In particular, work is underway to establish the Cluster's Scientific Advisory Council, which will include renowned Russian businessmen and scientists. It will advise the Space Cluster and help it more effectively seek out and select innovative projects.
Last July, representatives from Skolkovo's Space Cluster, Pavel Sharov and Sergei Sedykh, visited the Silicon Valley (CA, USA) with the mission of establishing contacts with space innovation business representatives, as well as a number of eminent scientists and researchers in the space community.
Sergei and Pavel are the founders of the Selenokhod project, a Russian space robotics startup, which earned them an invitation to a summit for Google Lunar X PRIZE contest participants in Mountain View, as representatives of Russia and CIS countries.
The summit was held on 11–13 July. It was organised by the X PRIZE Foundation and Google, with the support of SpaceX, AGI Software and the SETI Institute. The events were attended by representatives of participating teams from 17 countries, as well as experts from NASA (specifically, the Ames Center), Stanford University and other research organisations in the US.
The participants were pleasantly surprised by a congratulatory telecast from the International Space Station by Russian astronauts. On the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight, the commander of the 28th ISS expedition, Andrei Borisenko, and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyayev and Sergei Volkov greeted the GLXP summit organisers and participants. “This competition has strategic goals. It aims to foster public-private partnerships in global space exploration. This kind of cooperation creates new opportunities for exploring space, and helps us effectively implement and use innovative space technologies for the benefit of all mankind,” the Russian astronauts noted.
The GLXP summit concluded at Google's headquarters, where the participants informally discussed the development outlook for various space startup projects, particularly those launched by the participating teams.
Additionally, representatives from the Skolkovo Space Cluster visited the Mojave Spaceport, where they familiarised themselves with its infrastructure and operations. They met with Mojave Spaceport General Manager Stuart Witt and told him about the Skolkovo project and its Space Cluster. Stuart, who was unaware of these activities in Russia, expressed considerable interest in them.
In Mojave, Pavel and Sergei also talked about Skolkovo with Jeff Greason, president of XCOR Aerospace, which works with rocket technologies and is building a spacecraft for suborbital tourism (Lynx).
Moreover, during the visit to the Silicon Valley, the issue of establishing an innovation centre and a space technology cluster within it was brought up with Orbital Science Corporation Chairman and CEO David Thompson, former Director of The Planetary Society Louis Friedman, Silicon Valley International Managing Director Florian Selch, President of Pumpkin Inc. and Stanford University Professor Andrew Kalman, and Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation and co-founder of Singularity University and the International Space University. They all showed some interest and left open the possibility of further cooperation in this area.
And finally, another pleasant surprise was meeting the three winners of My Idea for Russia, a contest organised by the Skolkovo Foundation and Singularity University, at Blackbox, a party for startup project developers. Sergei Musienko, Anna Trunina and Olga Avryasova were taking part in the 2011 10-week Graduate Studies Program held at the famous university from 18 June to 27 August, and they shared their impressions of the program.