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Satnews Daily
February 6th, 2017

OHB Commits to Junior Professorship to Ensure Secure Space Communications 

It is vital that efficient and secure communications channels can be depended upon in the current information society.

To that end OHB System AG, a subsidiary of OHB SE (Prime Standard, ISIN DE0005936124), is funding a junior professorship in secure space communications at the Institute of Information Technology at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich. Dr Christian Hofmann was appointed to the position of junior professor on February 1, 2017 for an initial period of six years and will be conducting research into secure information transmission and processing with a particular focus on space applications. His research activities will concentrate on securing aerial signals.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Knopp, Dekan Prof. Dr.-Ing. Berthold Lankl, Jun. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Hofmann, Dr. Fritz Merkle in front of the Institute's Satellite Ground Station Antenna.

The University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich accommodates this as a research cluster dedicated to cyber security which is unique in Europe is currently emerging there. With this foundation professorship, OHB wants to make a contribution to answering the urgent questions concerning cyber security through partners actively engaged in research. At the same time, the company is anxious to promote young scientific talents.

“The purpose of the foundation professorship is a good fit for OHB’s portfolio, such as the versatile SmallGEO satellite platform on the basis of which we are assembling communications satellites in the 3-ton class for institutional and commercial customers. However, the foundation professorship also marks a further milestone in our good and collaborative work with the German Federal Armed Forces which commenced more than a decade ago with the award of a contract for the first reconnaissance satellites,” says Dr Fritz Merkle, who is pleased that this satellite system is still providing outstanding services in its tenth year of service and whose replacement system is now also being developed by OHB System AG. OHB is ready to partner the German Federal Armed Forces for telecommunications links—final contractual negotiations are currently ongoing for the civil/military telecommunications satellite Heinrich Hertz and we hope to soon be able take this project on board,” Dr Merkle added.

“Dr Hofmann has an excellent track record in satellite communications, possesses industrial experience and, as a former officer, is acquainted with the particular requirements of military information transmission,” says Prof Dr Knopp, one of the heads of the Institute of Information Technology and head of Satellite Communications. “Satellites for transmitting information constitute critical infrastructure for all authorities and organizations tasked with security duties. As a prominent transmission medium, however, they are also exposed to particular threats in cyber space.” The dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology Prof Dr Berthold Lankl adds: “For this reason, the creation of this foundation professorship marks an important contribution for our faculty, allowing us to step up our numerous research activities aimed at ensuring the secure transmission of information in the cyber context.”

More on the Institute of Information Technology of the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich can be found here.