Der Weltraum als Wirtschafts- und Innovationstreiber

07 June 2023 | 6 - 8 p.m. | Lecture Hall VII, Main Building University of Bonn

Sixth event of the lecture series „Nach den Sternen greifen. Der Weltraum als Wirtschafts-, Lebens- und Wettbewerbsraum im 21. Jahrhundert“ (Summersemester 2023) with Dr. Arne Gausepohl.

The value of the global space industry, which now consists of more than 10,000 companies (about half of them in the U.S.), has exceeded the $4,000 billion threshold in 2021. Although Europe has the second largest space industry globally - with Russia, France and Germany as the three major European players - attention to this important field of business and innovation is much greater in other parts of the world, such as the US. This may be due to the enormous public spending (the U.S. government spends more money on space than all other nations combined) or the disruptive pioneering work being done by companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX, but in any case it is at odds with the current performance of the European space industry.

While the lack of public engagement with space in Germany and other European countries is astonishing, the growth of the global space industry, which at nearly 7% per year since 2005 is double that of the global economy as a whole, is eminently understandable: The space-based infrastructure around our planet performs a variety of extremely important tasks, which are indispensable for the functioning of ultra-modern industrial societies. This applies not only to the faultless functioning of energy supply, ATMs, navigation or stock exchange trading. Without the data obtained via satellites, the global course and regional consequences of climate change are also much more difficult to record. Ensuring the reliable and sustainable functioning of this space-based infrastructure is thus vital for the survival of human civilization in many respects.

After an introduction to the basic economic importance of the technology field "space", the lecture will use the example of the economic and strategic importance of satellite data to show in more depth the enormous potential that data obtained via satellites hold for finding answers to the complex questions and global challenges of our time. In this context, the development of, among others, new satellite constellations in the field of Earth Observation (EO) is a great opportunity for many industries. The commercial EO market is expected to continue to grow strongly, mainly due to the commercialization of EO services and data sales. Currently, the space flight is experiencing a tremendous upswing due to two factors, including:

  1. increasing supply of data: There will be over 1,700 satellites launched into orbit annually in the next few years. Emerging commercial satellite constellations are characterized by higher spatial resolution and continuous coverage. They will produce more and innovative data in the near future.
  2. increasing demand for data: Today's multiple challenges and strategic megatrends are forcing us to find answers and better understand the impact of our actions. This creates a huge demand for new data. Security, climate, and ESG requirements are just a few examples here. Objective data from space will foreseeably play an important role in this evolution.

These drivers are leading to an exponentially growing market with huge potential for private sector companies. The greatest challenge, but also the greatest economic benefit, lies in transforming the volumes of data into applicable information and insights, in which German and European companies will play a major role.

VA 07.06 Der Weltraum als Wirtschafts- und Innovationstreiber


Opening remarks:

Dr. Enrico Fels
Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies, University of Bonn


Dr. Arne Gausepohl
Managing Director OHB Digital Services


Dr. Cedric Bierganns
Consultant Security Policy and Federal Armed Forces, Federal City Bonn Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation

In close cooperation of:

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