Bremen Reaches for the Stars – 11 Current Aerospace Projects from the Hanseatic CityAerospace
Using space ports, spacecraft and space probes to expand the frontiers of the known universe
Reusable rockets, new space stations, shooting down asteroids and our own space port: the future is calling and Bremen's aerospace companies are answering, loud and clear. 11 projects support the drive to conquer space.
Bremen is famously known as the "City of Space", with 140 companies active in the aviation and aerospace industries. Nowhere else in Germany can you find such a wealth of expertise in this field. It's the perfect breeding ground for new ideas. Here is a selection of the aerospace projects that will come to fruition over the coming years and decades, with the help of Bremen's experts:
11 current aerospace projects in Bremen
Selected industrial projects
1. Ariane 6
Europe's new heavy-cargo rocket will carry payloads into orbit more flexibly than its predecessor, Ariane 5, and at a lower cost. The rocket's upper stage is being developed and built at the ArianeGroup site in Bremen. It will take satellites into space and position them in their predefined orbits. The first launch from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, is planned for mid-2024.
The reusability of carrier rockets is a matter of primary concern to the industry. SUSIE, the holistic approach taken by ArianeGroup in Bremen, was presented at the Space Tech Expo international aerospace event in Bremen in November 2023. SUSIE (the Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration) is a rocket that can return to Earth, either with or without a payload, to be reused multiple times.
3. Artemis European Service Module
NASA plans to return to the Moon with its Artemis programme. Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen is building the European Service Module (ESM). This is the vehicle that will supply astronauts with power, water and the air they need to breathe. Its initial flight (an unmanned test flight) in 2020 was extremely successful and a second launch, with four astronauts, is planned for 2025.
By 2030, the International Space Station (ISS) will have reached the end of its working life. Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen is currently working together with Voyager Space, its American partner, to design a successor station, which is to be developed and operated on a commercial basis.
5. Meteosat Third Generation
Consisting of six satellites, the third generation of the Meteosat satellite system will revolutionise weather forecasting and make it possible to monitor changes to the atmosphere, the Earth's surface and its oceans with even greater accuracy. OHB SE, based in Bremen, is developing and building all the satellite platforms and is responsible for designing and creating new instruments that will significantly improve our understanding of the Earth's climatic system.
Efficient climate research without space travel is simply unthinkable. For example, where exactly does the CO2 in our atmosphere come from? CO2M, the European Earth monitoring mission, aims to provide the answers. In Bremen, the company OHB SE is leading an international industrial consortium which is working flat-out to build the satellites needed for this mission before 2025. For the very first time, CO2M will make it possible to identify anthropogenic CO2 emissions (caused by human activity) as distinct from those produced naturally and then trace them back to their source.
HERA, the European space probe, which has been developed and is being built by OHB in Bremen, is tasked with investigating the Didymos/Dimorphos binary asteroid system. The danger of an asteroid colliding with the Earth is real. As part of the HERA mission, ESA and NASA want to discover how asteroids can be deflected from their path, to protect the Earth. HERA is the follow-up mission to NASA's DART probe. In 2022, DART impacted the Dimorphos asteroid at around 23,000 km/h to change its orbit. HERA will investigate the effects of this impact. Its launch is planned for 2024.
The German Offshore Spaceport Alliance (GOSA) is a joint venture involving four companies, one of which is Bremen's OHB. It plans to create a floating space port in the North Sea. Having a launch site in the North Sea would provide an alternative to existing European launch sites and be another step towards giving Europe independent access to space.
Selected start-up projects
9. POLARIS Raumflugzeuge GmbH
Polaris aims to create a brand new category of space vehicle: it will take off like an airplane and then transition to rocket flight to bring its payload into orbit before returning to Earth and landing like an airplane. This ambitious team has already built the first demonstration vehicles, one of which was recently presented at the Space Tech Expo aerospace event.
10. Marble Imaging
Until now, it was the Starlink communications service operated by SpaceX that was most widely known for its use of swarms of little satellites, known as constellations. The brand new Marble Imaging start-up in Bremen plans to send its own constellation of around 200 satellites into space, with the aim of monitoring the Earth in high resolution to provide real-time data, which can then be evaluated automatically.
Science/University/Technical University (a selection)
11. Humans on Mars
This project, run by the University of Bremen, will investigate options for the long-term exploration of Mars. It is looking at habitats, human aspects such as interaction and communication between people and mixed human-machine teams, and how to achieve sustainable exploitation of local resources for the production of consumables and replacement parts.
Our series "Aerospace in Bremen":
Part 1: Bremen Reaches for the Stars – 11 Current Aerospace Projects from the Hanseatic City
Part 2: 8 Aerospace Companies from Bremen
100 years of aircraft construction in Bremen - an impressive history full of top achievements. Airbus operates the second largest production site in Germany in Bremen on the site of the former Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG. Bremen site manager Joachim Betker takes a look at the past, present and future.Learn more
Bremen has earned itself the title "City of Space". Some of the most important space projects of the past decades were launched into space with Bremen technology and knowledge. But who is behind them? A look at eight companies from the industry.Learn more