NewSpace Interview with Space Structures GmbH

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Company Update

What Is the Background of Space Structures GmbH’s Top Management?

CEOs Florian Ruess and Dr.-Ing. Benjamin Braun have studied together at University of Stuttgart with focus on statics and dynamics of lightweight structures.
Florian then explored different industries, starting with civil engineering structures where he was the check engineer for several cable-stayed bridges and facades as well as a multi-purpose stadium for 20000 visitors. He then contributed to the Airbus A380 jet development as a Design Task Responsible engineer (the one that finally signs the manufacturing documentation) for the Flap Tracks and attached link elements.

He reached space when joining OHB System at a time when this company was not yet recognised as a major prime contractor. He was appointed as mechanical lead engineer for the development of the SGEO platform (a 3.5 ton class telecommunciation satellite platform) and its first mission Hispasat 36W-1 (successfully launched in January 2017).

In 2011 he founded Space Structures together with Benjamin.

Benjamin stayed at Stuttgart University to complete his doctoral degree in engineering and manage multi-million Euro international research projects.
He then joined a state research and infrastructure management institution for a little while before founding Space Structures.

The two are an ideal combination of industry experience and academic background.

More details can be found in LinkedIn:
linkedin.com/in/florian-ruess
linkedin.com/in/benjamin-braun-68522853

What Is Space Structures GmbH’s Core Product or Service?

We supply exciting products for space applications:
Innovative Metal & Composite Structures, Bolt Analysis Software, MGSE.

Our experience makes Space Structures the ideal partner for Build-to-Spec projects.

We support customers with dedicated engineering services during the complete development cycle.

What Is Space Structures GmbH’s Unique Proposition to Their Market Sector?

Our products are characterised by their innovation content. At first glance people sometimes think they are just a small variation of already existing things. But taking a closer look reveals the misperception.

Software:
Our SpaceBolt™ software is closing a gap where simply no dedicated professional software for design and analysis of bolted connections for space applications according to European standards was existing before.

Hardware/Structures:
Space Structures core competence is in all engineering (design, analysis, testing) tasks involved for the development of metallic and CFRP structures. This is combined with a deep knowledge about available manufacturing technologies.

Space Structures is NOT manufacturing structures. But we cooperate with many manufacturers to ensure availability of all relevant technologies.

Thus structures developed by Space Structures are independent of any particular manufacturing technology – we select the best technologies for the given boundary conditions and requirements.

And that is the real difference compared to other structure suppliers which are bound to their available in-house technologies.

In consequence Space Structures is the ideal partner for Build-to-Spec tasks, in particular when stringent requirements apply.

The resulting structures show performances never achieved before or considered even possible.

For example we develop the world's first true all CFRP struts, the SpaceStrut™: http://spacestructures.de/products_struts.html

We challenge anyone to try and beat this product's performance.

Another example is all-black structural assemblies. We can design and deliver structural assemblies entirely in CFRP including the cores in sandwich panels, inserts, bolts and nuts. Superior thermo-elastic performance. You can guess that for example telescope developing companies are very interested.

Several other innovative solutions are in the pipeline, including some using 3D printing as the enabling technology.

In the services domain you get from us the know-how of a prime contractor with the flexibility and cost structure of an SME. Our customers appreciate that we help solve their problems instead of just supplying manpower that needs to be instructed what to do.

How Does Space Structures GmbH Disrupt the Competitive Environment of Its Market with Its Product/Service?

Following on from the previous question:

Our products offer maximum performance solutions by tapping into all available technologies out there. We dare to re-think what is possible and create true innovations.

Our services combine the know-how of a prime contractor with the flexibility and cost structure of an SME.

What Are Space Structures GmbH’s Growth Objectives over the next 5 Years?

We are focusing on completing qualification and achieving market entry of our first products.

Our products business area should grow about tenfold in the next five years.

The services business area is expected to double in the same period.

What Competitive Changes Does Space Structures GmbH’s Envisage Within Key Markets over the next 5 Years?

Our SpaceStrut™ has a very strong potential to disrupt the complete market for struts and establish itself as the new state-of-the-art.

There are several other products with similar potential following up close, but it is too early to reveal what they are exactly about.

In 5 years time, people that are looking for high performance structures for space applications will be checking with Space Structures GmbH as one of their prime choices.

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