On June 22, 2016, OHB System AG and Fraunhofer Space Alliance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a long-term research and development partnership.
The memorandum was signed during a technology day in which Fraunhofer presented its capabilities at OHB System AG’s new site in Oberpfaffenhofen. The motto of the technology day was “tomorrow’s technologies for today’s space flight.” Eleven different Space Alliance institutions took part in this event. The technology day highlighted the significance of the Oberpfaffenhofen aerospace site in national and European space research.
OHB System AG, as Germany’s leading space systems specialist, and Fraunhofer, as the largest applied research institution in Europe, have been working together closely and successfully on various projects for many years. The memorandum seeks to place this partnership on a steadier footing and to anchor it at an enterprise-wide level for OHB and Fraunhofer.
Fraunhofer is presenting its diverse capabilities at the OHB site in the form of an exhibition with more than 70 different items including miniature semiconductor switches for satellite electronics and a full-scale structure for robot-based measurements to automatically determine the reflection properties of materials for use in space. One particular highlight is a preliminary study on an optical mirror featuring a coated component made from a carbon-fiber composite. Composite-based components achieve weight savings of up to 90 percent compared with conventional metal-based components. The Fraunhofer institutes PYCO, IST and IPT are involved in the development project.
The Fraunhofer Space Alliance is composed of 15 institutes engaging in applied research into space technology. The Alliance members pool their technological capabilities to offer their customers a single point of contact. In this way, Fraunhofer acts as a systems specialist developing various types of components that comply with the highest quality standards, integrating them in a single system for the customer. With the wide range of different technological skills contributed by the participating institutes, the Fraunhofer Space Alliance is able to offer its customers a unique range of capabilities.
Dr. Fritz Merkle, the Management Board member of OHB SE responsible for strategy and business development and chairman of the advisory board of the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB), sees great potential for the intensified partnership and said, “Fraunhofer and OHB are two strong and experienced partners in space technology. By pooling their resources and combining their expertise, they will be able to open up many a gateway to space a good deal more effectively and to develop beneficial solutions for tomorrow’s word. I am looking forward to this.”