July 2022: Major General Michael Traut – Commander of the Bundeswehr Space Command – visits the SPACE research center to learn more about the SeRANIS mission
The mission of Space Command is to protect and defend German space capabilities. Space infrastructure is not only a critical component for national and alliance defense, but also an essential component for everyday services and thus indispensable for society.
This task affects so many different areas that it can only be accomplished on a national scale. Consequently, cooperation with industry, other authorities and research is necessary.
Easier said than done: Germany has excellent research and technologies, but these need to be used more profitably and innovations promoted. Also, competencies are currently not evenly distributed.
The biggest challenge is that there is currently a focus on rocket technologies in the industry and startup space. “We are already successful in developing launchers and have companies providing them. Now the challenge is to come up with concepts on how to develop satellites with the necessary applications in a short period of time”, Major General Traut said. After all, he said, it is not just getting infrastructure into orbit that is important. Much more important is the development and provision of applications tailored to the needs of the Bundeswehr and society.
Support and expertise from the Universität der Bundeswehr München
The focus of the SeRANIS mission is on researching and providing such services. Major General Traut visited the SPACE Research Center (SPACE FZ) and the SeRANIS mission on July 4, 2022, to learn more about the project and the approach as well as to establish collaborations.
During the SeRANIS project, 15 complex research experiments for and around a satellite platform are designed and executed in a record time of three years. Agile and innovative methods are being used to realize this. There are many points of connection here for the Space Command, since many applications in space that are being tested at SeRANIS are of great interest to the Bundeswehr. The SeRANIS mission could serve as a showcase for future use cases.
The expertise for the mission comes from the FZ SPACE. Topics such as navigation, earth observation and experimental satellite technology, but also information security, antenna technology and modern operating procedures are under prominent management here. The close interdisciplinary cooperation between the subject areas enables highly complex projects such as SeRANIS.
Cooperation of the Space Command with SeRANIS
Another important topic in which FZ SPACE can provide active support is training. Within the framework of the SeRANIS project, new experience is gained in space and skills are acquired that the Bundeswehr urgently needs. Currently, there is no separate career path for space personnel in the Bundeswehr. The officers who deal with the subject during their studies do not necessarily end up in the Space Command, so cooperation with SeRANIS is already sought during training.
FZ SPACE can further enhance the Space Command’s capabilities through internships and close integration of officers who assist in research projects.
The continuation of projects such as SeRANIS and close collaboration with the Space Command could further improve Germany’s action capability in space in the future.
Cover image (fLTR): Junior Prof. Christian Hofmann, Prof. Roger Förstner, Major General Michael Traut, Dr. Robert Schwarz, Prof. Thomas Pany (© UniBw M / Siebold)