ISU MSS17 Melissa Fernandes Reports from AZO - Space of Innovation


“Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) is a close knit family of 25 employees with Mr. Thorsten Rudolph and Ms. Stefanie Herrmann at the helm” reports ISU Master of Space Studies MSS17 Melissa Fernandes.

“It is located in one of the large aerospace hubs in Greater Munich. AZO is a very unique company, in that, it organizes various space related competitions such as the Copernicus Masters, the INNOSpace Masters, the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) and the recently launched Space Exploration Masters competition.  In addition to this, AZO runs the ESA Business Incubation Centre in Bavaria - one of the largest and most successful in Europe.

When I first joined AZO in May, I worked closely with Mr. Andreas Dippelhofer who is the Senior Project Manager for the ESNC and we were right in the thick of the submission phase. I also worked on the Copernicus Masters - a competition for ideas related to earth observation data. My work has been mostly in the business development field - scouting for potential applicants and convincing them to participate. Now that the deadlines for both the ESNC and the Copernicus Masters are over, I am working closely with Mr. Nico Marzian who is the Project Manager for the recently launched Space Exploration Masters competition.

The aim of the competition is to identify technology transfer cases that have been successfully implemented with ESA involvement from space exploration to non-space applications, as well as new ideas for business innovation connected to space exploration. This includes going from space to non-space (spin-off) or non-space to space (spin-in).

The Space Exploration Masters is now in its submission phase, the deadline being on September 8th, 2017. I contribute by finding potential cases and participants and reaching out to them for the promotion of the different prizes and other opportunities provided in line with the competition, while also assisting with the coordination of ongoing updates on the website. In between working on these competitions, I am helping the Managing Director, Mr. Rudolph, with exploring the opportunities to expand AZO’s network towards India by liaising with representatives of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Working at AZO has been an amazing experience. I am especially grateful to Mr. Dippelhofer who gave me the opportunity to witness, first hand, the remarkable projects that AZO has in its portfolio. I have learnt a great deal more about the space industry, the start-up market and the space business environment.”