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OHB supporting ESA BIC Challenge at the INNOspace Masters — Start-ups awarded

Bremen, 17. May 2017. At the INNOspace Masters Awards ceremony, which was held in the presence of Brigitte Zypries, the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, in Berlin, Sebastian Marcu prevailed over the competition with his “Bake in Space” project in the ESA BIC Challenge supported by OHB. The ESA BIC Challenge is searching for business ideas and new business models aimed at achieving substantial progress in the commercialization of space. This was the second time that OHB SE (Prime Standard, ISIN DE0005936124) supported the ESA BIC Challenge and the company is eagerly awaiting the exchange with the winners.

“We are always on the lookout for new ideas and creative minds to enrich our already highly innovative-driven industry,” explained Dr. Fritz Merkle, a member of the Management Board of OHB SE and a mentor of the ESA BIC Challenge, during the presentation of the awards. The purpose of the ESA BIC Challenge is to find start-ups with innovative ideas that can be prepared for market readiness at one of the two German business incubation centers (ESA BIC Darmstadt or ESA BIC Bavaria). OHB is providing intensive support for the process and offering detailed advice in the preparation of the business plan. Although access to OHB’s very broad and well-managed network is not part of the award, the start-ups are still happy to make use of this opportunity.

The purpose of “Bake in Space” is to bake fresh bread and typical German bread rolls on board the ISS under weightless conditions. To this end, a space-qualified oven for baking a special dough suitable for space conditions is to be developed and built. In second place of the ESA BIC Challenge came a solution seeking to improve Europe’s access to space: MESA, a modular and stackable launcher structure element will provide CubeSats, in-orbit demonstrations and experiments with swift access to space. It will be transmitted as a secondary payload on board the European Vega rocket. The candidate coming in third place is also devoted to space access: RML Spacelab is a multipurpose floating platform for vertical take-off vehicles which is easy to transport and offers inexpensive launch possibilities including for non-certified trial rockets thanks to its flexible deployability in international waters.

“We are deeply committed to supporting the ESA BIC Challenge. We see ourselves as a “start-up with experience” and would therefore like to help good ideas find their way onto the market,” added Merkle, who over many years has watched the once small Bremen-based company OHB evolve into one of the three leading space systems specialists in Europe. “This combination with the focus on commercializing space in the ESA BIC Challenge is ideal for us as we are currently working intensively on expanding this area ourselves and sharing ideas with start-ups is generating impetus that OHB as the incumbent can benefit from,” Merkle said.

In addition, OHB Group companies took part successfully in the INNOspace competition in conjunction with Fraunhofer research institutes. In DLR Space Administration’s challenge, second place was won by the AMPFORS (Additive Manufacturing of Polymer Parts for Space) project, which was developed by Fraunhofer IST from Braunschweig together with OHB System AG and Rauch. The purpose of AMPFORS is to replace metallic structural components in space with light plastic parts. This can make satellites up to 20% lighter and, thus, as much as 50% cheaper. Working in conjunction with Fraunhofer LBF, MT Aerospace AG reached third place in the DLR challenge. Using glass fiber sensors that are integrated in the production process for composites for the Ariane 6 booster, it is possible to monitor production more effectively and thus to optimize it in order to lower production costs.


* Group picture: Finalists, presenters, partners & sponsors – among them Brigitte Zypries (Bundesministerin für Wirtschaft und Energie), Prof. Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund (Vorstandsvorsitzende des DLR), Dr. Gerd Gruppe (DLR Raumfahrtmanagement), Dr. Franziska Zeitler (DLR Raumfahrtmanagement), Henning Wichmann (INVENT GmbH), Linus Froböse (TU Braunschweig), Stefan Linke (INVENT GmbH), Prof. Dr.-Ing Enrico Stoll (TU Braunschweig) as well as Dr. Fritz Merkle (OHB SE). 
© DLR / Leuschner

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