Born in Gothenburg, Exploring Our Universe
Born in Gothenburg, Exploring Our Universe
It’s been a long and exciting road leading up to the modern space company that Omnisys is today. Never ordinary, and always with a passion for innovation and thinking in new ways, Omnisys aims to be an active voice and partner within the international space science community.
– Our motto has always been ”More science for the money”, says Dr Anders Emrich, co-founder of Omnisys. Basically, we want to be a creative partner to the scientific community and develop technology products that enable our partners to get the most amount of science and research for the grants and funds they have access to.
By increasing the Swedish public space investments by a modest 100 million SEK annually, we could launch a similar satellite mission every two years…
The Four Billion Kilometers Journey
Starting out in 1994, when the two founders dr Anders Emrich and Stefan Andersson worked at the Onsala Space Observatory just south of Gothenburg at the Swedish west coast, their first project is the perfect example of their own motto.
– Yes, actually we couldn’t have started out more true to our values, says Stefan Andersson. Our first project was the Swedish satellite project ODIN, which focused on both star formation research and the Earth’s atmosphere. The intital project lifetime was two years, yet the satellite is still delivering data for the scientific community, says Stefan. A full fourteen years after the launch, 250 publications and four billion kilometers through space later.
– By increasing the Swedish public space investments by a modest 100 million SEK annually, says Anders, we could launch a similar satellite mission every two years – that is the cost of constructing a highway exit in Gothenburg. Just imagine what value that would deliver to Sweden – and worldwide. For instance, it was ODIN data that verified that banning the use of freon was correct – which had global implications.
Omnisys Onboard the ISS
Omnisys products and instruments can now be found in a wide range of applications, both on the ground and in space. Some examples include the SMILES-instrument, a japanese instrument used on board the International Space Station, or the SMART-1 satellite PCDU, which introduced a completely new propulsion system with built-in intelligence.
– All these projects brought us closer to our long-term goal to produce and deliver complete instruments, says Anders. Therefore, the ALMA project was a true milestone for us.
In brief, the ALMA project is the largest telescope in the world, consisting of 58 telescopes located at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Omnisys was awarded the contract to develop and produce an instrument – one for each telescope – that removes the disturbance effect of water vapor in the atmosphere. By completely re-designing an existing prototype, Omnisys engineered an instrument that was not only affordable and producable but also reliable and user-friendly for the scientists using it.
– We learned quite a lot during this project, says Stefan, perhaps especially how to produce, document and deliver a large number of complete instruments.
– When the final instrument was delivered in december 2010 we could conclude that we had produced and delivered everything on time and in line with the ESO requirements. It was a magnificent day for us, says Stefan. We had proven our capacity.
Predicting the Future?
Omnisys’ goal has always been to be a long-term partner to the scientific community, acting as a bridge in defining and realizing practical and functioning solutions for scientific needs. The upcoming projects are some of the most technically advanced instruments ever produced and will be used both for deep space exploration and predicting the weather and the climate.
– STEAMR is a truly fascinating project, in which we have developed an instrument to measure the lower parts of the Earths atmospehere, says Anders.
Whereas ODIN measures the interaction of the chemistry in the upper parts of the atmosphere, STEAMR will be measuring the lower parts of the atmosphere, with a tenfold measurement accuracy.
– Measurements supported by our instruments have enormous value for the global society and the economy as a whole, says Stefan. With a more accurate prediction of future cyclons, typhoons and extreme weather we could minimize both human suffering and damage on commercial assets.
What the future holds is, of course, difficult to say. However, what Omnisys has learned is the importance of coherent strategies for space development and international cooperation to achieve results.
– We work closely with Chalmers University in Gothenburg and other renowned institutes and universities and as far as we are concerned there are a number of very exciting projects and ideas on the horizon, says Anders.
Coordinating these projects and ideas into a future-oriented and efficient Swedish Space Strategy is the challenge now. We look forward to this.