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Fraunhofer IOF welcomes German government’s new space strategy

03 Oct 2023

Director Andreas Tünnermann expects Jena photonics hub will make contributions to new strategy.

At the end of September, the German Federal Government announced the approval of new space strategy, entitled Neue Zeiten, neue Relevanz (New times, new relevance).

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF) and Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, welcomed the new strategy as an “important step for national space research”.

Prof. Tünnermann expects that especially the innovation ecosystem at the photonics location Jena will make relevant contributions to the implementation of the new space strategy.

He commented, “As a research institute with a relevant focus on the development of photonic technologies for space applications, we very much welcome the German government’s new space strategy. The decision is an important step for national space research.

“Here in Jena, we find an innovation ecosystem that will make relevant contributions to the implementation of the new space strategy. The city has been a world-class optics and photonics location for 200 years,” he added.

Fraunhofer IOF, as well as other research institutes, and companies, contribute to the development of innovations for earth observation and astronomy based on new technological approaches, such as freeform or nanooptics. The IOF in particular has been active in many of the fields addressed by the new space strategy for many years.

Jena work on Webb

European and international cooperation and fundamental space research is further driven, particularly in the major space missions. The James Webb Space Telescope, for example – a collaboration between the space agencies NASA, ESA and CSA – aims to find answers to some of life’s big questions. Researchers from Jena have manufactured high-precision mirrors and calibration spectral source for the largest space observatory ever built.

The IOF also stated that it is “looking forward to the ExoMars mission,” which is scheduled to launch in 2028. That mission is intended to expand space exploration in the direction of Mars and thus extend the horizons of knowledge beyond the boundaries of the Earth. Employees at the Fraunhofer Institute in Jena developed a miniaturized laser module for analyzing rock samples for the mission’s Mars rover.

IOF researchers are currently involved in numerous missions and projects to find solutions to urgent issues that threaten social peace and security in the long term – whether through our participation in the German environmental mission EnMAP, which aims to make the consequences of climate change visible, or the development of a new satellite technology intended to optimize the use of valuable resources such as water in the future.

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