3rd German Israeli Space Forum 2023 – A strong sign of German economy showing solidarity with Israel

On October 18, the 3rd German Israeli Space Forum, joint event of the New-Space-Initiative and GINSUM (by ELNET) was held as an official side event of the German Space Congress in the Kosmos in Berlin, an event hosted by the German Federation of Industries (BDI). This marked a transition from two previous online formats due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the intent to hold an in-person event. However, the event was shadowed by the tragic events of the Hamas massacre in Israel on October 7.

In light of these horrifying circumstances, questions were raised about whether a bilateral format like this was suitable. Additionally, many Israeli speakers and participants were unable to travel to Berlin. After careful consideration and in consultation with our Israeli partners and contacts, the decision was made to proceed with the forum. It was deemed essential to demonstrate solidarity and underline the significance and strength of German-Israeli cooperation and friendship, especially during these trying times.

In the presence of around 100 participants, Carsten Ovens, CEO of ELNET in Germany, and Matthias Wachter, Managing Director of BID’s NewSpace Initiative, opened the 3rd German-Israeli Space Forum with a minute of silence to honor the Israeli victims of the Hamas terrorist attack.

Hila Engelhard from the Israeli Embassy in Berlin addressed the current situation in Israel. Keynote speakers Maj. Gen. (ret.) Prof. Isaac Ben Israel, former Chairman of the Israeli Space Agency, and Dr. Peter Gräf, Director of Applications and Science at the German Space Agency, shared insights on the national space industry and the future of space collaboration afterwards.

This was followed by an impulse from Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hermann and a pitch by Thorsten Buchmeier, both experts in the connection between automotive and space. Thorsten Buchmeier who travelled to Berlin from Israel added a moving personal note, describing the situation in his country, which is hard to imagine from the outside.

Daniel Scheer from Elbit Systems Deutschland and Generalmajor Michael Traut from the Space Command of the German Bundeswehr, moderated by Dr.-Ing. Dirk Zimper from MBDA, discussed the geopolitics of space and the importance of defense against cyber attacks.

Innovation pitches from Annika Wollermann Umpierrez of POLARIS Raumflugzeuge and Max Gulde, Co-Founder and CEO of ConstellR, highlighted cutting-edge space endeavors.

The 3rd German Israeli Space Forum, in the wake of recent tragedy, demonstrated that collaboration, shared values, and resilient support are the essence of the German Israeli friendship and it served as an outlook of joint potentials in space technology. Together with the BID, ELNET will continue to foster and strengthen these unique relations.

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