Ottobrunn – Isar Aerospace is about to jump into space – district of Munich

Behind the mirrored door with the two warning signs – one for video surveillance, the other for the need for protective shoes – there is a constant level of noise in the air, while on the ground there is a hustle and bustle of activity. Three men are struggling with a chest-high cable reel, two others are staring at one of the many monitors that are everywhere, lost in thought. A Ukraine flag hangs from the twenty-meter-high ceiling of the factory building, beneath which you can see lathes and milling machines, and a few steps further several 3D printers. Men hurry around between all this equipment – but you won’t find any female employees. So this is what it looks like in the production halls of Isar Aerospace in Ottobrunn, one of the most promising space start-ups in the country. And: probably the most coveted company in the district of Munich at the moment, and a number of municipalities are courting to settle here.

This morning, however, it should not primarily be about the future plans of Isar Aerospace – the company founded in 2018 by three graduates of the Technical University of Munich, which called a launch vehicle Spectrum developed in order to soon be able to transport satellites into space. Rather, the Swedish Ambassador Per Thöresson has announced. He wants to take a look behind the scenes and then discuss “Tomorrow’s space travel” with Josef Fleischmann, one of the founders of the start-up, Nick Priborsky from the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and reserve astronaut Amelie Schönenwald.

The event is part of a six-month tour of Germany through all 16 federal states that Sweden is completing as part of the EU Council Presidency. Ottobrunn and Isar Aerospace are making the start, which is a great honor for his company, says Josef Fleischmann – and also an opportunity to deepen existing partnerships.

“The European aerospace industry is at a neuralgic point,” emphasizes the 32-year-old managing director. The war of aggression against Ukraine made cooperation with Russia difficult for the industry. In addition, there were the problems of the European Space Agency Esa in the construction of their new carrier rocket Ariane 6. “So there are currently good opportunities for the private space industry,” Fleischmann believes. And this is exactly what his company wants to use: This year – Isar Aerospace does not provide any more precise information – the start-up wants to send a rocket on a test flight into space for the first time from the Norwegian island of Andøya. In addition, a second spaceport in French Guiana will also be used, says Fleischmann.

“It’s a must for us to move”

The goal of Isar Aerospace is to offer the transport of mainly small satellites into space at a much lower price than the competition – among other things by relying on largely automated production and comparatively small rockets. According to the company, it is aiming for a price of 10,000 euros per kilogram; the payload of Spectrum should be around 1000 kilos. You can get a small impression of what the launch vehicle will look like when you tour the production hall in the separate assembly area, where a model of a tank is stored. The part made of carbon fibers has the shape of a cylinder and a diameter of two meters; the entire rocket is said to be almost 30 meters high. Isar Aerospace tests its components at the Reischach site in Lower Bavaria, the entire engine is tested on an SSC test bench in Esrange in northern Sweden – the reason why Sweden is starting its tour of Germany in Ottobrunn.

Astronaut Amelie Schönwald and Ambassador Per Thöresson in conversation.

(Photo: Tim Koenig/Isar Aerospace/Tim Koenig/Isar Aerospace)

There, in turn, Isar Aerospace currently has two locations. Firstly, there is the company headquarters on Caroline-Herschel-Strasse in the immediate vicinity of IABG, Airbus and Co. 60 to 80 people work there, while there are almost three times as many in production. It is currently located in the commercial area between the state road and the Hachinger Tal landscape park – for now. Because in the medium term, the fast-growing company wants to combine its two Ottobrunn locations on a new, larger company site. “Just look out here,” says Josef Fleischmann in the meeting room and points to the window behind which the production hall stretches. “Everything is full here.”

There will also be no more space in two other halls that have been rented next door by the middle of this year. “It’s a must for us to move,” emphasizes the managing director. only where? When it comes to this question, Isar Aerospace is spoiled for choice. Several communities are eagerly trying to get the rocket builder to settle there, including Taufkirchen, Haar, Feldkirchen and Ottobrunn. According to Fleischmann, there are a total of “five, six” potential locations. “We are currently still in talks.” The managing director does not want to say anything about the question of when a decision will be made.

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