Dr. Fritz Merkle is the CEO of Kayser-Threde in Munich, Germany. He is a member of the Executive Board of OHB System AG and is responsible for defense programs, advanced studies and business development. Prior to his current assignment, he was a Vice-President and member of the management team of the Carl Zeiss Group, where he headed the Space Technology and Astronomical Instruments Division with responsibility for major European space and science projects. Previously, Merkle was Project Manager with European Southern Observatory, Visiting Scientist at IBM Almaden Research, and Assistant Professor for Applied Physics at University of Heidelberg, Gernamn, for various scientific research areas in the field of optics, optical and digital image processing and adaptive optics. He is a representative of OHB in the German Aerospace Industry Association and a member and chairman of the board of trustees of Max-Planck and Fraunhofer Institutes. Merkle was appointed to the Space Foundation Board of Directors in 2014. He has authored many white papers, national and international journals, and conference proceedings, and is the co-author of several books. Merkle holds a Diploma Degree and Doctorate in Applied Physics from the University of Heidelberg.