Being part of the Network opens new opportunities for LR BW – Forum Luft- und Raumfahrt Baden-Württemberg, the aerospace forum based in the Baden-Württemberg region (Full NEREUS member).
NEREUS Board member and Managing Director Forum Aerospace Baden-Wuerttemberg, Senator E.h. Wolfgang Wolf, shares with us more insights about organisation’s role in the space sector and why the organization joined NEREUS in the following short interview!
- Baden-Württemberg (NEREUS member) is a major location for space technology in Europe hosting large companies such as Ariane Group, Airbus Defence and Space, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Can you share with us a few words about your network organisation Aerospace Forum Baden-Wuerttemberg (LR BW) and its role in Baden-Württemberg and Europe? How does your organisation distinguish itself from other aerospace districts and where would you see your strengths.
The Baden-Württemberg’s space industry is particularly strong in terms of infrastructure. The Baden-Württemberg space sector covers the entire value chain. In addition, it is primarily the small and medium-sized enterprises that offer added value in satellite missions and applications with their high-precision components in optronics, electronics and mechanics, among others.
Furthermore, the large integrators and innovators, such as Airbus Defence and Space, TESAT and Hensoldt, bring the use of Baden-Württemberg components into space and can rely on the know-how of the engineers from Baden-Württemberg.
Likewise, the role of the research organisations and the universities must be emphasized. In Lampoldshausen, for example, the propulsion systems of Ariane are tested and thus have several decades of experience in this field and also contributed to the development of hydrogen solutions in the transformation process towards decarbonization. In addition, the university trains about one-third of the graduates in Germany in aerospace technology. It is precisely the universities and research institutions that develop small satellites and lightweight solutions. In addition, a number of government agencies are using satellite data in Gäoodesie.
Moreover, a growing number of start-ups such as HyImpuls, which develops micro-launchers use satellite applications in the BtB sector.
- You are a forum of space companies- could you please share with us any information (statistics, etc) on what extend the space industry contributed to the growth of your region in the last years?
As a result of the Corona crisis, structural changes also had to be integrated into the space sector. In 2020, 3,800 people were employed in the space sector, which generated a turnover of 0.9 billion. We expect the global space market to resemble the international automobile market in 2040. Accordingly, there is extremely great potential, especially for technology providers in Baden-Württemberg. As the most innovative region in Europe (4.9 per cent of GDP is invested in research and development), we are hoping to expand in the course of new Space and the local ecosystem. To this end, we are currently campaigning for the state government to call for its support for the space industry.
- According to your experience, how important is the use of space technologies and data in terms of innovation, research and regional development in your territory? What are the specificities of BW?
In Baden-Württemberg, there are a number of service providers that use satellite data in the logistics sector, among others. In addition, especially large public authorities use satellite data to monitor green spaces and water quality.
- One of the key activities of NEREUS is to promote cooperation between and within the regions. How do you see the added value of interregional collaborations and partnerships for your activities and for the realization of your projects?
Baden-Württemberg is considered the industrial core of Europe. Many of the SMEs have a high degree of internationalisation. In addition, Baden-Württemberg is the homeland of so-called “hidden champions”, i.e. international market leaders in certain market segments or niches.
In the space sector, the industry is internationally positioned. Through NEREUS, a number of space regions were recently brought together to support the Smart Specialisation Platform in Sweden (Norrbotten).
In particular, research organisations such as DLR are looking for research partners, especially in Europe. The exchange and cooperations are very intensive.
- Why did you decide to join our Network? Have you had any previous experience with NEREUS?
The Baden-Württemberg Aerospace Forum has represented the state as a full member of the NEREUS network for several years. Our Managing Director, Wolfgang Wolf, has been the Chief Financial Officer of NEREUS for several years. Since we wanted to intensify the exchange and expand the space sector in the future, it was only a logical step to join the network as an associate member, financed by industry. This is also connected to the goal of giving the Baden-Württemberg space industry more visibility in society, politics, and business.
- How would you like to use the NEREUS platform? Are there any activities / projects of great importance to your organization that you wish to share with us?
We would soon like to explore how our network can participate in European projects, for example. In this way, we want to initiate projects that offer added value to society. This also involves intensifying the exchange between the space regions and integrating regional start-ups and lateral entrants.