In response to epoch-making developments in aviation and space flight, the Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder announced the establishment of a new engineering department at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in his government statement on April 18, 2018. This initiative will combine TUM's long-established aerospace engineering expertise with fundamental research in satellite navigation, earth observation and the basic geodetic disciplines to form the new Department of Aerospace, Aeronautics and Geodesy. The engineering activities will be complemented by specialized knowledge in the natural sciences. The resolution to establish the new department was passed on May 9, 2018 and approved by the TUM Board of Trustees on July 18, 2018. The new department will have its headquarter to the south of Munich in Taufkirchen / Ottobrunn.
With the addition of 30 professorships, it will be the largest academic department of its kind in Europe. When in full operation, with more than 55 professorships covering a wide range of fields, it will represent about 50 percent of the total academic research capacity in aerospace engineering in Germany. The initiative is a decisive step by the Bavarian state government in response to what the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina recently called "the creeping loss of expertise" in German aerospace research.
The technological advances demanded by the 2015 UN Paris Agreement on climate change and new laws on automated, unmanned drones will be possible only with highly interdisciplinary system capabilities. Along with excellent research capabilities in lightweight construction (fiber-reinforced plastics, carbon composites), drive systems, aerodynamics, control technologies, sensor technology, flight systems (air taxis) and alternative energy sources (Algae cultivation center in Ottobrunn), TUM has outstanding skills in satellite navigation, remote sensing and earth observation (ESA satellite GOCE), and all areas of geodesy. These skills are supported by the optimal utilization of the interfaces to key competencies in electrical and computer engineering and informatics.
Triangle Garching – Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen – Oberpfaffenhofen
Through the interactive positioning within the European metropolitan region of Munich (Garching – Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen – Oberpfaffenhofen), the existing competitive advantages will be leveraged to build an unparalleled research alliance with numerous companies and scientific institutions. Ideal conditions for a world-class research department will be created especially through strategic alliances with such internationally renowned institutions and companies as the German Aerospace Center (DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen), Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG, Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen), Airbus and the Ludwig Bölkow Campus GmbH (Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen), MTU Aero Engines AG (Munich) and Bauhaus Luftfahrt (Taufkirchen) along with leading high-tech supplier industries in the Munich/Augsburg region. At the same time, the department's transnational profile will be enhanced through cooperative research and educational programs, for example the German-French degree course in Aerospace Systems Engineering (Toulouse-Munich axis).
Air taxis and Bavaria Sat
Integral components of the new department are the TUM Center for Automated Urban Aerial Mobility, which will conduct research into the technical and practical feasibility of air taxis, and the "Bavaria Sat" satellite, planned under the auspices of the Bavaria One space program in cooperation with DLR Oberpfaffenhofen.
"Perfect timing – in the interests of Germany and Europe"
"With the specific example of the world of aerospace, the 15th academic department in our 150-year history will address the interdisciplinary challenges facing German engineering in an era of far-reaching upheavals in technology and society," said TUM President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann. "The technological transformation, new mobility concepts and transport systems as well as the digital technologies are opening up previously undreamed-of prospects for engineering sciences and will completely reshuffle the cards in aerospace research, too. Therefore, the initiative by the Bavarian state government is perfectly timed – also for the interests of Germany and Europe."