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					Information   Series  on   “Austria   as             a   Research
Location”: Best Practice Case Study II

Martin Tajmar Explores Outer Space – From Austria
Vienna, June 25, 2008

The Austrian scientist Martin Tajmar and his Space Propulsion &
Advanced Components division at the Austrian Research Centers (ARC)
is developing highly sought after propulsion systems for use in
outer space.
Following his career take-off at the American space agency NASA in
California, his further professional “flight path” took him to the
European Space Agency (ESA) in Holland. However, there were many
reasons justifying a potential return to Austria in its role as a
research location: creative freedom and research promotion, combined
with a high quality of life and social security. In the year 2000,
Tajmar assumed responsibility for coordinating the activities of the
Space Propulsion & Advanced Components division of the Austrian
Research Centers Seibersdorf. At that time, the staff consisted of
four employees. In the meantime, his team has increased five-fold,
emerging as a globally networked research hub for energy and
propulsion systems for space travel.

The physicist Martin Tajmar and his division are developing a
special propulsion system designed to ensure the extremely precise
positioning of satellites with the smallest possible thrusts. They
are being designed for use with the next generation of super
telescopes in outer space, which will be launched in an effort to
discover planets outside of our solar system. His division is also
developing   a   specially-designed  propulsion   system   with  the
capability of ensuring the ultraprecise positioning of satellites
with the smallest ever measured thrusts. This new type of propulsion
will be used with the next generation of super telescopes in outer
space, in an effort to discover planets outside of our solar system.
The core components of the inventions being made in Seibersdorf are
now being integrated into satellites launched by the USA, China,
Japan and Europe.
The smallest rocket propulsion system in the world was also
developed by Martin Tajmar‟s division. This system featuring a
combustion chamber the size of a sugar cube will serve as an energy
cell in the future for drones, i.e. automated aircraft.
Tajmar believes research for the exploration of outer space will
provide a dynamic and productive impetus for more “terrestrial”
developments in the field of high technology. For example, Teflon
was an invention arising from work done in the field of space
technology, and now makes day-to-day life on Earth much easier.
“Outer space places virtually impossible demands on us. Everything
has to be extremely light as well as energy-efficient and absolutely
maintenance-free. The devices must function in temperatures ranging
between plus 120 and minus 50 degrees Celsius. If new products can
fulfill these requirements, the rest of the application is „a piece
of cake‟, i.e. not much of a problem any more”, Tajmar explains.
Back to Austria, where ideas are free to be explored
Tajmar recalls the very beginnings of his research career. “At that
time, I left Austria right after my studies in Physics. I had the
firm intention of conquering the world. At NASA‟s facilities in
California, I worked on my PhD focusing on electrical space
propulsion systems before accepting a job at the European Space
Agency near Amsterdam. There I got a phone call from my native
country of Austria asking if I would be willing to lead a research
team in Seibersdorf”.
Despite job offers made by ESA and NASA, Tajmar decided to return to
Austria. He did not manage to conquer the world, but he succeeded in
exploring the universe – from his base in Austria. He never
regretted the decision to come back. “In Seibersdorf I can transform
my own ideas into reality. If you really want to be innovative or do
something new, you have every chance in the world to do it here. At
NASA and ESA, things are more bureaucratic, and there is much less
flexibility”, he emphasizes.
Other factors also influenced his decision to select a suitable
research location. Amongst other advantages, Austria features a very
high quality of life and a high level of social security, which
played a decisive role underlying his coming back to work in his
home country, according to Martin Tajmar.

Bold research promotion
Numerous research promotion initiatives, for example in the fields
of    nanotechnology   (   or   New    Energies
2020( enable researchers to turn their ideas into
reality. Accordingly, the attractiveness of the research facility in
Seibersdorf and the wealth of research opportunities can keep up
with whatever is happening in the USA. “It is simply unbelievable
how many new research promotion initiatives exist. Austria‟s
political decision makers have committed themselves to expanding
Austria‟s role as a research location”, Martin Tajmar happily
The financing possibilities have led to a more intensive cooperation
between Austrian companies and research institutions, as well as
more extensive international networking. In this regard, Tajmar‟s
division works closely with Magna Steyr, Austrian Aerospace and
The European Union has also contributed to improving research
capabilities in the member states. Tajmar is hoping for additional
research funding granted by the European Defence Agency, in
particular in precisely those areas which sound utopian (e.g.
nanobiotechnology or molecular factory) but which could potentially
emerge as a “game changing technology”. Tajmar is convinced that
“groundbreaking technology simply needs bold start-up financing”.

About ABA–Invest in Austria
ABA-Invest in Austria is the national investment promotion company owned
and operated by the Austrian Ministry of Economic Affairs. It provides
professional consulting services to potential investors free of charge,
supporting companies in selecting a business location, with labor and tax
issues,   identifying  cooperation  partners  and  dealing  with  public
authorities. Companies interested in investing in Austria are advised by
ABA employees at Vienna headquarters as well as offices in New York and

About “Austria as a Research Location“
The international marketing initiative “Austria as a Research Location”
implemented by ABA-Invest in Austria is the designated name fort his
information series. The aim of the marketing campaign is to strengthen
Austria‟s image as a research and innovation location in the relevant
target markets of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Japan. The strategic
focus of the initiative is to use traditional advertising, media relations,
information materials and trade show appearances as a means of presenting
those research and development areas which optimally reflect the innovative
strength of the country.

Previous case studies in the information series on “Austria as a
research location”:
1. Otto Bock – World-Class Research in Austria (May 2008)

Ms. Hanni Grassauer
ABA-Invest in Austria (Austrian Business Agency)
Opernring 3, A-1010 Vienna, Austria
Tel. 0043 1 588 58 57; Fax: 0043 1 586 86 59

Mag. Barbara Windisch
communication matters
Kollmann & Menasse Public Relations GmbH
Kolschitzkygasse 15/14, A-1040 Vienna, Austria
Tel. 0043 1 503 23 03 32; Fax: 0043 1 503 24 13