astrofactum is joined by a powerful business partner to build a successor to the Hubble Telescope

OHB Venture Capital invests in astrofactum

astrofactum GmbH has announced that OHB Venture Capital GmbH have become involved with their company as an investor and strategic partner. OHB Venture Capital GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of the listed space technology group OHB SE. The OHB participation will enable astrofactum to benefit, above all, from the OHB group’s
35 years of experience specialised in developing high-tech solutions for the space sector. A complementary benefit of this partnership is the access to an extensive network within the scientific research landscape.
astrofactum was founded in 2014 with the long-term objective of enabling a broad spectrum of users to access astronomical applications from space. The activities include both the design and realisation of astronomy related projects, and also the commercialisation of the associated observation capabilities.

“astrofactum democratizes access to outer space. Our successor to the Hubble Space Telescope will enable not only scientists, but also persons from the general public interested in astronomy to explore the universe. Our collaboration with OHB is an important milestone,” explains Heiko Wilkens, CEO of astrofactum.

Jochen Harms, CEO of OHB Venture Capital says, “astrofactum is right at the centre of our investment portfolio – a European company with business in the field of aerospace technology with a strong focus on service.”

Dr Fritz Merkle, Board Member of OHB SE, adds, “astrofactum’s business ideas enrich OHB SE’s portfolio, opening an entirely new route in terms of applications and services in the field of astronomical research, with a customer base from the domains science, education and amateur astronomy.”

The company’s first step will be to amalgamate free, terrestrial and satellite-based modes of observation and supply users from private and institutional sectors. This establishes an astronomy offer for a user community that spans the globe, thus kick starting step number two: the space telescope project entitled “Public Telescope”. This telescope has a primary mirror with a diameter of 80 cm, enabling people to observe space in several different spectrums: ultraviolet (UV), visual (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR). The newest part of the business model is the idea to give unrestricted access to private astronomers and individuals working in education. In terms of observations in the ultraviolet spectrum, the space telescope will close the gap arising in the scientific field as a result of the Hubble Space Telescope going out of operation in 2020. Access to the UV spectrum is of fundamental importance to virtually all subdomains under the umbrella of astrophysical research.

In comparison to terrestrial telescopes, a space telescope offers all kinds of advantages: using a telescope in space, that is to say using it outside the Earth’s atmosphere, means astronomic objects can be observed without any interference. Meteorological influences, air turbulence and air pollution are all factors occurring inside the Earth’s atmosphere which reduce the quality of the images produced by terrestrial telescopes. The ultraviolet spectrum can only be observed from space due to the screening properties of the Earth’s atmosphere. Observation possibilities extend to include objects in our solar system, exoplanets, galaxies, transient space objects, star formations and stellar populations. Observations made within the UV spectrum enable conclusions to be drawn regarding the chemical composition and physical features of celestial bodies in the upper layers of the atmosphere.

Looking forward to the partnership between OHB and astrofactum
Christian Wiederer (COO of astrofactum), Heiko Wilkens (CEO of astrofactum), Dr Fritz Merkle (Board Member of OHB SE) and Marcus Schneider, General Counsel der OHB SE

About OHB Venture Capital GmbH
As a subsidiary of OHB SE, OHB Venture Capital GmbH invests in start-up businesses across Europe whose strategy is in line with that of the OHB group, and who work towards innovating OHB group’s current lines of business. Companies with positive market prospects working in the fields of space systems, technology, applications and services all count as promising businesses and start-ups. OHB Venture Capital not only assists their portfolio companies in terms of actual venture capital, but mostly in terms of providing access to the OHB group’s expertise, as well as to an extensive network within the research and promotion scenes. What is more, start-up businesses can receive active support in the areas of management and finance. OHB Venture Capital prefers to get involved in financing during a business’ very early stages of company development.

About OHB SE
OHB SE is the first listed technology and space group in Germany with a history spanning 35 years. Two business units offer international customers sophisticated solutions and systems:
Within the „Space Systems" corporate division the focus is on the development and implementation of space projects. In particular, this refers to the development and manufacturing of low earth orbit and geostationary orbit satellites for navigation, scientific, communication and Earth observation purposes, including scientific payloads. In terms of human space flight, the focus is on projects aimed at equipping and operating the International Space Station (ISS), Columbus and ATVs. Within the context of exploration, amongst others, our experts contribute to the exploration of our solar system with an emphasis on the Moon and Mars. Beyond this, high-performance reconnaissance satellites, as well as broadband wireless transmissions of image reconnaissance data make up our core technologies for security and reconnaissance purposes.
The „Aerospace + Industrial Products" corporate division places emphasis on the manufacturing of products for aviation and space travel, as well as telematics. In this regard, OHB has positioned itself as a significant equipment provider for aerospace structures for aviation and space travel and, amongst others, is Germany's largest supplier to the ARIANE programme.