From the 17th to the 20th of September the Swiss Embassy had the honor of welcoming a space delegation, lead by Mr. Neuenschwander (Director of the Swiss Space Office) to Beijing.
Apart from the Swiss Space Office; other key institutes (ISSI, Swiss Space Center, University of Geneva) and major companies (Spectratime, RUAG) in the field of Swiss aerospace science and technology were represented by their directors.
The purpose of the visit was to follow up on the signature of the Joint Document on Space Cooperation by Mr. Mauro Dell’Ambrogio (Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation) and Mr. Chen Qiufa (Director of the China National Space Administration CNSA) in May 2012. By visiting key institutions in the Chinese aerospace sector, the aim was to establish first contacts and detect cooperation possibilities.
Amongst others, the delegation had meetings with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Cooperation CASC (state-owned key organization of space development), the CNSA and the Chinese Academy of Space Technology CAST (prime contractor for Chinese spacecrafts, member of CASC). During their visit at the CNSA, both parties determined point of contacts, who are responsible for further coordination.
Another important visit was paid to the National Space Science Center NSSC of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In July 2013 already, the opening of the ISSI-BJ Institute took place. This new Institute is hosted by NSSC in Beijing similar to ISSI and using most of the ISSI operation tools. With this delegation visit, the collaboration could further be intensified.
All together, the whole delegation trip was highly successful for both the Swiss and the Chinese side, as both sides showed big interest in their counterpart’s work. The delegation laid the foundation for further cooperation.
Eventually, the high-level representatives of the visited institutions and the delegation gathered on September 18th at a reception, hosted by Ambassador Jaques De Watteville at his residence.
After September 20th, many experts stayed in Beijing in order to attend the 64th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) taking place from the 23th to the 27th of September.