„Space 4.0“ – Challenge by the DLR Space Administration


Complex and connected production, increasing digitalisation, new possibilities in additive manufacturing processes, more flexible production concepts, and new business models: These are some of the current, often far-reaching developments taking place in German industry. Such trends are crucial to long-term innovative capability and competitiveness in the space sector, as well. Previously dominated by high-tech manufacturing operations and small production quantities, this field now finds itself in a transitional phase. New players around the world are presenting established manufacturers with major challenges through their new business ideas and drive to commercialise. Satellite manufacturers in particular are feeling the squeeze.

Following the success of the first INNOspace Masters (“Satellite 4.0”), the second edition of the competition has expanded its focus to three areas of application – satellites, payloads, and launcher – under the theme “Space 4.0”. It was looking for new ideas and concepts that offer innovative solutions to issues currently faced by the space industry. In particular, the experiences non-space sectors have gathered in connection with Industry 4.0 can open up new perspectives in this field.

innospacemasters_icon-challengeThe Challenge

INNOspace Masters was on the hunt for forward-thinking ideas and innovative concepts involving satellites, payloads, or launcher and any of the following subject areas:

  • Development and use of intelligent and/or standardised components capable of carrying information in management and communication processes and the optimisation of specialised, demand-oriented supply chains
  • Additive manufacturing as a method designed to supplement conventional production technology while accounting for the special demands placed on processes, component complexity, and the construction materials utilised
  • Increased modularisation of production, utilisation of platform concepts for more flexible component and subsystem manufacturing (of drive and control systems, for example)
  • Use of cyber-physical systems in complex, connected production and logistics processes; remote monitoring of autonomous production systems; and ensuring data- and IT security
  • Development of simulation models for assessing error tolerance and generating feedback for production plants
  • Industrialisation of the Ariane-6 manufacturing and production process in Germany, including with regard to the NDI methods used to examine various material compositions (such as CFRP with thick-film bonding or the foam insulation used on metal tank enclosures and fuel lines)

innospacemasters_icon-chooseprizeThe Prize

Three concepts or expert drafts (ideally one in each of the target application areas: satellites, payloads, and launcher) will be chosen by the competition’s jury. The teams behind them will then be invited to apply for funding through the National Programme for Space and Innovation, one of the innovation and knowledge transfer projects run by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

  • Verifiable applications involving individual or joint proposals are eligible for funding from Germany’s national space and innovation programme
  • Up to 400,000 Euro in possible funding for each project. This funding is subject to the general funding guidelines of the German federal government

Legal basis

This funding is subject to the general funding guidelines of the German federal government (https://foerderportal.bund.de/easy/easy_index.php?auswahl=easy_formulare&formularschrank=bmwi).

Projects are funded through grants based on the requirements released by the Space Administration department of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Germany’s Federal Gazette on 19 November 2014, the BMWi’s standard guidelines for grants based on costs and expenses, and the administrative provisions described in §§ 23 and 44 of Germany’s federal budgetary regulations (Bundeshaushaltsordnung, BHO). No participant is legally entitled to receive a grant. The entity sponsoring the grants will determine which entrants are to receive them based on its own conscientious discretion and the funds available.