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Berlin to go, english edition, 02/2019

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Engineer Sebastian

Engineer Sebastian Scheiding, managing director of Astroand Feinwerktechnik Adlershof GmbH, with “RW90,” a reaction wheel for satellites DOES BERLIN-BASED SPACE RESEARCH ALSO HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON OUR EVERYDAY LIVES HERE ON EARTH? Indeed, our lives would look a lot different without aerospace technology. It starts already when you turn on the television: things like TV reception, live reporting on the evening news and even the weather forecast are made possible thanks to satellites. There’s also navigation systems in cars, location services on your cell phone, traffic reports, the networked applications associated with the Internet of Things, even “big data” research findings. Each one of us uses aerospace technology roughly one hundreds of times a day and doesn’t even notice. And then there are many other higher-ranking facets: for example, a DLR project at Adlershof is revolutionizing agriculture technology with regard to the right times to water and fertilize crops using information from space through the eyes of the “DESIS” spectrometer. The Berlin startup LiveEO works on infrastructure monitoring using satellite data; for example, it can determine where and which type of trees are standing too close to train tracks or whether there’s a threat of a landslide somewhere. Our satellites “TET-1” and “BIROS” are part of the DLR’s “FireBIRD” mission and make it possible to detect fires at an early stage, even lowenergy fires such as peat and coal-seam fires. This serves primarily to prevent disasters, but it’s also a very important component in protecting the climate. It allows us to identify environmental polluters and put a stop to their game. These are just a few examples of the versatile work being done in Berlin. APROPOS … WHAT ARE THE PARTICU­ LAR STRENGTHS OF YOUR COMPANY BESIDES SMALLSATS? We are a medium-sized aerospace company. My father founded it in 1993. Today, we have roughly 80 people working for us here in Adlershof. Our team develops, manufactures and tests aerospace components, especially position control components and systems as well as complex mechanisms for satellites. We take up a leadership role and are involved in many exciting missions both as part of national projects initiated by the DLR as well as for the European Space Agency (ESA). We generate 50% of our sales on international markets, and this makes us one of the region’s master exporters. WHAT ROLE DOES BERLIN PARTNER PLAY FOR YOUR COMPANY AND IN THE BERLIN SPACE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE? Berlin Partner is the glue that brings together various companies, mostly SMEs like us, and the vital startup scene. These networks generate a wealth of innovative ideas that then go on to receive funding. Especially in this field, Berlin Partner is a great place to get helpful tips. Each aerospace company has its own unique interests, but with Berlin Partner we speak with one common voice. AND WHAT DOES THIS COMMON VOICE AIM TO ACHIEVE? WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF THE SPACE INDUSTRY IN BERLIN LOOK LIKE? Aerospace is sexy and will always be that way. In order set ourselves apart from other strong regions in Germany, our sector needs political support and dialogue so that we can strengthen our standing and prevent high-tech from moving abroad. If we succeed at doing that, I see Berlin’s aerospace sector having its own state-of-the-art profile within 20 years – along with many spinoffs. It will be a healthy ecosystem that creates many jobs in the realm of cutting-edge technology and makes it possible for research and industry to complement each other in optimal ways. In a couple of decades, instead of having a rocket airfield in Tegel, we might actually have a spacefield in Tempelhof where we can launch our SmallSats into space. Photo: © Astro- und Feinwerktechnik Adlershof GmbH 16

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