Let’s take off with the European Space Agency at Disrupt Berlin

A few years ago, nobody would have bet that space exploration would become so exciting again. But everybody is talking about space again, from Mars to satellites, launchers and observation. That’s why we invited Frank Salzgeber from the European Space Agency to talk at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

The European Space Agency needs little introduction. It has been one of the earliest and most successful European programs with 22 member states and many key innovations. The agency participates in the International Space Station program, is in charge of unmanned exploration missions on multiple planets and more.

The ESA also develops its own launcher with Arianespace and maintains a spaceport at Kourou. Ariane 5 recently celebrated its 100th launch, and I still have vivid memories of the first flight when I was a kid.

Ariane 6 is right around the corner with a test flight scheduled for 2020. It’ll be much more efficient than Ariane 5 at half the cost. But Arianespace is still facing competition from smaller launchers, such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the Chinese Long March 3B. Now that satellites are getting smaller and smaller, cost is becoming increasingly important compared to capacity.

Salzgeber also fosters the startup community working on space innovations. He manages a network of 20 business incubation centres in Europe in 17 countries. If you think your startup should work with the ESA, chances are there’s a business incubation centre not far from your office.

And if you think we shouldn’t forget about human space flights, Salzgeber agrees with you. He’s been defending human exploration at the ESA and keeps saying that “a society that stops exploring stops progressing.”

If you’re also fascinated by space innovation, you should buy your ticket to Disrupt Berlin to listen to this discussion and many others. The conference will take place on November 29-30.

In addition to fireside chats and panels, like this one, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield Europe to win the highly coveted Battlefield cup.

Frank Salzgeber

Head of Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office, European Space Agency (ESA)

Mr Frank M. Salzgeber is the Head of the Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office at the European Space Agency (ESA). Prior this post he was the Head of Commercial Development in the European Astronaut Department of the Directorate of Human Spaceflight Microgravity and Exploration at the European Space Agency.

Prior to joining ESA, Frank held the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO and CFO) at an IT start-up headquartered in Munich, Germany, between 2000 and 2003, which he merged with CANCOM SA. Frank also spent seven years at Apple Computer (1993 – 2000) initially as an account manager and then as a sales manager, covering Central Europe and being positioned in the US and Czech Republic.

Being genuinely passionate about the importance of human space flight and the European Space Programme, Frank’s believes that ‘a society that stops exploring stops progressing.’