INNOspace Masters – Satellite 4.0: New Ideas for the Next Space Generation

The world’s economies are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. Driven by digitalisation and marked by the merging of the real and virtual worlds, traditional value chains are in the process of dissolving.

© Airbus Defence and Space

This is resulting in new potential, including for the new space economy – especially when it comes to the intelligent, real-time, horizontal and vertical integration of people, objects, and machines.

The first INNOspace Masters idea competition addressed  European companies, start-ups, universities, or non-university research institutions (or even consortia of organisations) whose projects involve forward-thinking transfers of technologies and expertise from other industries to the space sector (“spin-ins”).

From 15 September 2015 to 31 January 2016 the INNOspace Masters competition was in a variety of categories, looking for solutions and plans at different stages of innovative maturity (utility models and demonstrators > market-ready prototypes > ready-to-use solutions) that can leverage the potential of smart integration to improve the efficiency and customer orientation of the space sector, particularly in satellite manufacturing.

The winners of the first competition round were awarded at a festive awards ceremony on 4 May 2016 and can look forward to technological and business-related services from first-rate partners, along with extensive marketing/communication activities and networking contacts, based on their chosen category and the innovativeness and maturity of their concepts. This support is designed to aid them in realising their ideas quickly and as close to their original vision as possible.


INNOspace Masters is a new idea competition being operated by DLR Space Administration (part of the German Space Center, DLR). The competition is embedded in DLR Space Administration’s INNOspace® initiative, which promotes innovation and new markets. Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, an experienced specialist in organising space innovation competitions, has been tasked with carrying out INNOspace Masters by DLR.




Prize categories

INNOspace Masters is a new idea competition that recognises creative concepts of varying levels of innovation and maturity. In three competitive categories, it was seeking entries that are designed to optimise the processes, components, or subsystems involved in connected satellite manufacturing or otherwise benefit the future of the new space economy.


Participants could select the prize that best suited the focus of their projects, as well as their innovativeness and maturity:

What topics did the competition address?

INNOspace Masters was looking for new ideas for the next generation of space technology under the theme “Satellite 4.0”. Here, the focus was on improving the flexibility and efficiency of workflows, components, and subsystems across the entire value chain in connected satellite manufacturing, particularly with regard to industry standards and processes.

In this context, the following examples were topics of special interest:

  • Additive manufacturing as a process designed to supplement conventional satellite-production technology while accounting for the special demands placed on components, methods, and the materials utilised
  • Platforms for increasing the flexibility of subsystems (sensors, components, etc)
  • Use of cyber-physical production systems as a catalyst for complex logistics models employed in real-world industrial scenarios
  • Development of innovative system elements and components
  • Development of industry standards
  • Process standardisation in serial satellite manufacturing
  • Standardised interfaces between satellite platforms and payloads
  • Standardised interfaces for subsystems (drive systems, energy storage, avionics, etc)
  • Innovations along the entire value chain in satellite manufacturing