On December 1, 2021, the BDI's NewSpace initiative was founded in Berlin's Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft [Astrodrom reported]. Under the title "NewSpace made in Germany", concrete political recommendations for action have now been published. They are intended to help make greater use of the potential of German NewSpace players in Germany.
On a total of 32 pages, the working groups of the NewSpace initiative present the results they have produced in recent months. A look at the team behind the paper shows that a considerable amount of practical experience has gone into it. The managing director of the BDI NewSpace initiative is Matthias Wachter, who, as head of the department for international cooperation, security, raw materials and space at the BDI, is very well connected in the industry. The same applies to Deputy Managing Director Sarah Hillmann (also BDI).
The authors of the recommendations are Dr. Ingo Baumann (BHO Legal) from the Working Group Rechtsrahmen national und international, Förderinstrumente (Legal Framework National and International, Funding Instruments), Dr. Martin Haunschild (Mynaric AG), Marcel Taubert (secunet Security Networks) and Oliver Klein (BDI) from Working Group Industrie 4.0, Konnektivität, Cybersecurity (Industry 4.0, Connectivity, Cybersecurity), Petra Richter (BDI), Ulli Leibnitz (CGI Deutschland) and Sven Przywarra (LiveEO) from Working Group Mobility, Automotive as well as Fabian Wendenburg (Familienbetriebe Land und Forst e.V.) from Working Group Nachhaltigkeit, Klimaschutz, Landwirtschaft (Sustainability, Climate Protection, Agriculture) .
The position paper is divided into seven fields of action, which are placed in context in each introductory chapter. This makes the background to the recommendations easier to understand, even for readers not familiar with the topic. In addition, ten strategic-operational recommendations are mentioned, which are explicitly addressed to politics. By implementing the ten points, the German NewSpace ecosystem should, on the one hand, become internationally competitive. On the other hand, innovations are to be promoted and the NewSpace approach is to be strengthened in the institutional sector.
The 10 strategic-operational recommendations
- Establishment of a national space council of the Federal Government at ministerial level, chaired by the Federal Chancellery and modeled on the U.S. Space Council, to address interdepartmental issues relating to the social, economic and security dimensions of space.
- Establish a Space and Innovation Committee in the Bundestag.
- Establishment of a NewSpace unit in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).
- Creating a NewSpace department in the Space Agency of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in ongoing close consultation and cooperation with German industry.
- Successively increase the "National Space and Innovation Program" to the level of the French budget of over 700 million euros per year.
- Use of budget funds of thematically relevant ministries, such as the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMU) or the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in the underwriting of European Space Agency (ESA) programs, in the National Program and for the procurement of satellite data and services.
- Initiation of a European competition for entry into astronautical spaceflight with their own European spacecraft, modeled on NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
- Coordination of institutional payload requirements by DLR's Space Agency and award of contracts to German companies along the lines of the microlauncher competition.
- Establishment of an operational innovation unit for the space dimension in the Bundeswehr, modeled on the U.S. SpaceWERX.
- Establish and provide a German Responsive Space capability and contribute this capability to UN, EU and NATO missions.
The individual fields of action and their recommendations for action are listed below. The detailed description of the individual points can be found in the position paper of the NewSpace initiative (german).
Field of action: Sustainability, climate protection and agriculture
- Monitoring climate change
- Monitoring of climate goals and climate protection targets
- Early catastrophe management
- Smart farming and sustainable agriculture and forestry
- Sovereign and secure raw material supply
- Customized sustainability solutions through government anchor customer orders
- Pioneering innovative space technologies for greater sustainability
- New technologies against climate change
Field of action: State as a customer
- National Program for Space and Innovation (NPWI, Nationales Programm für Weltraum und Innovation).
- Government orders
- Government support
- International cooperation and export support
Field of action: Security and defense
- Setting up a Space Innovation Unit (SIU) in the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr)
- Building Responsive Space capabilities
- Small satellite constellation setup
- Strengthening cybersecurity for German space systems
- Strengthening European Capabilities for Space Domain Awareness
Field of action: Industry 4.0, cybersecurity, connectivity
- Building sovereign data ecosystems
- Sovereign and cross-industry connectivity solutions
- Strong and comprehensive European cybersecurity solutions
Field of action: Mobility und Automotive
- Climate protection in mobility: NewSpace as an enabler
- New mobility: consistently exploiting the opportunities of digitization in mobility
- Pilot projects: Addressing funding needs, defining specific areas of application
Field of action: Legal framework
- Preparation of the bill
- Legal and planning certainty for the industry concerned
- Authorizing authority capable of acting
- Effective processes
- Liability and insurance obligations
- Duties for environmental protection and space debris
Field of action: Sustainability in space
- German engagement at international and EU level
- National Space Program
- EU Space Surveillance and Tracking and German Space Situation
- German Space Law
Roadmap to the future?!
The overview already shows that the total of 33 + 10 recommendations formulate clear expectations of policymakers as to the position spaceflight should have in Germany. In view of the high dynamics - especially in NewSpace - many of these points will become particularly relevant in the short and medium term. It remains to be seen whether and how political decision-makers will use the position paper as a basis for their work. It is to be hoped, however, that they will. After all, the topic of NewSpace is only sparsely mentioned in the German government's coalition agreement.