INNOspace Masters 2021: Innovation Comes from Competition

  • The sixth INNOspace Masters conference took place virtually on July 29, 2021 under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures in space and on earth”.
  • A total of 330 companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions from 23 European countries took part in the competition.
  • The winners include quantum processors for satellite communications, solutions for precision agriculture and a small satellite for the disposal of space debris.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — At the sixth INNOspace Masters Competition, the German Space Agency looked for innovative solutions at DLR to ensure the unrestricted and reliable availability of satellite-based infrastructures in the digital age. A total of 330 participants from companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions in 23 European countries took part in the competition under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures in space and on earth.” There were five competition categories from different development and innovation phases to choose from. The winners have now been announced at the INNOspace Masters conference, which took place virtually on July 29, 2021. Initiatives like the INNOspace Masters are important because innovations mainly arise from competition.

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DLR Establishes Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensors

Bose-Einstein condensate in the Cold Atoms Lab. (Credit: NASA)
  • Bose-Einstein condensates, novel atomic clocks, laser and matter wave interferometry are promising quantum technologies for use in space.
  • Satellites modernized with quantum technology offer enormous potential for satellite-based earth observation, communication and navigation.
  • The new DLR institute will establish itself with up to 120 employees in the quantum quarter of the University of Hannover.

HANNOVER, Germany (DLR PR) — Quantum-based measurement technologies will revolutionize the sensor technology of satellites in the future. Quantum sensors based on Bose-Einstein condensates, novel atomic clocks, laser and matter wave interferometry are just some of the quantum technologies that are about to make the leap to routine use in space. In the course of a “second quantum revolution”, an unprecedented increase in the precision of measurement technology and sensors in space travel is taking place with previously untapped application possibilities. 

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Big Research with Small Satellites

Artist’s impression of the SOMP2b satellite. (Credit: TU Dresden/Tino Schmiel)
  • On January 24, 2021, the SOMP2b small satellite was launched into space with a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:00 p.m. Central European Time.
  • A key objective of the mission is to demonstrate that significant research can be done with small satellites.
  • The special thing about SOMP2b is its innovative design: almost all functions of a satellite have been miniaturized and built into each individual side wall.

+++ The SOMP2b satellite launched into space on January 24, 2021 on board a Falcon 9 rocket +++

COLOGNE (DLR PR) — On January 24, 2021, the SOMP2b small satellite is scheduled to launch at 4 p.m. Central European Time (10 a.m. local time) with a Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida (USA). A key objective of the mission is to demonstrate that significant research – both scientific and technological – can be done with small satellites. 

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The INNOspace Masters 2019/20 Awards Clever Ideas for Tomorrow’s Space Travel

The overall winner of the INNOspace Masters 2020. (Credit: DLR)
  • On October 14, 2020, the winners of the INNOspace Masters competition were honored in an online conference.
  • More than 300 companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions in 15 European countries answered the call.
  • The new 2020/21 competition will start under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures – in space and on earth”.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Under the motto “New Ideas between Space and Earth”, the space management of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) searched the fifth INNOspace Masters competition for new ideas and concepts that address current challenges in space travel and other industries and offer innovative solutions. Five competition categories – called “Challenges” – from different development and innovation phases in the value chain were available for the participants to choose from. 

The “DLR Space Management Challenge” focused on the research and development phase, while the industrial partners Airbus and OHB were looking for proposals for solutions that were already ready for the market. DB Netz AG, since this year an additional industrial partner of the competition, focused on innovations from the space industry for the monitoring, inspection and maintenance of the rail infrastructure. The “ESA BIC Start-up Challenge”, which was aimed at the start-up

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Im­proved Safe­ty in Space – GES­TRA Space Radar Ready to Be­gin Op­er­a­tions

Front of the GESTRA phased antenna (Credit: DLR)
  • After five years of development and construction, the first German space radar with transmitter and receiver units has been installed at Schmidtenhöhe near Koblenz.
  • Close cooperation between the DLR Space Administration, the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) and the German Space Situational Awareness Centre.
  • GESTRA data will also be used to improve security in low-Earth orbit at the European level.

Activity in space continues to increase. Several thousand satellites, spacecraft and other objects orbit Earth at altitudes of between 300 and 3000 kilometres. In addition to the inactive satellites and upper stages of rockets that are left behind here after missions, there are hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces of debris.

Satellites and other space infrastructure such as the International Space Station (ISS) need to be continuously monitored to avoid collisions. Active objects can engage in evasive manoevres, while inactive space debris such as disfunctional satellite parts, or the remains of rockets, pose a threat.

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DLR, German Federal Ministry of Defense Sign Implementation Agreement

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Space-based systems for earth observation, communication and navigation as well as the observation of the near-earth environment and the sun play an indispensable role in almost all areas of state security. 

Therefore, the space management of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg) will strengthen their cooperation in the future: On August 14, 2020, both parties signed an implementation agreement for the implementation of administrative tasks in the area of ​​space. 

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