About yuri

Our mission

We founded yuri with a simple mission:

To enable and expand research and commercial applications in microgravity.

We strongly believe in the enormous benefits that microgravity brings to industries such as pharma, biotech, advanced materials and electronics. By offering a one-stop-shop for any service in microgravity, we make it accessible to any industry.

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Our Story

From kiwi to yuri

While working at Airbus in Southern Germany, the three space engineers Maria, Chriss and Philipp founded the internal brand kiwi under which they launched 8 missions to the International Space Station for customers such as ESA, NASA and the German Space Agency (DLR).

With the dream of making microgravity accessible to any country or industry, they decided to start their own company. After adding a fourth team member, Mark, to take care of the business side, yuri was born in June 2019. The name yuri is a tribute to the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin.

How we work

Meet the Team

We are space nerds by heart with 25 years of experience. Having worked on 9 successful ISS missions, mars rovers and floating robots, we are your trusted partner for all your microgravity missions.

Maria Birlem

Chief Executive Officer

Maria grew up in Eastern Germany with Yuri Gagarin and Sigmund Jähn as her heros. She studied Aerospace Engineering in Aachen and worked for DLR, ESA and Airbus on Mars rovers, laser communication telescopes and various microgravity payloads for ISS and even a Chinese science mission. Maria was also a promising candidate to be the first German female astronaut. At yuri she takes care of the payload integration and customer success. When not in office, she raises her three kids, persues upcycling projects and leads the local volleyball team.

Christian Bruderrek

Chief operating officer

Chriss studied Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. As mechanical and CAE engineer he developed spacecrafts and various microgravity payloads. At Airbus Chriss and Maria won several company innovation competitions leading to their own Airbus brand kiwi. At yuri he is responsible for all operations, space agency topics and international partnerships. Chriss wears beanies at nearly all occassions and spends his free time with his three kids and all kind of sports.

Philipp Schulien


Philipp studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. He worked at Bosch and Airbus on various payloads for the International Space Station. For his role as lead system engineer for the ISS robot "CIMON", a free floating crew assistant equipped with artificial intelligence, he and his team won the German Innovation Award in 2019. At yuri he oversees all technical matters, such as hardware, electronics and software development. He is passionate about prog music and owns a collection of more than 500 records.

Mark Kugel


Mark studied Technology Management at the TU Munich and the Center for Digital Technology & Management (CDTM). Besides working several years at Airbus and Rolls-Royce as project manager and product owner, he founded and later sold the sharing economy startup useley. At yuri he is responsible for commercial business development, sales and all marketing channels. He loves crazy challenges and is currently the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest marathon in a rocket costume (no kidding).

Rudran Chakraborty


Rudran is studying electrical engineering at the Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences. He supports Philipp in electronics and software development. Currently he is developing our microgravity simulation machine, the Clinostat. Rudran is originally from India and loves cooking Indian dishes (also for the whole team!).

Frederik Keuch


Freddy just finished his bachelor’s thesis in the global marketing department of Rolls-Royce. He is part of the business development team helping to bring the value of microgravity to new commercial markets. One of his projects is organizing a suborbital ridesharing service, stay tuned. He is a professional tennis coach as well and will hopefully teach the team some pro moves.

Lukas Trautwein


Lukas studies aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart and supports the engineering team mostly on the mechanical design. He is passionate about 3D printing and even printed a yuri helmet for our kiwi mascot. When he’s not in the office, he is playing the trumpet in the local brass band and staying fit in the local gym.

Dennis Balasus

AIT Engineering

Dennis just finished his studies in aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart. He worked on payloads for the ISS during an internship and his master's thesis at Airbus. At yuri he supports mission operations and engineering. Besides that, he either works as a scuba diving instructor or explores lake constance himself.

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