After an early morning start, the delegation travelled from the Golden City of San Francisco towards the heart of innovation in Silicon Valley. Considered one of the best ecosystems for start-ups in high-tech industry, it has been key to developing the “new space” sector.

Their first stop: NASA Ames Research Center, which lay the foundation for research in the field of aerospace engineering. It has been very much an innovation hub for space startups in Silicon Valley.

On their tour of Ames they visited The Aeromechanics Office of the Flight Vehicle Research and Technology, home of a research helicopter called the RASCAL (Rotorcraft Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory) – a Blackhawk modified for fly-by-wire control systems research. They also visited Skycorp, a space startup that has been incubated within Ames and seeks to transform the spacecraft industry, utilising orbital assembly process.

The delegation were then introduced to Open MCT – a next-generation mission control framework being developed at Ames, in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As an open source tool, Open MCT could be used by space startups as the basis for building applications for planning, operation, and analysis of any systems producing telemetry data.

The delegation at NASA Ames Research Center
The delegation at NASA Ames Research Center

From NASA Ames, the delegation then visited nearby Airbus A3 – the Silicon Valley outpost of Airbus, the leading maker of large commercial aircraft, civil helicopters, as well as satellites, drones, and military aircraft.

A3 believes that the future is created through episodic disruption with intervening periods of incremental innovation. Its mission is to build the future of flight now, by disrupting Airbus Group and its competitors before someone else does.

Deputy CEO, Eduardo Dominguez-Puerta presented the outpost of Airbus and how it uses the Silicon Valley mindset to create new and innovative concepts with the ability to disrupt the industry.

“Disruption is not cool, it’s useful.” – Eduardo Dominguez-Puerta, Deputy CEO of Airbus A3

"Disruption is not cool, it's useful." – Eduardo Dominguez-Puerta, Deputy CEO of Airbus A3
“Disruption is not cool, it’s useful.” – Eduardo Dominguez-Puerta, Deputy CEO of Airbus A3

 

“Awesome, innovative, startup friendly” – anonymous entrepreneur on their perception of Airbus A3

In the evening we held a BBQ event at Rainbow Mansion, a Silicon Valley “tech commune” that has included an “ivy league of Silicon Valley companies”, such as Apple, Google and Tesla. Members from the Bremen delegation were given the opportunity to pitch their startup ideas to the Rainbow Mansion residents and wider Rainbow Mansion community.

The Bremen delegation pitch their ideas to the Rainbow Mansion community
The Bremen delegation pitch their ideas to the Rainbow Mansion community

“I loved the people that were gathered playing with cutting edge technologies and exchanging a constant flow of ideas.” – Anonymous entrepreneur

One of the guests trying out Apollo 11 VR docking with the lunar landing module.
One of the guests trying out Apollo 11 VR docking with the lunar landing module.

“Already the first dates in California have shown how much innovative energy can be found here. For our highly industrialised Space Bremen we can move from here take a lot of inspiration to position ourselves for the challenges of the future well and offer new entrepreneurs attractive conditions,” – Senator Günthner said at the end of the third day of the delegation.