If you talk to entrepreneurs from the NewSpace industry, you will hear one phrase again and again: NewSpace is also a question of mindset. The fact that this is not just a figure of speech, but actually the case, was demonstrated on December 1 in Berlin: the New Space Initiative of the Federation of German Industries was founded in the Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft. The event took place in a corona hybrid format. This means that some of the founding members were connected online, while the others were on site in Berlin, respecting the 2G+ rules. In his opening remarks, BDI CEO Dr. Joachim Lang referred to the opportunities presented by the commercialization of space technology.
Satellite-based data and applications are the basis for many new technologies, such as connectivity, Industry 4.0, infrastructure and mining monitoring, autonomous driving, smart farming and many other data-based business models. In addition, satellites enable fast internet anywhere in the world and real-time earth observation to detect disasters, such as forest fires or tsunamis, at an early stage. NewSpace is also a fundamental part of the solution for climate and environmental protection.
A look at the German NewSpace ecosystem shows that numerous companies have established themselves along the entire value chain. Some of them have now joined forces with companies and associations from other sectors to form the BDI's New Space Initiative. Their core concern is to strengthen Germany as a space industry location.
NewSpace initiative as a signal of common purpose
With this new initiative, the BDI wants to send a strong signal of a united departure in aerospace for Germany and Europe. The cross-sector and cross-industry initiative forms a unique alliance of new-space startups, space companies, associations, classic industrial companies and the digital economy. Our goal is to make Germany and Europe fit for the digital transformation, the energy transition and Industry 4.0.Dr. Joachim Lang, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Committee, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)
Virtually connected to the event was also Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA. In his welcoming remarks, he emphasized the importance of space technology for the public and, in the course of this, referred once again to the Matosinhos Manifesto [Astrodrom reported]. He also emphasized the excellent cooperation between BDI and ESA to date, which he looked forward to intensifying.
"NewSpace-Ampeltalk" with Dieter Janecek
This agenda point was followed by a "NewSpace-Ampeltalk". For this, space expert Dieter Janecek (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) was connected via video. One of the most pressing topics was the coalition agreement between the SPD, the GREENS and the FDP, which was presented on November 24, 2021. As Matthias Wachter, head of the department for international cooperation, security, raw materials and space, mentioned in his introduction, the terms space and NewSpace appear only once in the 177-page paper. However, this more or less contradicts the election programs, which listed even more specific projects. As Janecek explained, the topic of NewSpace will be located in the areas of both economy and climate. The aim, he said, is to improve the framework conditions for new ideas and to create a "vital environment for companies so that they don't get lost." According to Janecek, however, many details still need to be clarified, including liability issues.
Our law firm has already been heavily involved in legal issues related to NewSpace in recent years, including organizing a NewSpace Lunch in Düsseldorf with the BDI. We advise numerous German companies in the space industry, including several start-ups in NewSpace. The BDI's approach of integrating leading German companies from user industries into the initiative is very welcome. Earth observation data, navigation solutions, communication links and other satellite services are becoming increasingly important for many industries. This is especially true for the automotive industry, which is preparing for autonomous driving, but also for mechanical engineering in remote maintenance via IoT, for agriculture or the insurance industry. We hope that with our contributions we can help to further develop the NewSpace sector in Germany and to advance the use of satellite services by the German economy as a whole.Ingo Baumann, BHO Legal
He was alluding to a space law that was also raised from the audience. Clemens Kaiser, Managing Director and CTO of KLEO Connect GmbH, wanted to know whether this law was addressed in the coalition negotiations. According to Janecek, this will play a prioritized role, but was a subordinate topic in the negotiations. When asked about the relationship between Germany's space ambitions and those of Europe (Sabine von der Recke, OHB System AG), the political scientist replied that the coalition agreement was very much influenced by the European idea. It states that the ESA is to be strengthened. What that means remains to be seen. However, the topic of space industry should not be thought of solely in German terms. He is convinced that this is not possible. He is also aware, he says, that a clean demarcation of agency-driven projects by the ESA sometimes makes economic ambitions impossible. A topic that, in his opinion, will occupy the future government.
Many of Germany's most important NewSpace players are represented in this national initiative. It gives the entire NewSpace sector in Germany a common voice that is close to politics. This is very important, especially in times of change such as we are currently experiencing: We are getting a new federal government, the situation in space is changing, we are competing internationally. By uniting as key players in this industry and speaking with one voice, we can steer the changes that will inevitably come our way toward more space and more NewSpace. In addition, the NewSpace initiative also gives German NewSpace a voice internationally. Therefore, we very much welcome this initiative and I am happy that we, Reflex Aerospace, can be one of the founding members and will continue to support it.Walter Ballheimer, Core team Member Reflex Aerospace
Coalition agreement: much already discussed, much still unclear
Janecek was unable to provide a concrete answer to Daniel Bock's (Morpheus Space) question as to whether the state will increasingly act as an anchor customer in the future. The discussion about this has already been held, but it still needs to be "spelled out".
Sven Meyer-Brunswick (Mynaric, photo) wanted to know whether there had been any discussion in the coalition negotiations regarding a German or European satellite constellation. As the Green politician explained, this had been raised in the innovation group, but played no role in the coalition agreement. Matthias Wachter concluded the round with the wish to take a strong position on space issues together with politics in the future. Because, Wachter said, dependence on the U.S. market is basically difficult.
The BDI's NewSpace Initiative launched today is an important milestone and we are pleased to have been involved from the beginning as a founding member. Space is currently undergoing an industrial transformation and will play key roles in tackling the climate crisis, global networking, data security and many other fields. Other nations have long understood that the commercialization of space solutions for non-industry users and the industrialization and thus cost reduction of space applications are essential for this and are already celebrating corresponding successes. We are pleased to have found partners in the BDI, the founding members and future members of the initiative to promote these approaches and thus further strengthen Germany's international competitiveness.Sven Meyer-Brunswick, C3PO Mynaric
Space industry indispensable for industrialized countries
In his welcoming statement, Dr. Michael Schöllhorn (CEO, Airbus Defence and Space; President of the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI); Member of the Presiding Committee of the Federation of German Industries (BDI)) emphasized that space is indispensable for an industrialized country. It protects the environment and climate, creates knowledge, information, communication, security and sovereignty, and promotes mobility. Ultimately, he said, aerospace urgently needs to be preserved in terms of access to space in Germany and Europe. While space activities have recently experienced a visible boost in terms of visibility, the German space industry occupies a leading position worldwide. This is reflected in total sales of around 2 billion euros in 2020 and almost 10,000 employees in the industry. The industry is characterized by its networking: System houses, SMEs, large companies and start-ups work hand in hand in many places.
"Sovereignty is not a given"
The space industry, he said, is of extreme importance to society across all sectors and departments, in terms of its economic significance but also in terms of its importance for security and sovereignty. Referring to the planned shoot-down of a retired Russian satellite ( Cosmos 1408) by Russia on November 15, 2021, he emphasized that this independence should not be taken for granted.
Challenges in the space industry are still countless and huge issues like the lack of regulations, rapidly increasing SpaceDebris and unsufficient sustainability are still present. The only way to tackle these, is to join forces and we are more than happy to support the NewSpace initiative with full force in doing so.Daniel Bock, CEO & Co-Founder Morpheus Space
He went on to say that there is a widely common, but undefined and thus diffuse picture of what is meant by the term NewSpace. From his point of view, this means that there should not only be large system houses, but also startups and SMEs. It also means, for example, that financing is not only provided by the state, but also by the private sector, or that new cooperative ventures are established.
In the future, every company will go into space to use its data to achieve and verify their climate goals. The initiative is the ideal platform for this.Thomas Grübler, CEO & Co-Founder OroraTech
Ultimately, NewSpace was a means to an end in terms of the overall industry to serve society, the economy and security. As an "enabler," it served agriculture or industry, among others. That's why collaboration across the board is especially important, he said. With the founding of the New Space Initiative, he said, the time should not be missed to expand and secure Germany's leading position.
Pitches, Working Groups, Next Steps
The next item on the agenda was the self-introduction of all founding members. Each company had one minute for this - and was only allowed to present one slide. The presentation was made in alphabetical order of the representatives of the respective company. Following this item on the agenda, the participants divided into four so-called "working groups". In these groups, the first topics were discussed and spokespersons elected.
|National and international legal framework; funding instruments||Ingo Baumann, Partner at BHO Legal|
|Industry 4.0, connectivity and cybersecurity||Martin Haunschild (Business Development Space, Mynaric) and Marcel Taubert (Head of Division Defence & Space, secunet AG)|
|Sustainability, climate protection, agriculture||Fabian Wendenburg (Managing Director "Familienbetriebe Land und Forst e.V.")|
|Mobility||Sven Przywarra (CEO and Co-Founder LiveEO) and Ulli Leibnitz (Senior Vice President at CGI Germany)|
There are of course several reasons why it makes sense for us to found the NewSpace Initiative. Above all, we see the enormous potential that lies dormant in Germany. We can map the most important components of the satellites all the way to construction, launch, operation and utilization of the acquired data completely in Germany. We are absolutely convinced that New Space will be a key technology and that it is a great opportunity to become a global market leader in this field. We are already working with a large number of the founding members and from this point of view alone we can already say that it is simply fun, not only professionally but also on a human level, to work with these people and to help shape the future.Christian Mittermaier, Co-Founder ConstellR
Before the final networking lunch, Matthias Wachter took a look into the future. After the successful launch of the NewSpace initiative, the task now is to give it visibility and relevance. To this end, there is on the one hand a corresponding page in the business network LinkedIn, but also a own website is part of it. In addition, the initiative will be presented at events in the future. As examples, he cited the Munich Security Conference, the ILA (International Aerospace Exhibition), the BDI's "Industry Day" and the IAA International Motor Show. But also the NewSpace-Breakfast of the BDI is one of them, he said.