Swedish delegation visits Rice campus with eye on space exploration

Swedish delegation

A delegation from Sweden, led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström, visited Rice University May 14 to forge new pathways for collaboration and growth in space education and research.

Sweden, recognized as an emerging space power, is actively engaging in space diplomacy. With advanced facilities like the Esrange Space Center, the country is keen on international cooperation in space-related research and innovation.

swedish delegation
A delegation from Sweden visited Rice University May 14. Photo by Gustavo Raskosky/Rice University.

“It’s important to make public and private actors in Texas aware of Sweden’s capabilities and ambitions in this field,” Billström said in a release.

Billström emphasized Sweden’s commitment to space exploration and its desire to showcase its capabilities and ambitions to global partners. That includes Texas, which recently launched the Texas Space Commission and the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium (TARSEC).

Rice, renowned for its pivotal role in space exploration history, was a fitting choice for the delegation’s visit. The university is home of the country’s first space science department and the site where President John F. Kennedy delivered a historic address on the necessity of space exploration and America’s commitment to the effort in 1962.

swedish delegation
Rice is renowned for its pivotal role in space exploration history. Photo by Gustavo Raskosky/Rice University.

While on campus, the Swedish delegation engaged in discussions with David Alexander, professor of physics and astronomy, director of the Rice Space Institute and a designated member of TARSEC. The delegation toured notable sites, including the moon rock exhibit at Fondren Library and the Rice Space Institute.

“It was great to have the opportunity to meet with the minister and Swedish delegation to discuss space research and education and the Houston space ecosystem as we look to foster innovation and discovery on a global scale,” Alexander said.

The delegation, including representatives from Swedish Foreign Affairs and Political Affairs, the Swedish Embassy to the U.S. and the Houston Consulate General of Sweden, was in Texas for three days and also met with Gov. Greg Abbot in Austin and representatives at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston.