Here you will find an overview of our current activities and events as well as updates on the project.

Entscheidung im Wettbewerb „Wissen schafft Perspektiven für die Region!“ gefallen

Projekte zur Astrophysik und zur Chemie werden umgesetzt

© Adobe Stock / whyframeshot

Auf der heutigen Bundespressekonferenz gaben Bundesministerin Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Ministerpräsident Michael Kretschmer, Ministerpräsident Dr. Reiner Haseloff und Prof. Dr. Uwe Cantner, Vorsitzender der Expertenkommission „Forschung und Innovation“, die Entscheidung über die zwei Großforschungszentren in der Lausitz und im mitteldeutschen Revier bekannt. ERIS hat es leider nicht geschafft.

„Zuerst gratulieren wir den Gewinnern. Es war ein spannender Wettbewerb. Zum anderen bedanken wir uns noch einmal ausdrücklich für die Unterstützung durch die vielen nationalen und internationalen Partner aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Region. Wir überlegen nun, wie wir das gemeinsam entwickelte Potenzial von ERIS, nutzbar machen können“, erklärt ERIS-Ideengeber Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt von der TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

Am Ende hat sich das Wettbewerbskonsortium für das Center for the Transformation of Chemistry (CTC) im mitteldeutschen Revier und für das Deutsche Zentrum für Astrophysik (DZA) in der sächsischen Lausitz entschieden. „Wir bieten den Gewinnern mit unserem einzigartigen Netzwerk, den vielfältigen Kontakten und gemeinsamen Ideen unsere aktive Mitwirkung bei der Umsetzung der Konzepte zur Bewältigung des laufenden Strukturwandels an“, ergänzt Prof. Drebenstedt.

Zur aktuellen Pressemeldung des BMBF

Decision to be announced at federal press conference

Press conference scheduled for September 29, 1 p.m.

Federal Press Conference in Berlin, 2011

The BMBF will promptly announce the decision of the funding agencies on the selected based on the review results.

To this end, Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Minister President Michael Kretschmer, Minister President Dr. Reiner Haseloff and Prof. Dr. Uwe Cantner, Chairman of the Expert Commission "Research and Innovation", will appear before the press on Thursday, September 29 at 1 p.m. (see Federal Press Conference).

ERIS contributors present at the German Aerospace Congress in Dresden

DGLR Congress takes place at the German Hygiene Museum Dresden

Several scientists involved in the development of the ERIS concept will give presentations at the German Aerospace Congress (DLRK), which will take place in Dresden from September 27-29, 2022, and will present the results of their research. Topics will also be addressed, the work on which will be further developed in ERIS.

After two online congresses, the 71st German Aerospace Congress will once again be held in Dresden. The DGLR invites to the German Hygiene Museum Dresden (DHMD). The response was already very high in the run-up to the congress. More than 650 participants are expected this year.

The program currently includes 109 sessions, over 450 talks and posters, a panel discussion, and selected plenary and special lectures from aeronautics and space, with a uniquely professional diversity.

ERIS project team at TransGredio conference in Bolesławiec

ERIS presents cross-border cooperation opportunities At the invitation of the Marshal's Office

At the invitation of the Marshal's Office of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and the Saxon State Ministry for Regional Development, an ERIS team attended the final conference of the TransGredio project in Silesia on September 26.

The aim of the project was to diagnose synergies and new potentials for cooperation in various functional areas in the border region in the context of structural changes in Saxony related to the transition from the coal economy.

ERIS also relies on the international community and cross-border cooperation to implement its idea and, if approved, offers great potential for the Lower Silesian-Saxon border region. In a presentation, Dr. Jens Grigoleit from the project team once again presented the ideas and opportunities of ERIS for the coal region in detail.

As a European-oriented research institution, ERIS has already been able to win over many European countries, but also research institutions and space agencies from the USA, Canada and Chile to participate.

Schlüter Baumaschinen GmbH is new ERIS partner

Mobile mining technology with Komatsu experience in planning construction machinery on the moon

A Komatsu wheel loader. Photo: Schlüter Baumaschinen

The company distributes, among other products, Komatsu construction and mining equipment, which is also working on lunar applications, making it another important partner in ERIS.

"In case of realization, we are interested in a cooperation with the European Research Institute for Space Resources - ERIS. We expressly support the idea and the implementation of ERIS and would be pleased if the project were to be chosen for implementation," explains Managing Partner Thomas Schlüter in a letter of intent.

About the company

Schlüter Baumaschinen GmbH is a family-run company in its third generation and is one of the leading German dealers for construction and industrial machinery.

In addition to selling the machines, we are strongly service-oriented and operate a network of 34 locations with our own service workshops.

TU Dresden participates in the planned large-scale research center ERIS

Researchers from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering contribute research expertise on space technologies

TU Dresden’s Institute of Aerospace Engineering. Photo: Elisabeth Abbe

Scientists at TU Dresden are researching space technologies that must be able to withstand the extreme demands of space. The handling of scarce resources and automated systems is an indispensable factor here. The development of technologies that meet the demanding conditions on the Moon and Mars generates innovative solutions for current challenges on Earth - especially in connection with sustainable and resource-efficient human supply and novel artificial-intelligent production systems.

Expertise of the TU Dresden

The scientists involved in ERIS, Prof. Martin Tajmar, Dr. Tino Schmiel and Dr. Christian Bach from the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, are already investigating how laser drills can be used to study ice deposits on the moon and in terrestrial glaciers, or how the spread of cosmic and also terrestrial dust can be minimized. Gas sensors for monitoring life support systems, bioproduction processes and human metabolism have also been successfully tested in space several times. With the support of a team of process control and systems engineers led by Prof. Leon Urbas, plant systems for the self-sufficient production of working gases are currently being developed in order to be able to provide fuels and life support systems on alien celestial bodies as well as in remote regions of the Earth. The competencies of the TU Dresden are significantly incorporated into the ERIS concept in order to promote new findings and innovations.

Decision awaited with excitement

The decision on the selection of the two new large-scale research facilities in the Saxon coal regions is approaching and is eagerly awaited. The rectors of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, and the Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Kratzsch, have therefore once again promoted the ERIS initiative: "In our opinion, the ERIS idea project is suitable for triggering extraordinarily positive effects in the settlement region and in Saxony, both in the short term and in the long term. The companies in the region are needed and involved right from the start. This not only through participation triggered in a short construction phase, but on the basis of creating the conditions for research, during the term of the research programs and through the research results." Both further emphasize, "ERIS is visionary in the best sense - we should have the courage to implement this vision!"

To enable a project start at the beginning of 2023, the selection decision should be announced no later than October 2022. ERIS is one of 6 finalist competitive initiatives, 2 of which will be selected for implementation.

ERIS participants present at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris

ERIS scientists from several participating institutions will actively participate in the International Astronautical Congress - IAC, which will take place in Paris from September 18-22, 2022. They will present results of their research, especially in the fields of ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization) and habitat technologies, which are relevant for ERIS.

In many of the presentations, reference is made to ERIS and the conference is used to establish contact with further potential cooperation partners or to further deepen existing contacts. The IAC is also one of the most important events of the year for the space industry.

ERIS participates in the development of the national space strategy

In its coalition agreement, the German government committed itself to developing a new space strategy. Prof. Drebenstedt was invited to the kick-off workshop convened by the Federal Government Commissioner for Aerospace, Dr. Anna Christmann, and will participate in the event.

With ERIS, Germany could take on a leading role in the development of technologies for the exploitation of extraterrestrial raw material deposits and for the self-sufficient supply of stations on other celestial bodies and of space infrastructure, with considerable potential for commercial applications as well.

ERIS Advisory Board meets in Görlitz

On September 7 and 8, the advisory board of ERIS met for a meeting in Görlitz. They discussed the progress of the application process so far, current measures in the field of public relations and science communication as well as possibilities of cooperation and linkage with other national and international initiatives. The members of the advisory board were also able to get an idea of the intended location of ERIS and of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz, which is closely involved in the cooperation.

Participants of the advisory board meeting were:

·        Prof. Alexander Kratzsch, Rector of Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz

·        Prof. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, Rector of TU Bergakademie Freiberg

·        Prof. Carsten Drebenstedt, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, ERIS

·        Dr. Thomas Reiter, former ESA astronaut

·        Prof. Hansjörg Dittus, Universität Bremen

·        Prof. Ralf Jaumann, FU Berlin

·        Dr. Thorid Zierold, Museum für Naturkunde Chemnitz

·        Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund, International Astronautical Federation (online)

·        Matthias Wachter, BDI (online)

·        From the project office ERIS: Dr. Daniel Schubert und Dr. Jens Grigoleit

Public discussion with astronaut Dr. Thomas Reiter

On September 7, 2022, entrepreneurs, representatives of the municipalities, and the population of Upper Lusatia in Saxony were invited to learn more about ERIS. Special guests were the members of the ERIS advisory board, including ESA astronaut Dr. Thomas Reiter, who was also the speaker of an impulse lecture.

In addition to presenting the current status of work on the project, Dr. Reiter and the ERIS team were able to use a variety of examples to demonstrate the development potential that space technologies also have for life on Earth and the spillover effects that existing centers of space research have had and continue to have on the economic development of their regional environment. Since the technologies to be developed specifically in ERIS tie in with existing competencies of the coal regions in many areas, these are perfectly suited for the settlement of the new center as well as corresponding industry. With the special attractiveness of the space topic for investors and skilled workers, ERIS offers the coal region a vision and future perspective for successful structural change.

Global player for composite materials supports ERIS

With the EURO-COMPOSITES Group (EC) from Luxembourg, ERIS has gained another excellent partner. EC is one of the leading suppliers of innovative composite materials for aerospace and other applications. As a space equipment supplier, EC knows the enormous demands placed on materials under space conditions and sees potential for further advancing corresponding developments through cooperation with ERIS.

The materials developed by EC combine extreme lightweight construction with the highest load and safety standards. The development of technologies with which corresponding materials can also be produced and processed under space conditions promises significant new insights. Another focus of interest is the development of composite materials with components that adapt their properties to the respective situation and with which damage can be limited, for example, in the event of an impact by micrometeorites, according to company owner R.M. Alter.

University of Stuttgart supports planned large-scale research facility ERIS

IRS brings itself into pillar life support and pension systems

Modular Rover Chassis Platform. Photo: Institute of Space Systems of University of Stuttgart

The Institute of Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart will coordinate the development of innovative research approaches in the areas of life support systems, bioproduction and energy in ERIS. To this end, the IRS brings many years of research experience in the field of life support systems for human spaceflight based on biological components. "Specifically, we are researching the efficient and sustainable production of oxygen, water and food for humans who will one day live in an extraterrestrial base," explains Stuttgart-based project coordinator Dr. Gisela Detrell. In addition, bioproduction can also be used to provide potential biomaterials.

The focus so far at IRS has been on microalgae, from cultivation to the post-processing required to produce food from the cultivated microalgae biomass. The infrastructure to test the effects of different atmospheric compositions as well as lighting concepts is also available at IRS. In recent years, researchers have also focused particular attention on biomass sensors as well as automation processes. The findings to date are to be integrated into ERIS and further expanded to enable the interfaces of the supply systems as well as an overall system design for different scenarios.

ERIS will establish a unique infrastructure in Lusatia, a coal region undergoing structural change, which will enable a nationwide focus of essential research for the utilization of space resources. The network of academia and industry is to create new synergy potentials in order to be able to participate on an international research level in the development of innovative technologies that will be essential not only for the future of space travel, but especially for the sustainable use of resources on earth.

To the website of the University of Stuttgart

Talks with Ministers of State on Open Government Day

ERIS speaker Prof. Carsten Drebenstedt presents project idea

Open Government Quarter graphic

On September 4, 2022, the Saxon state government opened its doors to the "Open Government Quarter" for the 18th time. 5,000 visitors took part this year.

Prof. Carsten Drebenstedt from the TU Bergakademie Freiberg was also on site and, as part of the opening of the Freiberg exhibition "Vom Salz des Lebens" (Of the Salt of Life), he also once again presented the potential of the ERIS project - especially with regard to the raw materials situation and energy and climate change.

ERIS presents BMBF transfer concept

Team presents second part of the overall concept to jury

Lusatia is a high-tech region with a high level of expertise in the key areas of raw materials, energy, production, automation and the environment. This is where ERIS comes in. (Photo: LEAG)

On August 29, a presentation team presented the transfer part of the concept for the ERIS large-scale research facility, delivered in early May, to a commission of experts at the Federal Ministry of Education and Science in Berlin.

The presentation focused on the second part of the overall proposal, the concept for transfer and regional development. This primarily involves building regional competitive advantages and tapping into global growth markets (space, sustainability, climate resilience, digitization and AI), attracting startups and technology leaders in the space industry, robotics and greentech industry, linking up with existing structures and competencies in the fields of energy, production and environmental technology as well as process automation, creating visibility and an image for Lusatia as a cutting-edge technology region, and attracting and qualifying skilled workers.

Review by jury

Representing the preparation team, Prof. Hansjörg Dittus, Dr. Christiane Heinicke, Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt (TU Bergakademie Freiberg) and Dr. Jens Grigoleit from the ERIS project office presented the transfer and regional concept to the review team. Afterwards, questions were answered for the jury.

Jury report forms basis for decision by federal and state governments

Based on the jury's assessment, the federal government and the Free State of Saxony will ultimately decide on funding for the two best concepts, which will start the three-year establishment phase from the beginning of 2023. In this phase, the requirements for the establishment of the large-scale research facility, the personnel and construction concept, the location as well as other topics and the associated financial security will be specified. From the Structural Strengthening Act, the federal government will provide 1.1 billion euros for each major research institution up to and including 2038.

New partner joins ERIS with food idea

Geißler bakery wants to develop astronaut bread

Breads in the bakery. Photo: Geißler Bakery

If ERIS is approved, a new partner is on board. Geißler Bakery would bake an astronaut bread for it - non-crumbly, long-lasting, extremely high in calories and filling, as well as easily digestible and tooth-care friendly.

"In particular, we could contribute to joint projects with our competencies in the production of high-quality (basic) foods with both manual (and automated) processes. In addition, we are interested in putting knowledge gained with ERIS into practice and collaborating on the development of applications," explains CEO Dr. Robert Ritter in a letter of intent.

Company with tradition

The bakery Geißler is a medium-sized artisan family business in the 5th generation with production in Ostritz (district of Görlitz). Regional baked goods as well as a high-quality confectionery assortment distinguish the Geißler bakery. The bakery's 15 specialty stores can be found in the Zittau and Görlitz area.

ERIS informs representatives of the Brandenburg state government

Visiting Lusatia Representative Dr. Klaus Freytag in Cottbus

Dr. Klaus Freytag. Photo: Brandenburg State Government State Chancellery

The coal phase-out decided by the federal government and the associated structural change must be implemented above all by the municipalities in Lusatia. This requires not only additional financial resources, but above all a joint strategy.

As a strong partner, ERIS can support the structural change and the transformation process in the coal region within the framework of the "Lusatia Program 2038". This is the clear message of the visit of ERIS spokesman Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt to Lusatia Commissioner Dr. Klaus Freytag.

ERIS strengthens investment potential in Lusatia

A major research facility like the "European Research Institute for Space Resources - ERIS" radiates far beyond Saxony's Lausitz region. Even into the neighboring region of Lusatia in Brandenburg. The state border runs directly through the Lusatian coalfield.

Investments in research and education as well as industrial settlements are also being pushed on the Brandenburg side. Dr. Freytag informed about the planning in Brandenburg and that a comparison of the projects makes sense in order to effectively use the funds from the structural strengthening fund. This becomes particularly clear in transportation projects when the route by rail, e.g. from Berlin to Görlitz, passes through Brandenburg's Lausitz region - both sides must work closely together.

Numerous Brandenburg companies, associations and municipalities already support ERIS, such as BASF at the Schwarzheide site, LEAG in Cottbus or TAKKRAF in Lauchhammer. Likewise, the Lausitz Economic Initiative and the Lausitz Round, a cross-state association of mayors, support the concept of locating space research. The reason is the breadth of topics ERIS addresses and the attraction of space technologies for young people, experts from all over the world and investors. In the case of the ERIS approval, close cooperation was agreed upon in order to bring Brandenburg's potential even better into ERIS. This includes, for example, companies such as TESLA and Rolls-Royce or the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus/ Senftenberg.

Lusatia commissioner recognizes potential

With the newly created office of Lusatia Coordinator in 2018, the importance of Lusatia and its charisma have once again been raised to a new level. Dr. Klaus Freytag is an employee of the State Chancellery and reports to the Minister President. The Lusatia Coordinator is based in Cottbus. Here, with his own team on the ground, he is in constant contact with all important partners in the region and is driving forward the further development of Lusatia. He also sees potential in the ERIS project.

ERIS establishes contact with Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus/ Senftenberg (BTU) and Lausitz Science Park

Information and coordination on joint cooperation

Lausitz Science Park. Photo: BTU Cottbus

On August 25, Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt, representing the "European Research Institute for Space Resources - ERIS", had a conversation with the Vice President for Research and Transfer of the BTU, Prof. Dr. Michael Hübner.

Space research offers opportunities for cooperation

The aim of the meeting was to explore the possibilities for cooperation with the university in Cottbus, which is located in the Lusatian coalfield. To this end, a workshop between the scientists of the ERIS project and the BTU was agreed upon. The BTU is already working on research projects related to space.

Cooperation with Lausitz Science Park also conceivable

Prof. Drebenstedt also learned about the Lusatia Science Park, for which the BTU is jointly responsible. Here, too, cooperation with ERIS would be mutually beneficial.

The Lusatia Science Park is one of the outstanding projects of structural development. Under the leadership of the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, an innovation landscape with international appeal is to be created in Cottbus over the next few years, combining excellent basic and applied research with innovative spin-offs and numerous company settlements. To this end, the BTU, together with the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, has sought strong partners such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Leibniz Association, as well as economically strong companies such as LEAG, BASF Schwarzheide, Deutsche Bahn and Rolls-Royce.

More information about the BTU

More information about the Lausitz Science Park

ERIS e.V. founded

Association supports concerns of the space research project in the future

(from left) Dr. Jens Grigoleit, Prof. Drebenstedt and Prof. Enrico Stoll are the three founding board members of ERIS e.V.

The ERIS e.V. was founded on August 23. The association's task is to support the establishment and operation of the potential ERIS large-scale research facility and to advise on technical issues.

Promotion of science and research as well as knowledge and technology transfer

The goal of the association is to establish a joint knowledge, technology and competence platform, in particular for ISRU and habitat technologies, as they are needed to establish and operate stations on other celestial bodies with the resources available on site.

To this end, companies, associations and individuals from the fields of space, resource and production technology in particular are pooling their expertise and activities in order to develop joint research activities.

Board of Directors

The three-member founding board of ERIS e.V. is Prof. Dr. Enrico Stoll (Head of the Department of Astronautics at the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (ILR) of the TU Berlin) for the group of individual members and Dr. Jens Grigoleit and Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt (both TU Bergakademie Freiberg) for the group of scientific institutions.

Become a member

Companies, individuals or associations that feel connected to space exploration can join the unique network on ISRU and habitat technologies at any time. If you are interested, please feel free to write a message to the ERIS project office.

IABG new ERIS partner

Company brings expertise to design and build ERIS test infrastructure

Solar Orbiter Satellite in Space Simulation Chamber WSA/TVA. Solar Orbiter is an ESA project with Airbus UK as prime contractor. Foto: Kai Arndt/ IABG Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH

IABG Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH supports the application of ERIS with the aim of establishing a large-scale research center for space resources. "We are convinced of the approach to simulate and test extraterrestrial living conditions on Earth as far as possible - and thus also to create a real laboratory for sustainable 'earthly' construction," explain shareholder-managing director, Prof. Dr. Rudolf F. Schwarz, and Wolfgang Mohr, division manager Innovation Center, in a letter of support.

60 years of experience in the development and operation of space technologies

Building on the expertise it has developed over the years, IABG sees major growth potential above all in its main business areas of space travel and mobility, energy and environment. The development of solutions for the earth plays an important role here.

At the National Space Test Center (RTZ) in Ottobrunn, for example, IABG operates test facilities for development and qualification tests on space systems, their subsystems and components. There, the company performs, among other things, classic environmental tests in the areas of mechanical qualification, vibration, acoustics, mass properties, static and dynamic structural tests, as well as electromagnetic measurements and thermal vacuum and space simulation tests.

The company is also currently building a Competence Center Optics as a new test facility. This will expand the RTZ in the future and enable special tests in a thermal vacuum test facility.

In addition, IABG operates the ESA Space Test Center in Noordwijk with a partner. Employees there also perform thermal vacuum and space simulation tests.

IABG intends to contribute these competences in case of successful approval and to support the planning and construction of the ERIS test infrastructure - especially the conception, construction and operation of a thermal vacuum facility as a test facility.

Other topics possible as cooperation

In addition to activities directly related to space, IABG also sees opportunities for cooperation in its safety engineering solutions. These include, for example, highly automated and autonomous robots and vehicles for anti-human environments, as well as the development and testing of AI-based intelligent systems. The company could also further develop other systems such as the Highly Flexible Manipulator (HMS) system for extraterrestrial exploration of lunar or Martian rocks.

More information

University of Bremen involved in ERIS conception

Bremen-based researchers contribute expertise in exploration research

Research at ZARM. Photo: Jonas Ginter

With the initiative "Humans on Mars" and the exploration research of the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM), a research topic has been established at the University of Bremen that illuminates all aspects surrounding astronautical missions to other planets, especially Mars. This concentrated expertise is now in demand for the planned large-scale research center "European Research Institute for Space Resources (ERIS)", which is looking for solutions for the extraction and processing of raw materials on the moon.

Participation in Bremen

ZARM scientist Christiane Heinicke takes a central role in the concept as head of the Department of Infrastructure and Habitats and designated member of the founding board of directors. "If the ERIS concept is awarded the contract by the BMBF in October, the University of Bremen will not only gain access to the unique ERIS network, which will be of great benefit for funding further space research, but also direct access to globally unique research facilities. Conversely, Bremen's Drop Tower and GraviTower research laboratories will also be in high demand by scientists from the ERIS consortium," Heinicke said. "It's great to know that the University of Bremen is being considered in such large-scale space projects and is gaining more and more international visibility as a result. Regardless of the success of the concept, Bremen University has been able to successfully network in the German space community and profile Bremen as a location for astronautical exploration."

On the part of the University of Bremen, in addition to ZARM, BIBA (Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbH), the Institute for Microsensors, Actuators & Systems (IMSAS), Sustainable Communication Networks (comnets), the Institute for Solid State Physics (ifp) and the Department of Business Psychology and Human Resources are also involved as partners. The decision on the award of the major research facility is expected to be made at the end of September.

Mehr Informationen

RWTH Aachen is science partner at ERIS

Institute for Metallurgical Process Technology and Metal Recycling brings in expertise

Logo IME RWTH Aachen

The IME Institute for Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling has contributed to the ERIS initiative with its knowledge and experience in the field of metallurgical processes for the recovery of oxygen, metals and mineral products in various forms and purities. They are essential for human presence on celestial bodies. Another important theme of the IME will be recycling, sustainability and circular economy.

"We hope for a successful outcome of the competition, which will bring many benefits to humanity on Earth and in space, and we are excited to be a part of this incredible initiative," says the IME Institute at RWTH Aachen University.

Mehr Informationen

Space architecture and design expert on board

LIQUIFER Space Systems is new ERIS partner

Visualisierung - Forschung auf dem Mond. Foto: Trailer Consortium, visualization: LIQUIFER, 2019

As a partner in ERIS, LIQUIFER Space Systems brings to the project expertise in architecture/habitability, design, human factors, systems engineering, exploration science, scenario development and robotics for future life and work on Earth and in space.

"We strongly support the ERIS initiative. Especially the testing opportunities for habitat technologies and ISRU are of great interest for our work. For us, a German infrastructure geared toward sustainability and the future is advantageous for our Bremen location, as well as for our Austrian headquarters, for which the Lusatia site is equally well located," explains CEO Dr. Barbara Imhof in a letter of intent.

Space-related research and technologies

LIQUIFER Space Systems is an initiative to expand global participation in the development of space-related research and technologies. LIQUIFER's Bremen site is primarily dedicated to innovative research and product development for extra-planetary and terrestrial applications.

Further information

Public round table on space research in Lusatia

ERIS advisory board members inform about experiences and potentials

Einladung zur Gesprächsrunde

In the context of an advisory board meeting on September 7, 2022, ERIS and the LRT e.V. invite you to a public discussion round on the topic "Space Research - Opportunities for the Coal Region" at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau / Görlitz (Furtstraße 2, Haus G1 (Blue Box)) from 6 to 8 pm.

Participants and topics of discussion

Among others, ESA astronaut Dr. Thomas Reiter, planetary scientist and director of the DLR/NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility in Berlin-Adlershof Prof. Dr. Ralf Jaumann, German physicist and long-time DLR board member Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dittus, and honorary cosmonaut and expert on extraplanetary biology Dr. Thorid Zierold will take part in the roundtable discussion.

They will report on their research, their experiences in space and on the preparation of space missions and explain the opportunities of space research for structural change in Lusatia. Afterwards, questions can be asked and the advisory board members will be available for autographs.

Participation possible in presence or via livestream

Participation is free of charge and can be viewed either in presence or via livestream. Registration is requested by September 5, 2022 at

Fraunhofer IWU is co-applicant for ERIS

Leading institute for resource-efficient production is idelae addition in the project

Logo des Fraunhofer IWU

Fraunhofer IWU is a co-applicant for the funding application to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. If the ERIS consortium, currently comprising 66 partners from research, industry and politics, is awarded the contract as one of the six remaining applicants for two large-scale research centers, the space age will begin for Lusatia in January 2023. The project volume amounts to a total of 1.25 billion euros each.

Harnessing and utilizing locally available resources as a scientific focus

A scientific focus of ERIS is the harnessing and utilization of locally available resources as well as the key technologies robotics and autonomous systems required for this. This covers the process chain from raw material extraction and production to the infrastructure and supply necessary for human survival. Because of the hostile conditions on the moon, many of the complex tasks must be reliably performed by robots.

Taskforce Space Technology at Fraunhofer IWU contributes expertise in the field of production

Production is a key to regional value creation, to the integration of existing ecosystems, and a driver of industrial transformation - and for Fraunhofer IWU, one of the main reasons for getting involved in the project in Lusatia. Fraunhofer IWU has extensive expertise in plant, vehicle and mechanical engineering, process digitization, plant automation and robotics.

The Space Technology Taskforce at Fraunhofer IWU is contributing its expertise in first-time-right production, which is already being successfully applied to components of the European Space Agency's new Athena telescope. Transfer knowledge from the COOPERANTS (Collaborative Processes and Services for Aeronautics and Space) digitization project, which is researching more efficient forms for future working methods and production processes over the entire life cycle of space or air vehicles, will also be of great importance to ERIS. This is because efficient digitization simultaneously enables significant relief in stations on Mars or the Moon for work that would endanger human health and performance. Highly automated, even autonomous manufacturing processes also tie up little or no valuable working time. The majority of the resources required must be obtained locally, as transportation would simply be too expensive. Resource efficiency and a circular economy are therefore also an economic prerequisite for a permanent human presence on other planets (the multiplanetary civilization).

To th press release of Fraunhofer IWU

New partner and supporter for ERIS

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is on board as aerospace training expert

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach (Florida)

Über den Kontakt auf der Internationalen Luft- und Raumfahrtmesse in Berlin hat sich für ERIS eine neue Partnerschaft erschlossen. Die Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ist als internationaler Unterstützer an Bord und bringt bei ERIS verschiedene Studien- und Weiterbildungsprogramme im Bereich Luft- und Raumfahrttechnik sowie Expertise in den Bereichen autonome Systeme ein.

Comprehensive range of study and further education programs worldwide

With more than 100 undergraduate degrees, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) offers the world's most comprehensive array of academic programs in aerospace, astronomy and astrophysics, space physics and space operations, and business, engineering and security.

Since its founding in 1926 at Lunken Field in Cincinnati, ERAU has been training in-demand aerospace experts in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, in the United States. To do so, the university collaborates with industry professionals and alliances with organizations and companies such as NASA, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United Launch Alliance, Diamond Aircraft, SpaceX, The Boeing Company, Honeywell, Virgin Galactic and others.

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High technologies from space research

Zittau / Görlitz University of Applied Sciences involved in ERIS project

Prof. Dr. techn. Stefan Kornhuber an einer Hochspannungsgleichspannungsprüfanlage

The aim of the project is to provide innovative solutions for technologies for future life on other planets and resource conservation on Earth.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Kornhuber on the background and research projects of ERIS

"The idea with ERIS, and also with the Mars and lunar expeditions, is not to be constantly dependent on supply modules from Earth, as with the ISS, but to set up the first station with only the bare necessities and then to build literally 'everything' piecemeal on site with the available materials and to produce food," said Prof. Kornhuber of the HSZG.

Project added value goes far beyond innovative technologies on other planets

With the knowledge gained from available boundary conditions to create a self-sustaining system, corresponding novel approaches can also be developed on Earth to minimize the use of raw materials and become less dependent on previously scarce and critical resources.

Contribution of the Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences

"Energy is the basis of life in self-sufficient systems. The researchers at the Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences are focusing on electrical energy supply, with a particular focus on the necessary safety and resilience of the systems. In addition, there is the development of the necessary components from the available raw materials under the given special conditions, but also the economic evaluation of the solution approaches," explains Prof. Kornhuber.

ERIS as a future topic at the LAUSITZRUNDE

Space research project can score points with charisma for Lusatia

Wappen der Lausitzrunde

On August 15, 2022, Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt of the ERIS team informed the speaker of the LAUSITZRUNDE and mayor of the city of Spremberg, Christine Herntier, about the ERIS project and its potential for structural change in Lusatia.

Great interest in ERIS and cooperation in the project

The project met with great interest from the spokesperson of the Lusatia Round Table. Above all, the avoidance of duplication in technology development in Saxony and Lusatia was an important criterion. Here, ERIS can score as a unique space research project in Saxony and Lusatia and integrate and further develop the resources of various partners and institutions in the region.

This offers a unique opportunity for the region's charisma beyond its borders. The goal is to retain skilled workers and researchers in Lusatia and to attract them to the region, while at the same time creating new prospects for companies and start-ups to settle in the region. Currently, well-known companies such as SIEMENS, BASF, TAKRAF, and LEAG are already active in Lusatia and have expressed interest in implementing the ERIS project, as have many small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.

Link between citizens, politics and business

The LAUSITZRUNDE is unites state and cross-party in the Brandenburg and Saxon Lusatia, democratically elected citizen representatives of various regional authorities, from the small community to the cities of Lusatia. It currently has 56 members and sees itself as a link between the citizens of Lusatia and the actors, important regional companies such as the Innovation Region Lusatia GmbH and the Economic Region Lusatia GmbH.

Next lunar mission could soon become reality

NASA updates possible launch dates for Artemis I

Die Mondrakete der Artemis-I-Mission am Launchpad. Bildrechte: NASA

The US space agency NASA has announced three new launch dates for the Artemis I lunar mission. According to these, the rocket system could launch towards the moon as early as August 29. Alternative dates are September 2 or September 5. The transport to the ramp and the launch are to be broadcast live.

Artemis mission to bring humans to the moon again

The unmanned mission, which will take an Orion capsule to the moon, will last between 39 and 42 days. Afterwards, the capsule will return to Earth and provide information about the current conditions on the moon. The results and findings should enable mankind to return to the moon and also serve as a springboard for missions to Mars.

Opportunities and potentials for the space resources project ERIS

If the concept is successfully approved and the large-scale research center is subsequently built, there could be opportunities for exploration missions to the moon as early as 2025. On the basis of on-site samples and measurements, ERIS scientists could come closer to their goal of a self-sufficient lunar station and research into regenerative, environmentally friendly processes under extreme conditions. This also holds great technological potential for Earth in view of advancing climate change as well as energy and raw material issues. After all, the lunar processes are to be applied later on Earth as well and contribute to solving future problems.

More information about the moon mission and the livestream

KF Strahltechnik Dresden and EC Europ Coating become ERIS partners

Medium-sized companies contribute expertise in blasting and surface technology

Strahlung von Oberflächen

KF Strahltechnik Dresden GmbH and EC Europ Coating GmbH are contributing their expertise in surface processing, modification and structuring as well as in vacuum coating to the ERIS project in particular. In addition, the Dresden-based companies are interested in putting the knowledge gained at ERIS into practice and collaborating on the development of new applications.

"We expressly support the idea and implementation of a European Institute of Space Resources and would be very pleased if the project is selected for implementation," explains the managing director of both companies, Burkhard Scholz, in a letter of intent.

More than 40 years of corporate expertise

Since 1990, the company KF Strahltechnik Dresden offers individual solutions in the fields of blasting technology and plant engineering. Since 2018, the company has bundled its competencies with EC Europ Coating GmbH and additionally offers functional surface coatings.

Czech Republic and Poland interested in cooperation

Presentation of the ERIS project in border regions

Logo Interreg Polen-Sachsen

During an online meeting, ERIS spokesperson Prof. Carsten Drebenstedt presented the idea of the "European Research Institute for Space Resources" to the Marchall Office of the Woidwodschaft Niederschlesien and the local Institute for Territorial Development. Previously, letters of intent had already been submitted by universities from Poland and the Czech Republic to participate in ERIS.

High interest in concept

ERIS fits perfectly with the existing cooperation between Saxony and the neighboring regions in Poland and the Czech Republic. For example, the TransGredio project is already investigating what new cooperation potentials arise from the structural change in the coal regions, especially with regard to transport connections, business and innovations, and access to goods and services. At the TransGredio conference in Bolesławiec on September 26, 2022, the ERIS project team will demonstrate what additional potential space research can offer here.

Major research project relies on international community

An institution like ERIS, which addresses a wide range of future technologies in the context of space research, radiates far beyond the coal regions of Saxony. It also encompasses neighboring regions and countries and can only be implemented jointly at the international level.

As a research institution with a European orientation, ERIS has already been able to win over many European countries as well as research institutions and space agencies from the USA, Canada and Chile for cooperation.

Raw materials on earth and in space

Member of the Deutscher Bundestag informs himself about ERIS

MdB Torsten Herbst an einem Baggersimulator

MdB Torsten Herbst visited the institute of Prof. Carsten Drebenstedt at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg on July 20. There he informed himself about the topic of raw materials and energy. It was not only about resources of the earth, but also about future visions of the new space research project ERIS.

Develop utilization strategies for raw materials and energy on other celestial bodies and apply them successfully on earth

"Since, for example, stations for astronauts have to be built and operated extremely efficiently and without waste and emissions due to a lack of local resources and high costs, they are good role models for Earth," explains Prof. Drebenstedt. In this way, we are not only strengthening space research in Germany / Europe with a location in Saxony, but also raw materials research and bringing young people, top researchers and investors to the region.

"The use of raw materials on distant planets is a fascinating project. The project application 'European Research Institute for Space Resources - ERIS' of TU Bergakademie Freiberg is unique in Germany and Europe. The utilization potential of raw materials for the construction of self-sufficient stations in space and the subsequent transfer of experience and knowledge to Earth would be a real technological lighthouse project," says Dresden FDP Member of Parliament Torsten Herbst.

ERIS presentation at the BMBF

Team presents scientific concept to ten-member jury

ERIS-Visualisierung an einem möglichen Standort in der Lausitz.

A presentation team presented the proposal for the ERIS large-scale research facility, delivered in early May, to an international jury at the Federal Ministry of Education and Science in Berlin on July 19, 2022.

The presentation initially focused on the scientific concept. For this, around 100 scientists pooled their expertise in advance at various workshops and numerous video conferences and exchanged views on possible research aspects and potential.

Review by jury

Representing the preparatory team, Prof. Dr. Stefanos Fasoulas (University of Stuttgart), Dr. Christiane Heinicke (University of Bremen), Prof. Dr. Enrico Stoll (TU Berlin), Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt (TU Bergakademie Freiberg) and Dr. Jens Grigoleit from the ERIS project office presented the scientific concept to the team of ten reviewers with experts from the USA, the Netherlands and Belgium. Afterwards, questions were answered for the jury.

The second part of the overall application, the concept for transfer and regional development, will be presented to another expert commission on August 29, 2022.

Jury report forms basis for decision by federal and state governments

Based on the jury's assessment, the federal government and the Free State of Saxony will ultimately decide on funding for the two best concepts, which will start the three-year establishment phase from the beginning of 2023. In this phase, the requirements for the establishment of the large-scale research facility, the personnel and construction concept, the location as well as other topics and the associated financial security will be specified. From the Structural Strengthening Act, the federal government will provide 1.1 billion euros for each major research institution up to and including 2038.

ERIS welcomes new research and development company to the project

Polycare contributes expertise in materials science and circular economy

Polycare produziert Steine für nachhaltige Häuser als Selbstbausatz. Foto: polycare

Polycare Research Technology GmbH & Co. KG would like to get involved primarily in the focus of habitat development on other celestial bodies. The company relies on its knowledge in the fields of material sciences and its know how in the field of circular economy. The company sees parallels with ERIS' approaches: being able to build economically and effectively with on-site resources under difficult conditions.

"We believe that fundamentally new technologies only emerge through great vision and interdisciplinary collaboration. The Apollo project proved that in the 1960s, and ERIS can prove it again," explains CEO Dr. Gerhard Dust in a statement of intent.

World-renowned research institute for novel building materials and construction methods

Polycare's company history began in Thuringia in 2010 with the vision of developing a process that would enable people to rebuild after disasters using local materials (e.g. construction debris or desert sand) and pure muscle power. In the meantime, the company has provided the "proof of concept" with production sites in Africa and Germany and is now also a nationally and internationally sought-after company due to technological developments and materials research in the field of "circular economy".

Further information

Space trade fair in Berlin

Researchers present space technology project ERIS

Researchers from Freiberg and their large-scale research project European Research Institute for Space Resources (ERIS) will be presenting what cross-planetary research of the future could look like from June 22 to 26 at the International Aerospace Exhibition in Berlin (Booth 132 in Hall 6).

ERIS enables state-of-the-art space research in Saxony

Whether satellite systems, precise positioning technology or the finest sensors - high technologies from space research already shape our everyday lives today. But they can do much more for a sustainable and resource-saving life on Earth. In the ERIS project, scientists want to develop technologies that not only meet the conditions on other planets, but at the same time offer innovative solutions for current challenges on earth.

New economic, research and study perspectives for Lausitz

If successfully approved by the BMBF and the Free State of Saxony, ERIS could become one of two new major research centers in the coal regions of Saxony. This will open up new economic perspectives and high-tech locations for industry with numerous jobs.

However, successful implementation not only opens up economic prospects, but also for students and doctoral candidates. After all, the development of space technologies requires knowledge not only from the space industry, but above all from the fields of natural and engineering sciences, mathematics, computer science and robotics, mechanical engineering, energy and process engineering, as well as materials science and economics.

Hungarian University Partner in ERIS

TU Miskolc contributes expertise of the Faculty of Geosciences and Engineering

Logo der TU Miskolc

TU Miskolc is one of the leading universities in the fields of natural sciences, computer science and engineering in Hungary. The university's focus is on exploitable mineral resources, materials and energy with reference to their use and utilization within the circular economy.

"The relevance of the topic is obvious, as space sciences are a driver of innovation and attractive for industry, business and research. The topic of space resources, with its focus on in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and habitat technologies, taps into the competencies in mining regions and offers a good opportunity for sustainable transformation with a long-term perspective. At the same time, space research is developing solutions for our planet to significantly reduce material and energy consumption and avoid emissions and waste. Especially the fields of robotics, automation, digitalization and other areas of our future society will benefit from this" explains the Dean of the Faculty of Earth Science and Engineering, Prof. Gábor Mucsi, in the statement of intent of TU Miskolc.

TU Miskolc represents the broadest field of geosciences in Hungary

The Faculty of Geosciences and Engineering at the University of Miskolc offers many unique degree programs in the field of geosciences. Research and education focus mainly on mineral extraction, raw material processing, fluid mining, hydrogeology, geosciences and waste management. Coupled with a developed research infrastructure, students and faculty and lecturers are involved in important international and national research projects.

Further information

ERIS as a guest at the East German Economic Forum (OFW)

Space exposé handed over to economics ministers of Brandenburg and Saxony

Gesprächsrunde beim OWF 2022 mit Staatsminister Dulig

At the OFW on June 14, 2022 in Bad Saarow, the exposé of the European Research Institute for Space Resources was handed over to the Minister of Economics of Brandenburg, Jörg Steinbach, and the Minister of Economics of the Free State of Saxony, Martin Dulig.

Potential for economic development in Lusatia

With its existing competencies in the fields of raw materials and energy management, mechanical and plant engineering, and automation technology, Lusatia has the potential to become one of the world's leading regions for sustainable technologies and resource efficiency.

ERIS picks up on these potentials and focuses on a concept with a view to regional strengths and future growth markets with particularly high innovation potential.

Similar to the successful development of the Saxon semiconductor and microelectronics cluster over the past decades, ERIS offers a long-term concept with excellent regional fit and the potential to promote economic structural change in Lusatia as well as the technological competitiveness of Germany and Europe in key innovation fields such as robotics and autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, CO2-free industrial processes, circular economy and supply security, and space technology.

Space travel as a driver of innovation

The topic of space travel can become an impulse generator and not only secure jobs in the region, but also attract new companies and start-ups with further employment opportunities to Lusatia. For example, ERIS is in contact with SpaceX regarding scientific cooperation and possible settlement in Lusatia.

"The topic of space travel inspires and attracts bright minds and investors. In the U.S. alone, approximately $50 billion is invested privately in space travel each year," explains Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt of the ERIS spokesperson team. Many profiles of companies in Lusatia fit the development goals of building and operating self-sufficient research stations on other celestial bodies such as the moon.

ERIS presented at the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Plenary lecture provides insights into science and technology developments in space for sustainable life on Earth

Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften

Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt of the ERIS speaker team presented the potentials of the ERIS project at the Saxon Academy of Sciences on June 10.

ERIS is one of the six initiatives applying for the establishment of one of the two new large-scale research facilities to be created in the coal regions of Saxony. In the project, the knowledge and expertise of the companies located in Lusatia will be used to develop innovative solutions for technologies of future life on other planets and for the conservation of resources on earth.

Utilization strategies for raw materials and energy for the moon and earth

The plan is to build and operate self-sufficient space stations on the moon using the materials and energy available there. The scientists' development plan also includes resource-saving technologies and methods for supplying food, water and electricity without emissions and waste under the extreme conditions.

Successful approval of the concept and the subsequent construction phase of the large-scale research center could open up opportunities for exploration missions to the moon as early as 2025 with the launch of NASA's Artemis mission at the end of August this year.

Inventiveness is the key to solving global problems

A station on another celestial body can thus serve as an almost perfect real laboratory for the development and testing of technologies (LEAD user environment) that also enable sustainable management on Earth. The findings and developments of the missions, which include a high level of recycling, no waste, no emissions, optimized space requirements, high safety and reliability standards, robotics, IT and many other technologies, also have great technological potential for Earth with regard to advancing climate change as well as energy and raw material issues and can help minimize environmental impacts on Earth and promote independence from previously scarce and critical raw materials.

Space travel as a source of inspiration and innovation driver

Many technological developments that are used today for completely different applications have their origins in space travel or were promoted in their development by space travel. Well-known examples include microelectronics and computer technology, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, and robotics.

Other applications of crucial importance for life on Earth are only fundamentally made possible by space travel and the infrastructure installed in space. These include, for example, global communications and data networks as well as Earth observation and navigation services with enormous everyday benefits.

In addition, space travel provides valuable knowledge about and for life on Earth and gives people a changed perception of their home planet and its boundaries.

To the academy

Founded in 1846 as the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences and Humanities, today's Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities, like its sister institutions, stands in the tradition of the academy's idea, shaped by Leibniz, of combining theoriam cum praxi. More than 200 scientists from a wide range of disciplines meet regularly to exchange views, discuss methods and results of specialized research in interdisciplinary dialogue, and devote themselves to long-term basic research. The Saxon Academy selects its full members from the states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. It conducts research - mostly in close cooperation with universities and non-university research institutions.

ERIS presents itself at the competence day of industry partner Mikromat

Project offers investment potential across Saxony

Logo Mikromat

At the annual Competence Day of industry partner Mikromat, ERIS was able to present its concept to around 30 representatives of the company's business partners, customers and suppliers. Particular emphasis was placed on the innovation potential in the area of production and manufacturing technology.

The presentation was followed by concrete discussions on possible joint development projects and innovations with relevance for applications both in space and on earth.

Mikromat machines in demand in many industries

Mikromat is a company that specializes in mechanical engineering. The fields of application of the machines manufactured by Mikromat are in power engineering, aerospace, railroad and industrial. In addition, the shipbuilding and automotive sectors make use of Mikromat's services.

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ERIS presented at VDI event in Schwarze Pumpe

Project shows development potential for the Lausitz region

View of the Schwarze Pumpe industrial park. Photo: ASG Spremberg GmbH

At an event of the VDI working group Rapid Innovation, the application concept for ERIS was presented to regional companies and experts from the Lusatia/East Saxony region.

Particular emphasis was placed on the excellent fit with existing and planned initiatives in the context of structural change. For example, modern energy storage solutions and hydrogen-based technologies are to be established at the Schwarze Pumpe site, resulting in synergies and cooperation potential with future research in ERIS.

The participants were impressed by the idea and the status of the concept development. Some companies have declared their intention to participate in ERIS, giving the concept a chance.

Industrial Park Schwarze Pumpe

Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park is located in Lusatia, between the metropolitan areas of Berlin, Dresden and Halle/Leipzig. Its total area covers around 866 hectares (special-purpose association area with all expansion and development areas), of which around 60 hectares of fully developed industrial areas are currently designated for marketing. With one of Europe's most modern power plants for energy generation, its own rail network and comprehensive business development, the industrial park offers great investment potential for attracting new companies and start-ups.

ERIS at the Space Resources Week in Luxembourg

Space experts inform themselves about project and possible cooperation

Space Resources Week graphic

The team around Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt and Dr. Jens Grigoleit was at the Space Resources Week in Luxembourg for two days (May 3-4) and introduced themselves with poster and short presentations. In talks with representatives from NASA, ESRIC, DLR and Blue Origin, they provided information about the concept and possible collaborations.

ESA representatives inform themselves about further cooperation with ERIS

The Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Josef Aschbacher, was also present in Luxembourg and informed himself about ERIS. He showed interest and the contacts to ESA in the field of ISRU and habitat technologies were intensified afterwards. ESA has also already issued a letter of intent for cooperation with ERIS.

"With ESA, we have an important partner on board in the European aerospace sector. Together with the experts there for ISRU and habitat technologies as well as the existing experience from numerous space missions, we will be able to establish a unique space research center in Germany if the ERIS concept is successfully approved," explains Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt from the ERIS spokesperson team.

Trade fair shows utilization potential of space resources

Space Resources Week 2022 is a three-day conference that brings together representatives from the terrestrial resources, aerospace, financial, research and academic sectors. It aims to understand the technical and economic challenges of in situ resource utilization (ISRU) and to develop recommendations for the future development of this high technology sector.

Organized by the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), the program focused on technologies, business models, and next steps that will enable the use of space resources to support a permanent and sustainable human presence on the Moon and beyond.

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ERIS Advisory Board complete

Dr. Thorid Zierold appointed as sixth member

With Dr. Thorid Zierold, the six-member ERIS advisory board is now complete. The current Custodian of Natural Sciences & Deputy Director of the Museum of Natural History in Chemnitz focuses on extraplanetary biology and already has experience as a cosmonaut aspirant.

In 2016, she applied for the tender of the project "Die Astronautin", which trained the first German female astronaut for a private space mission planned for 2020. She made it to the final 86 out of a total of 400 applicants.

But even without a flight into space, the geoecology graduate is still involved with space. In cooperation with ESA, she has already prepared two projects for missions to the International Space Station ISS. Both involved prehistoric crabs. These will now be examined for years on the station as part of scientific experiments to determine their resistance to the extreme conditions in space.

In 2019, she received the honorary cosmonaut award for the promotion of young scientists at the Cosmonaut Center "Sigmund Jähn"/Chemnitz for her scientific efforts and commitment.

New advisory board member appointed

Prof. Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund supports ERIS project

Prof. Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund. (Credit: ISU)

Prof. Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund is another space expert to join the ERIS Advisory Board. The Austrian has been involved with space since she was a student. After studying astronomy and biology, she went to the Leiden Observatory as a Fellow of the European Space Agency (ESA). At the university there, as well as at the University of Amsterdam, she was a professor of astrobiology from 2001 to 2005.

Since 2008, she has been Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University and Lead Investigator at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. In 2015, Prof. Ehrenfreund took over the chairmanship of the Executive Board at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for five years. In this role, she was particularly committed to increasing synergies between the individual departments as well as between basic and applied research. In October 2018, she was elected president of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Since July 2022, she has served as the first President of COSPAR for the term ending in 2026.

Prof. Ehrenfreund is also a long-time member of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Board of Trustees, Region III, Chair of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), a member of the COSPAR Panel on Exploration (PEX), and a member of the NRC Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS).

Tour of possible sites for the ERIS science campus

Lusatia coal region offers very good location conditions for a settlement

Visualisierung des ERIS-Campus an einem möglichen Standort in der Region

In the development and construction of self-sufficient lunar stations, ERIS can draw on a high level of expertise in the region. For example, local companies such as LEAG stand for materials mining and handling as well as logistics, and are planning developments in hydrogen technologies and energy storage. BASF stands for chemical material conversion processes, SIEMENS for energy technology, TAKRAF for steel construction, Alstom for mobility. Lusatia also has expertise in glass, ceramics and mineral building materials, and much more that can be used on other celestial bodies. Together with the space research companies, the structural change can thus succeed without disruption and with valuable industrial jobs.

The ERIS preparation team visited potential sites for the large-scale research center in Lusatia during an excursion.

Boxberg power plant location

The Boxberg power plant site is currently used in part for lignite-fired power generation. With the coal phase-out, the power plant site must also change. The Boxberg power plant is to be completely taken off the grid by the end of 2038. LEAG is therefore continuing to develop its technology field and is devoting itself to hydrogen and storage technology, energy and battery technology as well as plants for the energy recovery of substitute fuels and a technical expansion for the co-combustion of secondary fuels. In this way, the company is contributing to safe disposal in the sense of the circular economy and to CO2-reduced energy supply. In the course of the new investments, LEAG also intends to redevelop the brownfield sites at the old power plant. These offer optimal conditions for a research campus and the settlement of companies and start-ups.

Location Weißwasser

In Weißwasser, the ERIS team obtained information from Mayor Torsten Pötzsch about possible municipal developments, including in connection with the establishment of a large-scale research facility. According to this, suitable location conditions are also available in Weißwasser.

Further stations in Hoyerswerda, Kamenz and Görlitz

The ERIS team also held constructive talks with representatives in other cities in the Lusatian coal region and got a picture of the local conditions and opportunities. According to the results, all cities offer locations for the realization of an ERIS science campus with the best conditions for research and development. This offers a unique opportunity for the charisma of Lusatia beyond its borders. The aim is to retain skilled workers and researchers in Lusatia and attract new ones, while at the same time creating prospects for companies and start-ups in the region. This opens up new economic perspectives and high-tech locations for industry with numerous jobs and, associated with this, new training concepts and career opportunities for young people. Saxon aerospace companies and European giants, such as Airbus, have already expressed interest in the Lusatia site when the unique research center arrives.

Decision on the location after the outcome of the competition

In the application for the large-scale research facility, ERIS did not designate a preferred location, as this seems more sensible after a decision has been made on a specific topic and unnecessary discussions on this in the region are avoided. After clarity on the topic, the site selection should be made with the involvement of the region and the state after consideration of uniform criteria, if necessary also decentralized.

ERIS Information Day at the University of Zittau / Görlitz with great response

Scientific and public part show perspectives for the coal region

Campusgebäude Görlitz

At a two-day workshop on March 31 and April 1, the ERIS preparation team provided information on the ERIS concept and the associated opportunities for the coal region to scientific experts and interested representatives of companies, municipalities and initiatives in the region.

Scientific part shows potential for research

At the scientific workshop on March 31, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the team presented the scientific concept with key work areas, planned infrastructure and cooperation opportunities for partners in science and industry to an expert audience and subsequently discussed it with those present.

In presentations, the scientists already involved presented various research approaches that are being brought into the project. These included the topics of raw materials, construction and production technologies, habitat, life support and supply systems, as well as sustainability, IT and robotics, people and society.

A video message from Minister President Michael Kretschmer introduced the workshop and the following evening event.

Public section provides insight into planning and answers questions

On the evening of March 31, the ERIS project group informed interested representatives of companies, municipalities and initiatives in the region about the plans and gave them the opportunity to ask questions and contribute their own suggestions.

"The exchange was very informative and we also received ideas and suggestions that we are happy to incorporate into the further development of the concept. We were also pleased to receive numerous expressions of interest from local companies to participate in the ERIS project," explains Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt from the spokesperson team.

ERIS Advisory Board grows

Sarah Hillmann appointed as fourth member

The economics and law graduate has been working as a consultant for Int. Cooperation, Security, Raw Materials and Space at the BDI - Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (Federation of German Industries) since 2018. There, she supports, among other things, the work of the BDI Committee for Raw Materials Policy, the analysis and evaluation of raw materials policy issues, the supervision of the BDI/DERA technical discussions on raw materials monitoring, as well as the topics of deep-sea mining and space mining.

Since January 2022, Sarah Hillmann has also been deputy managing director of the BDI initiative NewSpace. The initiative forms a unique alliance of more than 50 start-ups, space companies, associations, traditional industrial companies and the digital economy. The members are committed to expanding NewSpace, i.e., the commercialization of space travel and its increasing integration with other industries, as a solution for global environmental and climate protection. As recently as July 2022, the initiative published concrete political recommendations for action under the title: "NewSpace made in Germany".

First ERIS Advisory Board Members Appointed

ESA astronaut, planetary scientist and long-time DLR board member support ERIS project

(v.l.) Prof. Hansjörg Dittus, Prof. Ralf Jaumann und Dr. Thomas Reiter

At the beginning of February, Dr. Thomas Reiter, Prof. Dr. Ralf Jaumann and Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Dittus received their appointment certificates. The space experts are the first three of a total of six planned advisory board members and will support the conceptual implementation and public announcement of the large-scale research project with immediate effect.

"We are delighted to have such high-caliber reinforcement. With the expertise of the German space elite, their many years of experience and their international network, we have strong backing and support to further expand the ERIS project and to successfully implement it if approved," explains Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt of the ERIS spokesperson team.

Introduction of the advisory board members

The eighth German in space

Dr. Thomas Reiter was an ESA astronaut from 1992 to 2007 and is one of the few astronauts in the world to have spent a total of almost a year in space.

The long-term missions, the only ones of their kind to date, took the graduate engineer to the Russian MIR space station in 1995/96, and the other to the International Space Station ISS in 2006. During the missions, he was the first German to undertake two extravehicular missions in free space.

After his astronaut career, Dr. Thomas Reiter held positions including Head of the ESA Directorate for Manned Spaceflight and Mission Operations as ESA Coordinator International Agencies and Advisor to the Director General, as well as Member of the Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Planetary scientist and scientific space missionary

Since 2006, Prof. Dr. Ralf Jaumann has been an honorary professor at the Institute of Geological Sciences (Department of Planetology and Remote Sensing) at Freie Universität Berlin, where he is involved in scientific research on various space missions.

Among other things, he has been involved in various space missions with ESA and NASA camera experiments to Mars, Venus, and comets and asteroids. The missions provided spectacular 3D images and important insights for space and planetary research.

Until January 2020, Prof. Jaumann was also deputy head of the Institute of Planetary Research and head of the Planetary Geology Department at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin-Adlershof.

Expert in gravitational and quantum physics

German physicist Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dittus has been a university professor in the Department of Production Engineering/Mechanical Engineering and Process Engineering at the University of Bremen since 2006. Until 2008, as a successful scientist in various positions for more than two decades, he also shaped the development of the internationally recognized research area of space technology and fundamental physics at the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM), where the drop tower for unique experiments in zero gravity is also located.

In October 2008, Prof. Dittus moved to the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bremen, where he was responsible for space research and technology as director and, from 2011 until 2020, as a member of the Executive Board.

ERIS introduces itself to state government

Preparation team presents concept and answers questions about the project

Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dittus, astronaut Dr. Thomas Reiter and Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt presented the concept of the planned large-scale research facility ERIS to Minister President Michael Kretschmer, Minister of Science Sebastian Gemkow and Oliver Schenk, Minister of State for Federal Affairs and Media and Head of the State Chancellery, among others, during a visit to the Saxon State Chancellery. Afterwards, the ERIS team answered the politicians' questions.

Free State makes joint decision with federal government on large-scale research center in Lusatia

Two new large-scale research centers will be established in Lusatia in Saxony and in the Central German mining region in the next few years. This will contribute to structural change in the traditional lignite mining regions. The large-scale research centers will also open up new economic prospects for the regions. The BMBF, the Free State of Saxony and the State of Saxony-Anhalt are currently conducting a two-stage open-topic competition entitled "Knowledge creates prospects for the region!

On July 22, the high-ranking Perspectives Commission selected the six most convincing proposals from the approximately 100 submitted and recommended them to the BMBF for the first funding phase, in which the concepts are to be developed to implementation maturity. Afterwards, the concepts will be reviewed again before the actual establishment of two centers begins.

The concepts developed in funding phase I will be reviewed by external scientists. On this basis, the federal government and the host country will decide on funding for the two best concepts, which will enter the start-up phase in 2023. In this three-year start-up phase, the legal foundation and subsequent institutional funding will be prepared. The start-up phase can be extended by three years if necessary. The federal government will provide 1.1 billion euros per center from the Structural Strengthening Act up to and including 2038.

ERIS team as guests in Bremen

Workshop at the University of Bremen and tour of the drop tower

Panorama mit Blick auf den Fallturm

With a meeting on November 19, 2021, scientists involved in the ERIS project continued cooperation and exchange on the development of the large-scale research proposal.

In addition to the workshop at the University of Bremen, a tour of the drop tower was also on the agenda. This is operated by the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the Department of Production Engineering at the University of Bremen and enables experiments under weightlessness. ERIS relies on the use of the already decentralized existing research infrastructure in the network and focuses on the construction of new research infrastructure that closes gaps and has a high attractiveness for researchers worldwide.

Technology unique in Europe enables research under space conditions

In the 120-meter drop tube of the 146-meter drop tower building, researchers from all over the world not only test technologies and experiments that are to be prepared for use in space. In the experiment capsules, which are in free fall up to 3 times a day for either 4.74 seconds by a drop from the top of the drop tube, or with a catapult shot for a full 9.3 seconds, experiments from the fields of fluid mechanics, astrophysics, chemistry, combustion, thermodynamics, as well as materials science and biology are conducted, among others.

In the drop tower, experiments are integrated into experiment capsules and then subjected to free fall in the vacuum of the drop tube. Without the disruptive effect of air resistance, experiments in the drop tower achieve a quality of weightlessness of one millionth of the Earth's gravitational pull, making them eminently suitable for testing technologies and hardware for use in space.

Further information

ERIS at the Space Tech Expo in Bremen

Space network further expanded

Archivbild Space Tech Expo

The ERIS preparation team has used Europe's leading event for space-related technologies to further expand its network at Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany, Nov. 16-18, 2021.

Discussions with companies from the aerospace industry

Among others, the team met with Prof. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Chairwoman of the DLR Executive Board, Andreas Lindenthal, Site Manager at Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen, and Marco R. Fuchs, member of the Executive Board of high-tech provider OHB System AG, and discussed the ERIS project. Fuchs, and exchanged views on the ERIS project.

"The talks went very well. We are pleased about the great interest of the German aerospace industry in our project and hope for a joint realization of the large-scale research center," explains Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt of the ERIS spokesperson team.

OHB and Airbus have already expressed their interest as project partners in the Lausitz site when the unique research center comes. And ERIS is also in contact with SpaceX about a scientific cooperation in Lusatia.

Europe's largest B2B space event

With more than 400 exhibitors and 5,000 experts from around the world, Space Tech Expo in Bremen has become one of Europe's leading trade fairs and conferences on space technology and cutting-edge technologies. It brings together leading companies and experts to discuss challenges and opportunities in space and related industries.

Further information

Continuation of the workshop series on ERIS

Preparation team meets in Braunschweig

Technische Universität Braunschweig - Altbau

On October 08, 2021, scientists from all over Germany met again for a workshop. This time, the venue was the TU Braunschweig.

The meeting focused primarily on the further structural and content-related development of the scientific concept for ERIS as well as the corresponding coordination. A tour of research facilities also provided ideas for the implementation of research topics on a laboratory scale and in the pilot plant.

Space research cluster contributes expertise

As one of numerous partner institutions in ERIS, the TU Braunschweig primarily contributes the expertise of the Space Research Cluster of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, Physics to the project. The cluster covers the topics of space physics, geophysics and space electronics. Among other things, research is conducted there on gravitational effects, techniques for instruments and probes, and modeling processes for measurements and data evaluation on Earth and in space.

Further information

Workshop on space technologies in Freiberg

Design of the ERIS space technology project moves forward

Die Workshop-Teilnehmenden in der Alten Mensa. Foto: TU Bergakademie Freiberg

Top researchers from Germany and Austria met in Freiberg on September 9-10 to further shape the ERIS project.

During the two-day workshop at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, the scientists brought together their existing expertise in space research with universities from Aachen, Berlin, Bremen, Braunschweig, Dresden, Cologne and Stuttgart as well as from Leoben (Austria) and developed a roadmap for the further design of the concept. From TU Bergakademie Freiberg itself, more than 15 scientific fields are integrated in the process.

National and international support

A total of 23 partners from university and non-university space research, business in Lausitz and the aerospace industry, as well as the region itself, are among the supporters of the project, which is currently in concept development.

Minister of State Gemkow informs himself about ERIS idea sketch

Preparation team explains current status and measures

Zitat von Wissenschaftsminister Sebastian Gemkow. Foto SMWK

The Saxon Minister of State for Science, Culture and Tourism, Sebastian Gemkow, informed himself about the "European Research Institute for Space Resources - ERIS" shortly after the announcement of the project outlines for the establishment of a large-scale research facility for structural change in the coal regions, which were selected by the Perspective Commission in the competition "Knowledge Creates Perspectives" for an application. ERIS is one of the six topics selected from among approximately 100 applications. ERIS is concerned with the construction and operation of research stations on other celestial bodies, making extensive use of locally available mineral resources and energy. ERIS takes up the region's existing competencies, e.g. in the fields of raw materials, energy and automation, and develops them further with reference to space technologies. The resulting knowledge and technology will also be used to address problems on Earth.

Potentials of the partner institutions

In the project, scientists from a wide range of national and international institutions pool their expertise and work on concepts for sustainable technologies that can also be applied to the special case of Earth.

The numerous ERIS partners from the region, Saxony, Germany and worldwide contribute their expertise to the project and exchange ideas on the further scientific design of the ERIS large-scale research center.

Until 31.10.2022, the next step is to submit an application to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for funding the preparation of the application. The application must then be submitted by 30.04.2022. From the six applications, two will then be selected for funding, one each in the two Saxon coalfields of Leipzig and Lusatia.

To the competition

The ideas competition "Knowledge creates prospects for the region!" is a joint initiative of the Federal Ministry of Research, the Free State of Saxony and the State of Saxony-Anhalt. It is based on the "Structural Strengthening of Coal Regions Act" and aims to develop and select the best concepts for the establishment of two large-scale research centers in a transparent and open-topic competition process. One of the centers will be established in Lusatia in Saxony, the other in the Central German coalfields.

The competition is aimed at outstanding scientists and will be used to determine the thematic focus and precise location of the new large-scale research centers. Depending on the scientific success of the new facilities, annual institutional funding of up to 170 million euros each is envisaged in the medium term under the StStG.

The establishment of the new large-scale research centers is intended to strengthen Germany as a location for science and innovation and to contribute to the development of Lusatia in Saxony and the Central German mining region into attractive regions of the future. In addition to scientific excellence and the supra-regional significance of the research program, the focus of the new large-scale research centers is therefore to be particularly on the transfer of research results into commercial and social applications as well as the promotion of innovation in the coal regions. The new establishment of the two large-scale research centers is also intended to create modern organizational models and innovative models of cooperation between science and industry.

ERIS is in the next funding phase of the ideas competition

ERIS as one of a total of six major research centers in the next round

Visualization of ERIS. Photo: PepN Stock Footage - iStock

The BMBF recommended a total of six major research centers of the initiative "Knowledge creates perspectives for the region!" for the next funding phase. ERIS has advanced to the next round with its draft proposal for the European Research Institute for Space Resources.

Over the next six months, the project team will now develop a detailed concept. Two of the concepts will ultimately be implemented in a new large-scale research center in Lusatia and in central Germany, respectively.

The BMBF is funding the concept development with up to 500,000 euros.

From the Earth to the Moon and Back: New Perspectives on Sustainability

Together with partners from science and space, ERIS aims to research the scientific and technological basis for the construction and operation of space stations on the moon and Mars. The idea for the large-scale research center creates interesting prospects for researchers and students in all scientific fields at the university, from natural sciences to computer science, mechanical engineering, and energy and process engineering to materials science and economics.

ERIS as a central pillar of transformation in Lusatia

If the project continues to receive funding after the application phase, 1,200 new jobs will be created directly. The charisma expected from the large-scale research center ERIS also goes far beyond this: With a strategy for start-ups and industrial settlements, ERIS wants to become a central pillar for the transformation of Lusatia from a coal region to a high-tech region, without a break in the existing structure.

Small, medium-sized and large companies in the region support the project. A total of 23 partners from university and non-university space research, from business in Lusatia and the aerospace industry as well as the region itself support the concept.

ERIS applies as an initiative for large-scale research facilities in Lusatia

Project brings intelligent approaches to solutions for the development and economic competitiveness of the region

Visualization of a lunar station. Photo: ESA - P. Carril

ERIS entered the ideas competition "Knowledge creates perspectives for the region!" with the idea of a European Research Institute for Space Resources. The aim of the competition is to establish new large-scale research facilities in the regions of Saxony affected by the coal phase-out.

Because of their very close ties to the Lusatia raw materials and energy region and to the Central German coalfield, the ERIS project initiators feel they have a special responsibility to actively accompany and support regional structural change. "The project idea submitted is an excellent fit for the structural change region of Lusatia in Saxony and picks up on regional strengths and special features," explains Prof. Dr. Carsten Drebenstedt from the ERIS team of spokespersons.

European Space Resources Research Center

With the proposal to establish a European Research Institute for Space Resources - ERIS (lead: TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Institute of Mining and Foundation Engineering), the scientific and technical prerequisites for the establishment of manned stations on near-Earth celestial bodies such as the Moon and Mars are to be developed on the basis of terrestrial raw material expertise in conjunction with partners from space travel. It is expected that the development of concepts that meet the demanding conditions on the Moon and Mars will also generate innovative solutions for current challenges on Earth - especially in connection with the sustainable and resource-conserving supply of humans as well as novel artificial-intelligent production systems.