The independent exploitation of space and unrestricted access to the necessary high-technology products are essential for a country to assert its own political and economic interests. Both for Germany and for Europe it is crucial to have unobstructed access to critical space technologies and components.
By developing dedicated technologies in this field, the Space Administration prepares the ground for autonomous political action, while at the same time enabling German enterprises and research institutes to co-operate and compete at a high level. Furthermore, in association with the European space organisation ESA, it is helping to prepare Germany’s and Europe’s space technology to meet the requirements of the next decade.
Space presents an extreme challenge to engineers and scientists. For a mission to succeed, devices and instruments must work perfectly, often at great distances and under conditions that could not be more extreme: heat, cold, radiation, and vacuum. Technologies designed for space must be capable of guaranteeing the autonomous or semi-autonomous operation of space infrastructures. These requirements tax the creativity of engineers and scientists to the utmost. This holds true for launcher systems, satellites, and space probes as well as for the International Space Station and future exploratory missions.
Moreover, a spacefaring nation like Germany needs modern ground infrastructure to prepare space missions in the best possible way, and to provide accurate control and dependable protection. To meet these needs, Germany operates test facilities for rocket engines and satellites, satellite receiving stations, and the German Space Operations Centre. The European Space Control Centre, the Columbus Control Centre, and the European Astronaut Centre are domiciled in Germany.
The soaring numbers of spacecraft orbiting the Earth has become a serious challenge to their own operation. For this reason, Germany has set up an inter-departmental national Space Situational Awareness Centre to monitor space, and has committed itself to sustainable spaceflight and to avoiding space debris.