“More and More People Are Shaping Space Travel”
“For me, knowledge transfer is an important task – and I would like to accomplish it primarily via people,” says Marc Avila. “We train engineers who will actively shape our future through their work, which is why I am thrilled that such a large proportion of the 6,500 attendees of the IAC were young people.” More than half of visitors were under 35, and nearly 20 percent were students. The dedicated team of organizers from ZARM made it possible for these students to attend the famous congress: for students, a ticket for the entire congress cost around 100 euros instead of 1,000.
Together with cooperating partner institutions in Bremen such as the German Aerospace Center (DLR), OHB, ArianeGroup, MT Aerospace, and Airbus, as well as the Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports and the Senator for Science, Health and Consumer Protection, Avila and his team managed to bring the world-renowned space travel congress to Bremen.
“The opportunity to put on the IAC in Bremen came at a truly exciting time,” says the head of ZARM. “Right now, the rules of the game are changing from what we know: in the past, space travel was something exclusively for national interests, and funding was provided by the major space agencies like NASA in the United States and the European Space Agency (ESA). Today, there is an increasing number of private initiatives,” says Avila. “We are on the threshold of an era where not only big fish in space travel are getting their chance: more and more people are taking the opportunity to shape space travel through private initiatives.” This is why the scientist puts so much stock in dedication to public engagement already at the level of university teaching: “In the future, we will have to increasingly impart knowledge in the engineering degree courses that will enable young people to implement their own ideas.” This will help them if they work in a large company like Airbus, but also if they want to start their own business.
Today, as part of study projects, Avila and his colleagues give students the opportunity to work innovatively. In the “STERN: Student Experimental Rockets” program, for example, students develop, build, and test their own rockets. “I am confident that we will be successful with our strategy of carrying out transfer with the help of the targeted promotion of young talent,” says Avila. “For example, at our most important cooperating partner institutions here in Bremen, we already know most of our colleagues there personally. They completed their degrees or earned their doctorates here. It’s great to see the value they add for the companies.”