© ohb venture capital Business | March 21, 2017

OHB Venture Capital invests in astrofactum

OHB Venture Capital GmbHwill be an investor and as strategic partner to astrofactum GmbH.
astrofactum was founded in 2014 with the long-term objective of enabling a broad spectrum of users to access astronomical applications form space. The activities include both the design and realisation of astronomy related projects, and also the commercialisation of the associated observation capabilities.

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.”

“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.

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.

Image: Looking forward to the partnership between OHB and astrofactum are C. Wiederer (COO of astrofactum), H. Wilkens (CEO of astrofactum), Dr Merkle (Board Member of OHB SE) and M. Schneider (General Counsel OHB SE)
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