Trade mission strengthens German-Dutch cooperation in space sector

A two-day trade mission of Dutch space companies and institutions to Bremen, Germany on March 5 and 6 has already yielded results. The province of Zuid-Holland and SpaceNed found a new partner in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and space cluster AviaSpace. The German company OHB and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands intend to expand their cooperation in satellite production.

The trade mission, led by Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade, follows the successful 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), held in Bremen four months ago. The minister is accompanied by nearly fifty representatives from 25 companies and institutions. The trade mission coincides with a royal visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima to Bremen and Bremerhaven. The royal couple joined part of the programme to be informed about the latest developments in the space sector.

Satellite parts

At the facilities of Airbus in Bremen, German satellite developer OHB and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands signed a Letter of Intent. The companies already worked together in the development of Europe’s satellite navigation system Galileo: OHB is prime contractor for over thirty satellites, Airbus Netherlands provides the solar panels. They want to expand their cooperation to satellite structures and thermal subsystems.

‘This Letter of Intent marks the expansion of our cooperation and provides concrete goals for the future’, according to Frank Meiboom, Director Programmes & Innovation at Airbus Netherlands. ‘OHB is a very satisfied customer of our solar panels. We will investigate whether Airbus could also supply structural parts that provide thermal control and antenna deployment mechanisms. Airbus Netherlands has a wealth of expertise and experience in these areas.’

Cooperation between the province of Zuid-Holland and Bremen

During the trade mission the province of Zuid-Holland and SpaceNed signed a Joint Declaration of Intent with the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and space cluster AviaSpace. Zuid-Holland, together with the Dutch government and the municipality of Noordwijk are investing the development of a Space Campus, where space-related businesses will be clustered close to ESA’s technical center ESTEC. In Bremen, AviaSpace has a similar strategy, combining space businesses. Both regions expect to learn a lot from each other in the coming years.

‘Bremen and the province of Zuid-Holland face similar challenges’, says Renate Beausoleil, senior policy officer of Economic Affairs with the province of Zuid-Holland. ‘By cooperating, e.g. in the areas of research and development, academics and best practices, we can learn from each other’s success. Together with SpaceNed, Bremen and AviaSpace we will formulate the next concrete steps in this cooperation before the end of this year.’

Even more results

Harm van de Wetering, the delegation leader and Director of the Netherlands Space Office, is pleased with the results of the trade mission to Bremen. ‘We’ve had two very intensive days, during which German and Dutch companies got better acquainted. Companies and institutions explored the possibilities of cooperation. International cooperation is often a lengthy process. If we can follow up this trade mission in a good way, I am certain it will be a good basis for even more results.’