Since 1 April 2011, Gerd Gruppe is Member of the DLR Executive Board, responsible for the German Space Administration. Born in 1952, he grew up near Aachen in the very Western part of Germany.
He received a degree in mining from RWTH Aachen University. Upon completion of an internship at the Bureau of Mines in Munich, he obtained a doctorate degree in Energy Marketing at Augsburg while continuing to pursue his career. He then transferred to the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology. Initially, he was responsible for promoting research and for technology transfer, and later had his first professional experience with space.
In the late 1980s he was involved in the establishment of the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) at DLR's Oberpfaffenhofen site. Later, as Head of the Department of Research, Innovation and Technology at the same ministry, he greatly advanced the development of Bavaria as a location for space activities, particularly with his involvement in the Galileo Control Centre and the world-renowned Robotics and Mechatronics Center – both based at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen.