The NewSpace Sector in Germany / Status of the German New Space Economy

An article by Sven Przywarra

The global space sector is going through profound changes. Ventures with innovative concepts are entering the market, backed by venture capital and often with a focus on the generation of data or vertical integration. A popular term for this development is NewSpace which was accelerated among other things by progress in miniaturisation, standardisation and activities from well-known billionaires and NASA.

What is the status of the German NewSpace Sector?

Where are companies which follow such an approach? The short answer is: The German NewSpace Sector is small and still in its infancy. You can count the few companies which are “NewSpace PurePlayers” on the fingers of one hand with “Components & Hardware” and “Earth Observation” as the two biggest groups. Within the first category protagonists are still following mostly relatively conservative business models but are more and more offering their products and services “off-the shelf” and to a fixed price, Berlin Space Technologies is a notable exception and an interesting example. OHB and Airbus are still trying to figure out how to incorporate the start-up idea into their companies. Within “Earth Observation” most of the companies analyse public satellite image libraries. Interestingly one of the most important acquisitions of the US American company Planet was a German-based company founded as RapidEye which now is the German branch of the NewSpace giant. (Thus, we see them as a part of the German NewSpace Ecosystem.)

Other smaller groups within the sector are “Navigation & Communication” which faces big international competition (e.g. OneWeb) and “Science & Ex-Orbit” with PTScientists as an endeavour backed by sponsors.

NewSpace Germany / New Space Germany

What is the reason for this situation?

Germany, with its excellent network of Universities and research institutes, has a perfect base for successful high-tech companies in this field but a lack in culture of starting up and difficulties in finding funding for such ambitious and risky business hinder the development of a strong sector.

There are signs and efforts for a change of the status quo. Numerous VC firms expressed their interest in investing in NewSpace companies, some of them made deals abroad. OHB as well as Airbus founded their own venture arms but notably investments in German Space StartUps are not known to us. It seems like the institutional site also wants to stimulate movements in this sector: StartUp Nights at the Federal Ministry for Economic Effairs and Energy and competitions for early stage projects on a national (InnoSpaceMasters) and European level (Copernicus Masters / Gallileo Masters) show small successes.

From our understanding at NewSpaceVision the lack in culture must be tackled at an even earlier stage: People must be educated about the grown opportunities and applications of space technology in the upstream (hardware) and downstream (software) market and individuals from different industries and backgrounds need to be connected and brought together over this topic to catalyse a free discussion and finally develop new use cases and businesses. With our events and the conference, we are trying to pursue that goal.

Actions need to be taken now to avoid the space market (after the internet) to be dominated by American companies only. For the benefit of a well flourishing market the last frontier should also be tackled by more NewSpaceVisionaries from Europe and Germany.

Disclaimer:

[This article was prepared and written by me in my personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are my own. I would be happy to receive your feedback! Feel free to contact me via direct message or via e-mail.]




NewSpaceVision #8: CloudEO (Event following the INNOspace Masters)

When: 17.05.2017, 19:00 – 22:00
Where: Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at TU Berlin, Marchstraße 12-14, 10587 Berlin 

Dear NewSpaceVisionaries,

On the 17th of May we will be able to welcome the CEO of CloudEO Dr. Manfred Krischke!

CloudEO is one of the most interesting companies on the german earth observation market. Their unique software  and market place helps companies to understand and analyse earth observation data more easily. They provide a worldwide and vendor-independent GeoMarketplace, simplifying the geobusiness for customers and partners. These services include solutions for many industries from agriculture to urban planning as well as multi-purpose remote sensing imagery, elevation data and thematic maps.

The Final of the INNOSpace Masters will take place in Berlin on the same day and we thought that would be the perfect occasion for our next NewSpaceVision event.

If you are a visitor of the INNOSpaceMasters Final: The INNOSpace Masters will end at 16.30 so there is plenty of time to come to the TU Berlin and close the day with an interesting talk about downstream applications of earth observation, a topic which is not really covered at the masters.

• If you want to support our MeetUp you are invited to do so by donating a free amount on this eventbrite page: Eventbrite.

• We wrote a small piece on the status of the german new space sectorhave a look and tell us what you think. Follow us on facebook and twitter and feel free to tell your friends and colleagues about NewSpaceVision.

See you at the event!

Regards,

Sven & Daniel