The German space industry is contributing far more than you think to the modern space race, especially to the moon.
It was thanks to German scientists that both the United States and the former Soviet Union launched their rocket programs that would eventually make space exploration a possibility.
The German space industry is still contributing to the modern space race, not as secretly as in the Post War era, but it often goes unnoticed as their efforts are dispersed into space programs in Europe and the world.
As the biggest economy in Europe, Germany is the top contributor to the budget of the European Space Agency (ESA), with 22.7% of the total budget.
Beyond hard cash, the German space industry is instrumental in the development of European space projects and other space programs, especially those related to the moon.
LUNA, a 1000-m2- Lunar Analogue in Germany
To study different scenarios of life on the moon, exploration, and concepts of lunar camps, the ESA is building a Lunar Analogue, or LUNA. An official statement explained that:
“When operational, [LUNA] will provide the capability to run high-level integrated simulations, combining a habitat, lunar terrain, a Mission Control Centre (MCC) and related communication infrastructure.”
Located in Cologne, Germany, LUNA is a 1000-square-meter facility that will rely on solar power to run through an energy facility. At the heart of this energy facility will be a fuel cell developed by French company Air Liquide.
“At DLR, the research areas of space and energy are working closely together on this project, because on Earth, the technologies may contribute to a more environmentally friendly energy supply,” said Hansjörg Dittus, DLR Executive Board Member.
LUNA is expected to be delivered by the end of 2019.
But the German space industry isn’t just invested in publicly-funded projects; there are also a number of German companies involved in projects overseas.
Two German Companies Work on Blue Origin’s Lunar Lander
German aerospace companies participation also extends across the Atlantic Ocean.
Jeff Bezos‘ Blue Origin, whose core mission is “moving heavy industry from Earth into space”, said it’s working on a project called Blue Moon.
The company describes Blue Moon as a “large lunar lander” that’s in the conceptual design phase.
In the same statement released on September 2, Blue Origin also announced it would be collaborating with two German aerospace companies, OHB Space Systems and MT Aerospace, on the Blue Moon mission.
We know a few details of the collaboration on the Blue Moon lunar mission as the three parties have just signed a Letter of Intent (LOI).
OHB said in a statement:
“The companies have partnered on a future Blue Moon mission to the lunar surface – Blue Origin’s lunar lander will be capable of bringing several metric tons of cargo to the Moon. The companies will collaborate on a payload onboard Blue Origin’s reusable orbital rocket New Glenn. The use of these systems and possible cooperation will be the subject of in-depth discussions in the transatlantic dialogue.”
Today, every nation in the world is becoming more involved in the global space race, but it will be powerful and influential economies like Germany which will eventually decide the direction of our expeditions into space.