SPIE 2024

The bi-annual SPIE Astronomical Telescopes & Instrumentation conference is organized in Yokohama, Japan, in June 2024. It is the largest conference in this field, which is equally focused on ground- and space-based instrumentation, and attended by more than 2000 experts and scientist from all around the world. The exhibition, on 18-20 June, is an excellent venue for institutes and industry affiliated with astronomy and space instrumentation to present themselves.

For over a decade, NOVA (Netherlands Research School for Astronomy) has partnered with sister institutes ASTRON, SRON & TNO and a number of Dutch companies to organize a joint “NL Space Pavilion” at the exhibition. This initiative has been very successful, drawing a lot of attention and visitors. The NL Space Pavilion is a great way to showcase the full width and depth of Dutch expertise in scientific instrumentation. By creating a joint pavilion, we emphasize the collaboration between research institutes and industry that exists in the Netherlands. We advertise the Netherlands as a one-stop-shop for a wide range of specialties, such as specialty optics manufacturing and characterization (Cosine X-Ray Silicon pore optics), deformable mirror technology (TNO-VDL), freeform optical measurements (DUI) and metal mirror structures (TNO and NOVA). This collaborative effort has proven to be a fertile base for new industry contracts and participation of institutes in big international consortia, such as the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that is currently being built in Chile. Showcasing their technology capabilities at this conference was instrumental for VDL to win the industrial contract for the nearly one thousand mirror support structures for the ELT, and for Demcon to win the VLT and ELT Laser Projection system tender.

Following the NASA and ESA decadal strategies, this joint pavilion helps paving the way for a significant Dutch industrial and scientific contribution to a suite of next generation (large scale) instrumentation infrastructure, such as LISA, Athena, SKA, CTA, the successor of Hubble and JWST, ELT and the Einstein Telescope. Many Dutch astronomers and instrument scientists will attend the conference, giving presentations and drawing a large number of visitors to the pavilion. At the NL Space Pavilion they truly act as ambassadors, introducing visitors to all relevant partner companies and institutes, establishing long-term relationships that generate business. Not unimportant (and perhaps quite Dutch), a joint pavilion also saves cost. Last edition, we’ve been able to realise the pavilion for a contribution of slightly over €3000 per partner. This was enabled by SpaceNed, NSO and ILO-net sponsorships, and a network drinks event offered by the Dutch Embassy. We’re aiming for the same ballpark figure next year. Please contact Thomas Wijnen (NOVA Instrumentation Coordinator, wijnen@strw.leidenuniv.nl) if you’re interested in joining the pavilion.

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