A column by Marco Fuchs: thoughts about time and space

Why we need more funding for space travel

The benefits of space travel are in the foreground 

 

 

 

August 20 2018. Space is an exciting business - this is stating the obvious for anyone who works in the space industry. However, it is also a necessary instrument for many other industries and segments, as well as being a source of aspiration for many people. Not many people realize that space travel is also important for the government. Indeed, the government is the largest player in space and is active on both sides of the field - on the one hand, it is an important customer, offering its citizens crucial space applications, such as satellite navigation or meteorological satellites. On the other, the government sponsors space travel via technology promotion programs to preserve, expand or implement important skills in this area.

The “National Program for Space and Innovation” lays the foundations for the competitiveness of the German space industry. It develops important technologies of the future which, with the government’s support, will enable us to advance our products using state-of-the-art technology. Under DLR’s leadership, we are working closely with researchers and scientists to develop those technologies and capabilities that offer the greatest possible benefit to all users. One aspect of this involves developing technologies in space for use as spin-offs in other industries, one recent example of this being carbon fiber composites.

Although a strong national program for space and innovation cannot keep an industry such as space afloat on its own, it does support many developments which a single company is not able to fund out of its own pocket. It is therefore also worth looking a little further afield to see that in France, for example, the national development program is funded much more copiously, with the government contributing around one billion euros a year, compared with only 276 million euros in Germany for the coming year. Does this make any difference? Fortunately not at first glance as otherwise France would be leagues ahead of us. Yet, in some areas the effects of the greater government spending on national roadmaps are visible as there are more national satellite programs giving our French peers a better starting position in the corresponding ESA programs.

That is why we have joined forces with many other companies and institutions in the German space industry to call for a step-by-step increase in the national program for space and innovation in order to broaden the basis for groundbreaking technological developments. We have a number of program proposals which we believe will benefit citizens because the benefits for humanity are always at the forefront of everything that we do.


Personal details:

Born in 1962, Marco Fuchs studied law in Berlin, Hamburg and New York. He worked as an attorney in New York and Frankfurt am Main from 1992 to 1995. In 1995, he joined OHB, the company that his parents had built up. He has been Chief Executive Officer of OHB SE since 2000 and of OHB System AG since 2011. Marco Fuchs is married and has two children.