Nowhere in Germany is bigger in the aerospace industry than Bremen. We spoke to Bremen-based scientists working on the space side of aerospace about their projects, their life in the city, and their tips on where to live and where to visit.
In 2018, Bremen is celebrating Space Year with a packed programme of events and activities that culminates in the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in the autumn. We spoke to experts from the industry in the run-up to the IAC to find out what they are working on, what they love about Bremen, and what they feel the city is missing. You can read all their interviews in full on the city website Bremen.de.
Why do we conduct research into space in the first place? Is it of any benefit to us down here on earth? Dr Marco Scharringhausen works for the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center. One objective of his research is to better understand the earth and its processes. Finding out more about atmospheres on other planets could, for example, provide us with insights into the earth’s atmosphere and climate change. Dr Eva Hackmann from the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen knows that it often takes decades for scientific findings to yield practical benefits. Her research into relativistic geodesy may also prove helpful in the fight against climate change. The environment is also a concern in the work of Dr Michael Buchwitz from the University of Bremen’s Institute of Environmental Physics. The physicist uses measurements obtained from satellites and aircraft to play his part in climate protection.
Dr Martin Sippel also works for the German Aerospace Center but on a different ambitious goal: "We want to make space travel more affordable for everyone." Daniel Pika from the ArianeGroup takes a similar view. Getting to a point where human beings can live on other planets is the end goal of his research. The research being done by Dr Alexander Schneider, a project manager at OHB SE, looks like it could be very useful for us consumers. Schneider wants to "dramatically reduce the price per bit per second (data volume) that is transported from the satellite to make it affordable for more people". Dr Sebastian Bartsch works on space robotics at the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. He believes that robots can have applications in a number of areas, from carrying out repairs to satellites and clearing orbits of space debris to making deep-see exploration more efficient.
From all over the world to Bremen
Some of the space experts were born and bred in Bremen and can’t see any reason to leave. Buchwitz jokes: "My parents didn’t give me any say in where I was born, but I’m happy with my fate nonetheless." Of course, the Hanseatic city also attracts researchers from other parts of Germany. As a student in Dresden, Paul Zabel came to Bremen to do an internship at the German Aerospace Center. He’s now employed full time there, working on technologies for cultivating plants in space. Professor Uwe Apel hails from Kassel in central Germany. After completing his PhD in Berlin, he moved to Bremen for a job and decided to stay. He’s now head of the degree programme at Bremen University of Applied Sciences and is acting head of the Institute of Aerospace Technology. Dr Valerie Schröder returned to Bremen to work at Airbus: "I was a student in Bremen, then after several years in Stuttgart working on my PhD, I was drawn back to northern Germany." Elisa Manfreda comes from even further afield. The native Italian followed her husband to Bremen when he got a job in the city. She now works at HE Space Operations as a senior international recruiter for the space industry.
Germany’s space industry capital
The scientists have a lot of positive things to say about Bremen. They speak highly about the networks and the large community of space companies, research institutes and universities. Sippel would even go so far as to say that Bremen is Germany’s space industry capital. "Where else can you get to a business meeting at the airport by bike?" adds Buchwitz. "Everything is concentrated in a really small area and that’s a big advantage in terms of efficiency, for example when new projects are being initiated."
The fact that Bremen is easy to get around is also beneficial for the experts outside of work. They love living here and love spending time in the parks, by the river Weser or at the football stadium, for example. Apel, in particular, appreciates the diversity and openness of the people.
What is Bremen missing?
In terms of work, it’s not always what Bremen is missing, but what it has too much of: and for some of the scientists that is bureaucracy and red tape. Hackmann believes that there is untapped potential at the universities: "I would like to see the subject of space travel pursued in a more structured manner at the University of Bremen. Long-term planning and expertise are hugely important in this sector and that should be more heavily reflected at research level." Bartsch would like to see the companies that are based here do more research and development in the city and not use Bremen mainly for production. He thinks this would help the city to retain more skilled workers. Sippel playfully suggests a launch site for rockets, but admits the North Sea coast might be a more realistic option.
On a non-work front, the interviewees also pine for a few other things: it would be good if the North Sea were closer, for example, if there were mountains nearby and perhaps more to attract young families. Pika and Manfreda agree that Bremen’s airport should offer more direct flights to major European cities. "Every time I want to travel home (to Rome), it’s difficult to find a direct flight," she explains. "I spend way too much time waiting for connecting flights."
Bremen is known for being a city that’s easy to get around. It’s one of the reasons why most of the researchers prefer to get from A to B by bike. When the weather’s bad, they simply switch to the bus or tram. Zabel also uses car sharing services. Apel and Hackmann live outside the city and travel in by car or train. Scharringhausen loves nothing more than buzzing around the city on his Vespa.
Of course, it’s not all work and no play. The scientists told us where they like to go to switch off. Spending time with the family is the priority for Scharringhausen, Bartsch and Hackmann. Many of their colleagues look to Bremen’s green spaces for relaxation, whether that means gardening, walking or going on a bike ride. While some enjoy a good book and a pot of herbal tea, others prefer to get active. But don’t think they only go jogging or for a workout at the gym. Apel uses his free time to sail, for example, and even goes paragliding.
The interviewees who aren’t from Bremen originally now know the city very well. What parts would they recommend to the next generation of scientists looking for a place to live? The best options for people who are studying at the university or working at the technology park are Horn-Lehe and Borgfeld. Habenhausen would be better if being near the airport is important. Findorff and Schwachhausen are both central but nonetheless quiet. For nightlife, look no further than the Viertel and Neustadt districts, say the experts. Pika offers another insider tip: the Teerhof peninsula, "where it’s quiet, but you’re close to the city centre and everything that’s going on".
Scharringhausen makes the following suggestions: "Spend your evenings in the Loft bar by the train station and at the weekend head to the Wümmewiesen and Blockland countryside." Bartsch adds: "For going out, I’d recommend the Viertel with its ‘Bermuda triangle’ or the Schlachte Embankment". Hackmann echoes the tip for the Schlachte in good weather and Paddy’s Pit otherwise. There’s a broad consensus that newcomers should explore the leafy side of Bremen, for example at the Bürgerpark and Rhododendron Park and in the Blockland region. Manfreda has the recipe for a short visit: "I would recommend making a list, buying a two-day ticket for the local public transport network, packing a light rucksack and just heading off. I would round off each of these days with an evening in the sun by the river Weser, the first on the Schlachte Embankment and the second in Überseestadt."
When they’re asked how they would present their research in the form of a fairground attraction at Bremen’s Freimarkt fair, the scientists come up with some creative answers. Their ideas range from a ghost train through the solar system and a space flight simulator to black holes. Exhibits such as the Columbus module of the International Space Station, original models of some of the Ariane rockets and a greenhouse for growing plants in space would show the visitors to the Freimarkt how exciting space research can be. Bartsch would put revellers in an exoskeleton to help them understand how artificial intelligence in robots works. The way in which carbon dioxide levels are increased by human activity but also fluctuate due to the seasonal cycles of plants would be illustrated by Buchwitz’s giant ‘bumpy’ slide.
You can read the full-length interviews on the website Bremen.de.
Bremen: Down-to-earth, yet always ready to surprise you. An attractive place to live, a city through which we can move easily and without stress. People from different cities and countries tell us why they fell in love with Bremen and have made their lives here.
So it’s cold, dark and wet outside. That’s no excuse for getting bored. From seasonal recipes to exciting museums and major events, we will show you how much indoor fun there is on offer in Bremen.
Frost, snow and ice? No excuse for sitting at home. Find out what you can discover and explore outdoors in Bremen during the winter months.
Almost half of all coffee beans imported into Germany pass through Bremen’s ports. Coffee roasters such as Lloyd Caffee and Cross Coffee have helped to cement the image of Bremen as Germany’s coffee capital.
The state of Bremen covers 420 square kilometres and is home to around 670,000 people. Almost 22,000 companies provide more than 325,000 jobs. Below, we introduce some of the strong sectors that that make Bremen such an excellent business location.
The path into space begins in Bremen. Production on the upper stage of the Ariane 6, the latest generation of Europe’s launch vehicle, is set to start shortly next to Bremen Airport. The launcher is intended to guarantee Europe independent access to space.
Bremen is Germany’s sixth-largest industrial hub in terms of revenue. Whether the sector is aerospace, food, automotive, shipping or steel production, Bremen has always been a major player.
The Schnoor quarter at the heart of Bremen is an absolute must for visitors, with its lovingly restored medieval architecture, winding lanes and wide array of shops, cultural attractions and places to eat.
It’s getting cooler outside; the trees are changing color and leaves rustle underfoot – it’s now autumn! And so begins the time of year when you’re persuaded to spend more time inside. The array of museums and galleries in Bremen offer numerous opportunities to do so enjoyably.
Every year, the movers and shakers of the space industry gather at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). From 1 to 5 October, it will be Bremen’s turn to host the event. A team from the Center of Applied Space Technology and ...
How is the role of media and other forms of communication changing in society? What are the resulting challenges? The international MA in Digital Media and Society, which launches at the University of Bremen in time for the winter semester, aims to provide the answers.
We don’t normally get to see Littelfuse’s products. And yet there’s hardly any electronic device that doesn’t require components from this global market leader. The European headquarters of the US firm are located in Bremen. And they’re far more than just a sales office.
Our city centre is evolving. Bremen is creating affordable and desirable residential areas, offices and retail space. The city is set to get a more modern look thanks to projects near the main train station, in new districts and right by the river.
Good ideas may be rare, but imitators are easy to find. Which makes it all the more important to secure patents for new inventions. Bremen-based InnoWi helps companies and the research community to register new patents, and is also on hand to provide advice and access to funding.
The New York Post has created a list of the coolest streets around the world. And guess which street has made it onto the list? Bremen's very own Schnoor! Visit this cool street at the Bremen Blog.
The exploration of celestial bodies, such as Mars, Mercury and the moon, requires detailed geological maps. An international research project is now laying the foundations for this. Bremen-based geologist Dr Angelo Pio Rossi is one of the initiators of the data project.
The construction of the complex new EcoMaT research and technology centre at Airport-Stadt Bremen is at an advanced stage. Prospective tenants include Airbus and Testia, as well as a number of leading medium-sized businesses and scientific institutions. After the topping-out ceremony, work will get under way on the interior of the building.
The depths of the ocean remain one of the last great mysteries on Earth. What is the precise composition of the seafloor? What flora and fauna inhabit it? Where has the delicate balance of the ecosystem been seriously disrupted? We still don’t have complete answers to any of these questions, but four young scientists from Bremen are aiming to change that.
Do you feel like a holiday, but money is tight? How about a city break on a budget? Fortunately, there’s plenty to do in Bremen that won’t break the bank – such as cycling routes through the parks, visits at the lakes or free outdoor festivals.
Enjoying good food and drink is an important part of life in Bremen. Whether you prefer coffee or beer, sweet or savoury, you'll be well catered for on a trip to our city on the banks of the Weser river.
Space is not just a man’s business. The global network Women in Aerospace (WIA) aims to increase women’s leadership opportunities and visibility in the space industry – also in Bremen. An interview with Antonella Sgambati und Michela Cantisani, coordinators of WIA Bremen.
There are 35,000 students at eight universities in Bremen, as well as numerous research establishments, all of which work together successfully. It is a dynamic centre of science and learning. We spoke to a number of researchers and academics to find out what it’s like to live and work in Bremen and Bremerhaven.
Artificial intelligence isn’t just a matter of computer programming. It’s a challenging question: how can a robot successfully deal with real, unpredictable surroundings? For 30 years, solutions to this problem have been developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). This Bremen-based facility has been so successful that its employees are now founding their own company.
Bremen Airport-Stadt is an international transport hub and a centre of excellence for the aerospace industry and for research and learning. It occupies a leading position among Germany’s airport locations. Here are ten benefits that Bremen Airport-Stadt offers.
Flowers are blooming and the days are getting warmer: It's springtime in Bremen! The city directory bremen.de shows you, which activities the town has to offer at this beautiful time of the year: whether it is sunbathing on the Osterdeich, bike riding, golfing or simply enjoying yourself in a beer garden.
The colours of the local football team are not the only thing that's green about Bremen, as you'll see when you take a stroll around its parks and open spaces. A look at the statistics shows that Bremen is not only Germany's tenth-largest city, it is also its third-greenest, offering plenty of space to enjoy nature.
One day, astronauts will live and carry out research on the moon – and even a colony on Mars is no longer the distant utopian dream it once was. But how will people be able to live in an extraterrestrial environment? The Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen is working on a solution.
The city is famous for the Bremen Town Musicians, the market square, the Schlachte Embankment and Werder Bremen football club. But it is also known as a hub for logistics, science and the automotive and aerospace industries, and as a bike-friendly city that is full of green spaces. To be honest, there is no reason to be modest, though that would be typical of Bremen too…
The people of Bremen have a reputation for being reserved, but nothing could be further from the truth: the locals regularly let their hair down at the many events held throughout the year. The biggest crowds gather for Bremen’s Christmas market and for the Freimarkt, the second-largest volksfest held anywhere in Germany.
Space technologies have advanced greatly in recent years, leading to increasing demands from the business and research sectors. To meet these requirements, Bremen University now offers unique master’s degrees in Space Engineering and Space Sciences and Technologies.
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
The research alliance ROBEX is sending robots up active volcanoes and down into the deepest and darkest seas. Working across disciplines, the 120 scientists of the 16 institutes involved are breaking new ground on this project. They have been eagerly waiting to find out what has happened to the TRAMPER diving robot, which has been exploring the deep seas around Spitsbergen for a year. Now they are ready to bring it back.
Bremen's sweetest side is made of chocolate. No matter whether it’s milk or dark chocolate, nougat or marzipan. Take a walk around Bremen and taste it.
The multi-million-mile journey of the Ariane 5 rocket begins in Bremen, while that of Spacelab came to an end here in 1999, after 15 years of service with 22 missions to outer space. Ariane Group in Bremen is the ideal place to experience the history of space travel.
Fiona Moore is originally from Burton-on-Trent, near Birmingham, and now works as a freelance translator in Bremen. She fell in love with Bremen in her early twenties. That was back in 2000, but 17 years later she is still as enchanted by the city as she was on the first day. She tells us about settling in Bremen, about her family and about being fortunate to have found a home in here.
It’s an adventure playground for kids, an idyllic sanctuary for couples, and a quiet retreat for those looking to escape from stress – from joggers and Nordic walkers to lovers of nature and culture, the Bürgerpark in the centre of Bremen has something for everyone. For the last 150 years, this protected heritage site in the centre of Bremen has relied solely on the support of donations to keep it open and well-maintained.
A great deal of manual labour goes into aircraft construction. Despite this – or perhaps even because of it – Airbus is changing its approach to make increased use of digital technologies. It’s also researching the applications of new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. And not a moment too soon, as Airbus’ site manager in Bremen, Dr André Walter, explains in our interview.
Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.
In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.
The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.
In 2015 Bremen won the right to host the International Astronautical Congress for the second time, after having successfully held the event in 2003. Its bid was the result of a collaboration between the Bremen regional government and Bremen’s space industry and space research sector. Event partners include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Centre.
What makes an aircraft fly? You don't have to be an aerospace expert to be fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes at one of the largest aircraft construction companies in the world. The Airbus Group in Bremen turns the dream of flying into ...