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New Startup Company Founded by NCKU Doctoral Student Jordan Vannitsen Wins International Award of EUR 500,000

With his dreams of space and encouragement from his advisor Professor Jiun-Jih Miau, French doctoral student Jordan Vannitsen at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at NCKU founded the company ODYSSEUS Space with his French friends in Taiwan in 2016, targeting the global space industry. To gain international exposure, they entered the Space Exploration Masters in 2018, a contest held by the European Space Agency for business proposals. Out of 132 proposals from 42 countries, the technological, managerial, and commercial strategies of their business won first prize in the Space Resources.lu Challenge presented by Luxembourg Space Agency. This is the most high-profile award of the contest. They were granted EUR 500 thousand (over NTD 17 million) and were invited to set up business in Luxembourg. ODYSSEUS Space plans to establish their base in Luxembourg while they begin penetrating the global market.

Upon learning about the big win at the end of October, Jordan expressed that this achievement will have a significant impact on the further development of ODYSSEUS Space. Rather than establishing their headquarters in France as their European base, they are now planning to set up operations in Luxembourg with the support of the Luxembourg government as they actively engage in the development of their space resource industry. The purpose of the Space Resources.lu Challenge is to seek innovative solutions and further promote the development of the space resources field in Luxembourg, including s pace resource exploration, mining, transmission, construction, and services.

In 2007, Jordan was studying at the Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées (IPSA), the Polytechnic Institute of Advanced Sciences in France. He first visited Taiwan as an intern under Professor Jiun-Jih Miau at NCKU. He also assisted in satellite-related tasks at Professor Jyh-Ching Juang’s laboratory at the Department of Electrical Engineering. Jordan explained that while his first experience of Taiwan was short, he deeply appreciated the passion and kindness shown to him by the Taiwanese people, and he was impressed with the space research standards, equipment, and environment at NCKU. He also fell in love with Taiwan’s beautiful natural environment. After graduating, Jordan went on to obtain a dual IPSA-NCKU master’s degree at IPSA. He then returned to Taiwan to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at NCKU in 2009 and completed his master’s degree in 2010 .

After obtaining his master’s degree, Jordan worked at the European Space Agency‘s facility in the Netherlands and participated in 7 projects involving microsatellite systems. During this period, he perceived the need to further his studies, so in 2012, he returned to NCKU to pursue his PhD under the guidance of Professor Jiun-Jih Miau. During his doctoral studies, he took part in the NCKU PHOENIX CubeSat project, an international QB50 project, explored relevant knowledge and technology, developed his personal network, and registered ODYSSEUS Space in Taiwan.

Professor Jiun-Jih Miau indicated that during his summer internship in 2007, Jordan’s passion for space science and technology was already evident and he displayed a strong intent to continue his studies of space. Jordan had a positive learning attitude, and he was a pleasure to teach. He eagerly grasped all the opportunities that were offered to him, such as taking part in NCKU’s 2 kg-grade PHOENIX CubeSat project, which was successfully launched into orbit in May, 2017.

Professor Jiun-Jih Miau emphasized that these opportunities are made possible by NCKU’s first-rate equipment, standards, and technologies for space research and development. The NCKU team has taken part in domestic Formosa satellite projects as well as international aerospace projects. NCKU has long hosted foreign students from Europe and the US. Professor Jiun-Jih Miau has encouraged many of its local and foreign students to venture into the space industry, but Jordan is the only one to have really taken action. Professor Jiun-Jih Miau pointed out that many of the technologies Jordan used in his award-winning solution are subjects that NCKU has been focusing on and studying for years.

Jordan expressed that based on the trends and development of the global small satellite market, he and his French friends believe that Asia will soon become one of the largest small satellite markets in the world, second only to the US. Not only is Taiwan the leader of the international semiconductor industry, but it also possesses considerable high-end aerospace equipment and technologies. Taiwan has t he potential to become the leader of the Asian small satellite market, and this is why they decided to open their company here. He also revealed that ODYSSEUS Space is working with the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at NCKU on an electric propulsion system for small satellites. Recently, they received NTD 4.5 million in funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan for a small business innovation R&D project.

After winning the first prize for the Space Resources.lu Challenge, ODYSSEUS Space is in the process of moving its headquarters to Luxembourg, which they see as an expansion of their activities in Taiwan. They are confident that c oordinated progress in Taiwan and Luxembourg will complement both sides in terms of technological R&D and market development.

The government of Luxembourg, a country with a population of approximately 600 thousand people, is actively exploring space resources, space mining in particular. Their goal is to become a stronghold for space mining in Europe so as to create new economic momentum. As a result, Luxembourg is encouraging corporations to pursue their dreams of gold-digging in space. They have even passed relevant laws authorizing civil organizations to mine space resources and offered considerable monetary incentives to attract space-related startups from around the world.
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