The Reflex Aerospace founders Alexander Genzel and Walter Ballheimer.
© Reflex Aerospace

Reflex Aerospace: High-performance satellites at a fraction of the usual cost

The new space startup Reflex Aerospace is a leader in the development and production of advanced dual-use satellites. The company, based in Berlin and Munich, uses new methods to modernize the development time and production of satellites, thereby achieving significantly shorter delivery times and greater reliability. In this interview, the founders provide insights into their company.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem do you solve?

Reflex Aerospace: We shorten the development, production and testing times for satellites from two to four years for traditional manufacturers to around nine months. Our rule of thumb is: three months for development, three months for production and three months for testing. We follow a payload-oriented design approach. Our focus is clearly on high-performance satellites that are reliable and cost our customers only a fraction of the usual costs. AI-supported design and 3D printing help us achieve this. With our first microfactory in Munich, we are also launching series production of customized satellites this year.

Reflex Aerospace: “We are pioneers in Germany!”

Munich Startup: But that already exists!

Reflex Aerospace: Not quite. And especially not from Germany! Reflex Aerospace fills the gap in the market between large “classic space” companies (with highly complex satellites weighing several tons, which can cost between 2 and 3-digit million euro sums) and manufacturers of nanosatellites (shoebox-sized, low-energy satellites, whose low-cost production is increasingly being relocated outside Europe). Our satellites, on the other hand, are “medium-sized” and weigh between 250 and 500 kg. We are pioneers in Germany!

Munich Startup: What is your founding story?

Reflex Aerospace: Three years ago, our founders got together because they realized that established satellite manufacturers and large companies were dominating the high-end market. Smaller and more cost-effective alternatives largely came from the USA, while Europe and Germany had a large gap in the market. This realization led to the founding of Reflex Aerospace.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Reflex Aerospace: As withany other startup, financing was a challenge for us. Startups in the New Space sector have great difficulty in obtaining funding, whether from venture capitalists or government support. Fortunately, we have managed to get a strong network of investors on board and have raised a total of 11 million euros so far. Another major challenge is working with traditional and sluggish corporations as well as bureaucratic institutions.

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where would you like to be in five years?

Reflex Aerospace: We are aiming to fully ramp up our microfactory in Munich in a year’s time. We want to use our innovative production facilities to manufacture customized satellites in series. Within five years, we are aiming to become the market leader in Europe and want to establish a significant market presence in the USA.

Munich offers the ideal environment for New Space startups

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Reflex Aerospace: Our headquarters are located in Berlin, which is great for finding software developers. Munich, on the other hand, is the ideal match for Reflex Aerospace due to its startup scene and highly qualified engineers. Nowhere in Germany is there such a booming new space scene as in Munich. The city knows aerospace companies that are based here. This is an ideal fit for our microfactory. We are based at IABG in Ottobrunn. Tests for the Ariane rocket and Airbus have already been carried out here. This makes it easier for us to access all the tools we need to develop and test our Reflex satellites.

Munich Startup: Quick exit or staying power?

Reflex Aerospace: Going public is of course our long-term goal. But before that, we will continue to work hard to create solid conditions for this and establish ourselves as a leading player in the industry over the next few years.