Sustainable Funding Provided for German Space Start-ups

  • Funding for the German ESA Business Incubation Centers (BIC) has been secured for a further four years.
  • Funding for the incubation program will be increased by almost 70 percent to a total of 11.6 million euros.
  • By 2025, the program will have grown to 13 locations in seven federal states.

BERLIN, Germany (DLR PR) — The financial future of the German ESA Business Incubation Centers (BIC) is secured in the coming years: As part of the ESA Investor Forum, which took place from May 16 to 17, 2022 in Berlin, Luca del Monte, Head of Commercialization at the European Space Agency (ESA) and Dr. Walther Pelzer, Member of the DLR Executive Board and Head of the German Space Agency at DLR, the extension of the funding for a further four years was announced. The funding will also be increased by around 70 percent. The aim of the incubation centers is to support the commercial use of space technologies and satellite-based services in non-space markets (spin-off) and the use of new technologies in space (spin-in).

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Ger­man En­MAP Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite Launch­es Suc­cess­ful­ly on SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-4 Mission

Launch of Fal­con 9 with Ger­man en­vi­ron­men­tal satel­lite En­MAP. (Credit: SpaceX)
  • At 18:24 CEST on 1 April (12:24 local time), the first German-developed hyperspectral satellite (EnMAP) successfully launched on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
  • The mission is being managed by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bonn on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK).
  • OHB-System AG was commissioned to develop and build the satellite and the hyperspectral instrument. Meanwhile, the ground segment has been developed and will be operated by DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam is the scientific coordinator for the mission.
  • Focus: Space, Earth observation, climate change, environmental protection and nature conservation

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — It all began in 2003 with a competition announced by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) as part of the National Space Programme. The task was to design and build a new type of hyperspectral instrument and a satellite to carry it, and to test both the instrument and its satellite for several years in the harsh conditions of space. At the same time, an (inter)national community of scientists was formed to define the user requirements and objectives for the first German hyperspectral mission, which was also to be the first of its kind in Europe. What data about Earth should be collected with EnMAP, and for what purpose? This is how the special environmental satellite – the abbreviation stands for Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program – was created.

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Germany Made Important Contributions to James Webb Space Telescope

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)
  • On December 25, 2021 at 9:20 a.m. local time (1:20 p.m. CET), the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space telescope of all time to date, took off from the spaceport of the European Space Agency on an Ariane 5 launcher.
  • A total of four instruments are housed on James Webb.  Two of them come from Europe and have German shares.
  • The German Space Agency at DLR coordinates the German contributions for ESA and for an instrument in the national space program.

KOUROU, French Guiana (DLR PR) — James Webb Space Telescope – JWST for short – was launched from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) on its journey to Lagrange Point 2, 1.5 million kilometers away.  James Webb is the largest and most expensive space telescope of all time, which has now started its long journey into the depths of space with an Ariane 5 upper stage ‘Made in Germany’. In addition, MIRI (Mid Infrared Iinstrument) and Near Infrared ( Near Infrared Spectrograph) – two of the four instruments on board – German parts: The near-infrared instrument NIRSpec was built by Airbus in Ottobrunn and Friedrichshafen. With this instrument, scientists from all over the world want to analyze the ‘hours of birth’ of the universe. NIRSpec is primarily intended to detect the radiation from the first galaxies that formed shortly after the Big Bang. 

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Isar Aerospace and German Space Agency at DLR Announce Payloads for First Test Flight of Spectrum Launch Vehicle

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)
  • Payloads selected for Spectrum’s maiden flight scheduled for end of 2022
  • Five institutions from Germany, Norway and Slovenia with a total of seven small satellites to launch on the first test flight of Isar Aerospace’s launch vehicle “Spectrum”
  • For the first time in Europe, the German government entrusts a privately financed European space company with the launch of institutional payloads

MUNICH, 13 December 2021 (Isar Aerospace PR) – Isar Aerospace, the leading and most well-funded private European launch service provider focusing on small and medium satellites, and the German Space Agency at DLR have announced the selection of the institutional payloads for the maiden flight of the “Spectrum” rocket planned for the end of 2022 as part of the microlauncher competition. Among the winners of the Announcement of Opportunity are five institutions from Germany, Norway, and Slovenia with a total of seven small satellites that will be used to demonstrate various technologies in space such as communication or weather data measurement.

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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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German Start-up Wins Tender for Innovative Test Satellite

LoLaSat – a small low-flyer (Credit: S4 GmbH)
  • The German Space Agency in the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is committed to promoting start-ups within the framework of the European space organization ESA.
  • On July 5, 2021, the German space start-up was awarded the contract to build and operate an innovative test satellite for broadband internet in very low Earth orbit.
  • The test satellite “LoLaSat” (Low Latency Communication Satellite) is intended, among other things, to significantly shorten the transit times of the signals and pave the way for Internet via satellite, also for virtual reality or augmented reality and certain applications in autonomous driving.

COLOGNE (DLR PR) — Young, innovative companies are playing an increasingly important role in space travel – also in Germany. 

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From Bremen to the Moon

Orion at the Kennedy Space Center (Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak)
  • The first European Service Module (ESM) for the US Orion space capsule will be called ESM-1 “Bremen”. This suggestion comes from the German Space Agency at DLR because the “heart” of the Orion space capsule was largely built in the German Hanseatic city.
  • ESM-1 “Bremen” is currently being prepared at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its flight as part of the Orion spacecraft in late autumn 2021. Five more modules are to be built in Bremen. The second ESM is supposed to bring astronauts from the USA and Canada back to the moon.
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NASA and DLR Strength­en Co­op­er­a­tion

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — On 17 December 2020, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) extended their framework agreement on bilateral cooperation for a further ten years.

The agreement was signed by NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, Professor Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, and Member of the DLR Executive Board and Head of the DLR Space Administration, Walther Pelzer, who met via video conference to mark the occasion.

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DES­TINY+ – Ger­many and Japan Be­gin New As­ter­oid Mis­sion

Destiny spacecraft (Credit: JAXA/Kashikagaku)
  • In 2024, the Japanese-German space mission DESTINY+ will launch on a journey to asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
  • The mission’s key instrument is the German DESTINY+ Dust Analyzer (DDA), which will collect and analyse cosmic dust samples during the entire flight of the spacecraft.
  • The cooperation agreement for the bilateral mission was signed by DLR and JAXA on 11 November 2020 as part of a joint strategy dialogue meeting.

COLOGNE (DLR PR) — How did life arrive on Earth? To investigate this and to address fundamental questions about the evolution of celestial bodies in our Solar System, the Japanese-German space mission DESTINY+  (Demonstration and Experiment of Space Technology for  INterplanetary voYage with Phaethon fLyby and dUst Science), will launch in 2024 on a journey to asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

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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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