A trip down memory lane for alumni: 360-degree tour of TU Berlin

© Felix Noak

His main stage is space itself: Cem Avsar studied aeronautics and astronautics in Berlin, runs his own company, and dedicates his experience and talents to advising international students at TU Berlin.

The roof of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) provides a fabulous view across Berlin. When Cem Avsar was still studying, he would sometimes grab his guitar, play music up there, and enjoy the sunset. ‘It really helped me to switch off’, says the scientific coordinator who is now a 37-year-old. That roof is his favourite spot at TU Berlin. There is a , aimed at international alumni from the university, in which Cem Avsar introduces other spots on the TU campus that former students like to remember: such as the large lecture hall, the library, or the architecturally interesting maths building. The TU had previously launched an online survey among international alumni – and used the findings when co-producing the English-language video with Cem Avsar. So what makes this special? The film includes a 360-degree panorama, which enables alumni to fully immerse themselves in their nostalgia for spots they loved at the TU.

Cem Avsar also takes his viewers into the mission control room at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. ‘This is the room from which the TU satellites are controlled’, Avsar explains in the video, ‘TU Berlin has to date developed and operated 27 of them’. He didn’t only spend a lot of time on the roof during his studies, but also in the control room – and he still does, because Cem Avsar is now a scientific coordinator of the Master of Space Engineering Study Programme at the TU.

After his graduation in 2010, he was initially a research associate in the Department of Astronautics at TU Berlin. In 2016 he founded his own company, ‘beSpace’, which organises the Space Engineering degree course in a public-private partnership. ‘We work in a very practice-oriented way, and support the students in their very personal development’, he explains. Many of the degree course students come from outside Germany. Avsar and his staff provide individual counselling sessions, and help them with their studies or to find internships or jobs.

Successful correspondence via YouTube

Avsar discovered over the years that many of his students had similar questions, so he set up his own where he answers questions and provides tips. With high success rates: 60 per cent of his students are already working part-time during their studies for companies in the aeronautics and astronautics sectors, and many TU alumni subsequently find a job in Berlin or Brandenburg. ‘Our region now boasts a really superb astronautics scene’, says Avsar.

Cem Avsar has also participated in the annual TU Science Slam. One of his topics was ‘How do you build a Mars rover in 200 days?’. You can’t, was the answer Avsar gave when presenting with much wit and self-irony how he spectacularly failed with the attempt to build a robot for a competition. ‘I was happy being onstage even as a schoolchild; I acted in school plays and performed music’, he says. Back then though he would never have dreamt that this talent could be combined with a job in astronautics.

Cem Avsar, who grew up in Berlin, came into aeronautics rather by chance. He never even wanted to be an astronaut. ‘I had actually intended to study surveying. But that degree course was no longer available at the TU when I wanted to enrol.’ He quickly decided on transport – and ultimately ended up helping to send satellites into distant orbits.

Cem Avsar plans to make Berlin his central hub, although he would in future like to spend the winter somewhere else, in Asia or South America perhaps. ‘We’re currently realising the potential of working online. I’d like to exploit that myself’, he says. And should he ever be griped by a longing for Germany, he can always watch his own YouTube video.

Related links

* mandatory field