniversityLuleå University of TechnologyMuova (Vaasa University of Applied Sciences VAMK) , Swedish University of Agricultural ScienceAalto UniversityÅbo AkademiHanken ja Swedish Institute of Space Physics

Project funding from: EU Interreg Botnia-Atlantica, Region Västerbotten, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia and all of the project partners.
Budget: 1 860 005 euros.

Project duration
Total budget
1 860 005€
Units and groups
Project actors at the University of Vaasa
Digital Economy
Organisation coordinating the project