Today, the German Aerospace Center and Airbus sealed the deal on MERLIN, a new joint development effort. MERLIN – short for Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Missiong – will deploy small satellites in the earth’s orbit to measure the atmosphere’s methane concentration. The project is scheduled to start yielding results in 2021.
The deal was signed at the Bavarian facilities of Airbus Defence and Space at Ottobrunn, a suburb of Munich. The bulk of the German investments pertaining to the measuring system’s construction (around €90 million) will flow into these very same facilities. Moreover, key technologies for the project were developed by Bavarian enterprises and research facilities.
As a whole, MERLIN is thus another example of Bavaria’s leadership in aerospace engineering: The local economy covers the entire aerospace value chain, from research and development in innovative facilities, over compenent supply by medium-sized enterprises, to assembly and coordination by a major international corporation. As of today, the aerospace sector employs approximately 65,000 people in Bavaria and generates a yearly revenue of €10 billion.
Bavaria intends to continuously further this strength. Recently, the Bavarian Head of Government, Horst Seehofer, identified key technologies he considers essential for his state’s current and future success, and which the Bavarian government is prepared to develop through strategic investments. Ahead of digitization, biotechnology and nano-sciences, aerospace was the first item on his list.
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