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The Importance of Space Systems for the Future

February 15, 2024: The New Space Symposium of the BDI’s New Space Initiative, chaired by Matthias Wachter, took place for the third time in the run-up to the Munich Security Conference.

During the symposium, the strategic importance of space was discussed with more than 100 representatives from the New Space ecosystem.

In addition to the panel with the Federal Government Coordinator for German Aerospace Dr. Anna Christmann, a second panel was held with Michael Vetter, Lieutenant General of the German Air Force and Head of the Cyber and Information Technology Department at the Federal Ministry of Defense, and Andreas Knopp, Professor of Information Processing at University of the Bundeswehr Munich (SPACE Research Center).

Space Innovation Hub

In the second panel, General Vetter reported on the structuring of the innovation ecosystem and the latest developments for more agility and innovative strength as well as the better use of external innovations from the private sector. The new instrument of “innovation corridors”, for example, creates the opportunity to provide financial support for innovations over a longer period of time. To this end, the cyber agency is testing new models for promoting innovation through ideas competitions and the promotion of parallel competing solutions at various stages of the innovation process. Similar to the Cyber Innovation Hub, which stands for the rapid availability of IT solutions through the use of dual use potential, there should be a further innovation unit for space technologies. This idea was also emphasized by the Space Commissioner of the federal government, who has included the term “Space Innovation Hub” in the space strategy. In this context, General Vetter emphasized the importance of the small satellite mission SeRANIS, with which the Bundeswehr will make new capabilities available in low earth orbit for the first time in an agile process.

Prof. Knopp emphasized in his speech that many ideas and concepts of a Space Innovation Hub are already being tested and implemented at the SPACE Research Center (FZ SPACE). Last but not least, the deep tech satellite mission SeRANIS is a flagship project for technology and capability testing in the Bundeswehr. For many years, FZ SPACE has established itself as a nucleus for space innovations with a dual use character.

Innovation through Startups for the Bundeswehr

The panel then discussed various aspects and challenges of integrating innovative startups into the Bundeswehr’s capability portfolio. The flexibilization of innovation and procurement processes is of particular importance here, with FZ SPACE contributing important experience from its own projects with the Bundeswehr. In particular, the early use of research results from the outstanding national research institutions in terms of product development by industry is currently not yet sufficiently possible. In the subsequent round of questions, investors emphasized that the financing of innovations is only possible if a reliable customer base can also be guaranteed in the defense department.

New Space München MSC Munich Security Conference

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