Former SpaceX exec, Turkish engineer gears up for rocket launch business

İBRAHIM ACAR
ISTANBUL
Published 27.07.2019 00:16

Germany-based Turkish engineer, former SpaceX Avionics Vice President Bülent Altan is getting ready to become a strong competitor for Elon Musk's company with the Gilching-based Isar Aerospace Technologies.

Altan, who is also the former head of digital transformation and innovation at Airbus Defense and Space, has rolled up his sleeves to accelerate the development and improvement of satellite constellations and rocket launches.

He is now working on Spectrum, a commerc

ial launch vehicle that is slated for its first launch in 2021. Spectrum is a two-stage launch vehicle specifically designed for satellite constellation deployment, according to Isar Aerospace Technologies.

Altan had joined SpaceX in 2004, two years after it was founded. He left SpaceX in 2014 for Munich, Germany, where he formed a business accelerator called TechFounders and briefly worked at Airbus Defense and Space on digital transformation and innovation before rejoining SpaceX in 2016 to work on Starlink, a planned constellation of up to 12,000 broadband satellites.

Germany-based Mynaric on March 13 announced Altan as its new co-chief executive, splitting the position with Wolfram Peschko, Mynaric's CEO since 2011.

A report by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch put forward that the space commerce sector, which currently has an economic size of $339 billion, is expected to grow eightfold by 2045.

In a statement on Isar Aerospace's website, Altan said: "We aim to render space commerce affordable for everyone. Our latest investment that is less costly compared to other investments in the sector will enable us to develop far better rocket engines that will outperform conventional engines in the same launcher category."

Though private enterprises entered space commerce years ago, the private investments in this field are still inadequate, he remarked. "Therefore," he added, "with this new investment we would like to become a pioneer in the sector. We have the capability to create the European version of SpaceX."

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