May 2015

Saarland is ready to develop its contribution to space travel

The Minister put it in a nutshell:

the aim was to establish ‘a platform and a showcase for Saarland’s space-oriented companies’. Indeed, the companies present used this evening as an opportunity to establish initial contacts or even undertake continuing, sometimes intense discussions with potential future partners. ‘Access to advanced technologies developed by space research provides Saarland’s economy with new opportunities for innovative, marketable product developments and thus to improve their ability to complete’, was the Minister’s confident assessment.

Prof. Wörner explained: ‘space travel is technology at the limits of what is technically feasible. This involves treading a continuing path from invention to invention so as to enable space travel to give new strong impetus to solving earthly challenges. Space travel is no longer an end in itself – in the future it will be more vital than ever to call previous views into question with disruptive ideas, and to seek dialogue with the public in order to forge new paths for the focus and use of space travel.’

The general feeling among many guests was that information technology could well play an even more prominent role in the future, and that the industry should be able to contribute more with its products. This was combined by a sense that the key point was of course what Saarland companies had to offer and what demands the European Space Agency and the DLR made of their suppliers.
More than 60 Saarland companies registered to attend. For them, yesterday was also about how to take advantage of subsidies.

Other questions included:

How do companies tap the market for space travel and its many associated applications? What conditions are being laid down by the DLR and the ESA? How are major space-travel project consortia created? Presentations and answers were provided by Dr. Pascal Gilles and Klaus-Peter Ludwig from the ESA and Dr. Franziska Zeitler of the DLR.

The ESA awards contracts across Europe amounting to a total of four billion euros every year. The DLR also has access to an additional 250 million euros of national funds. Both of these space agencies have a major interest in expanding their pool of partner companies and service providers. Innovative companies who can contribute to the success of space missions are being sought for all developmental stages: the spectrum ranges from IT development and IT consulting to engineering and production to new materials, all fields where many Saarland companies are able to demonstrate a high level of expertise. For example, Saarland innovations and high tech products can be found in the Ariane, in space stations such as the ISS and in various Airbus models.

Thomas Schuck, CEO of gwSaar, explains: ‘Events such as these can help to bring regional companies together with the aerospace industry and the ESA as potential customers. I am delighted that gwSaar is able to make an active contribution to this.’ rb

Several Saar companies are already active in the aerospace industry. Some of the service providers present on 12th May are listed below:

Absint Angewandte Informatik GmbH
Airbus 380 safety testing.
Implementation of projects / research projects with partners such as DLR, EADS, ESA und NASA

CeraNovis GmbH
Development of ceramic coating as part of the ESA’s BepiColombo mission. Coating process shortly to be approved by the ESA

Fraunhofer IZFP
Manufacture of acoustic transducers (special probes) for sonic logging in cometary matter. Use: Rosetta mission (ESA space probe) from March 2004 to an expected end date of December 2015

jobaTEC GmbH
Thermal vacuum systems for lifecycle testing of satellites and satellite components

Kohr GmbH
Certification under the aviation and space travel standard EN 9100; however, currently only an aviation industry supplier

3M Deutschland GmbH
Structural adhesives, surface protection, surface treatment and coating applications

ESA ambassador for North Africa