Space | 31. May 2010 | posted by Jan Wörner

Former University President and DLR Board Chairman to be ESA Director General?

Jan Wörner im Kreis europäischer Astronauten.

The period of office for the current ESA Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, ends in 2011. Because so far only one German, Reimar Lüst, has been director general of the European Space Agency since its inception, it seems fairly obvious for a German candidate to be in the running for the forthcoming election of a successor. Preliminary discussions with all ESA member states confirmed that a German candidate would have very good prospects. read more

Space | 31. May 2010

Tests completed - the next TanDEM-X transmission will come from space

With finalisation of the functional tests for the satellite bus and instrument, we have reached another important milestone. Evaluation of the test data confirmed that everything was nominal. In one of the last tests, the satellite was powered up solely by its internal supply and the external power was switched off. This too was successful, so the satellite was turned off and the wiring to the electrical test equipment was removed – a slightly melancholic moment. The next time we receive a signal from the spacecraft it will be in orbit, having separated from the launcher. read more

Energy | 31. May 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken | 1 Comment

Energy question of the week: Is there such a thing as free electricity?

When we pay our electricity bill, we are paying for more than just the operation of wind turbines or nuclear power stations. What with rental for the electricity meter, costs for using the power grids, value-added tax and a tax on electricity, coupled with a surcharge for the preferred sourcing of green power, the final price we pay is effectively double the generation cost. Having said that, is it conceivable that there is such a thing as free electricity in the ever more dynamic power market? read more

Space | 26. May 2010

DLR-Webcast: SOFIA - the flying infrared observatory

SOFIA

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, is a cooperative German-US space research project. The 2.7-metre telescope, housed in a Boeing 747SP, is designed to observe in the infrared. During flight, a four-by-six-metre door opens at the rear of the aircraft, through which the telescope can view the night sky. The plane is based in California; the telescope was designed and built in Germany. read more

Space | 26. May 2010

A long test day begins

Today, with the commencement of the Abbreviated Functional Test, the final checkout of the radar instrument began. The team is now complete - travelling yesterday from Moscow, additional colleagues from Astrium and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) arrived at just the right time. For most of them this is not their first stay here in Baikonur - they previously worked on TerraSAR-X and the facility and the working environment are familiar to them. read more

Space | 25. May 2010

The final checkout begins

The fueling of the TanDEM-X satellite with hydrazine was completed on Saturday 22 May. This potentially hazardous operation was performed successfully by Astrium. Following this, the satellite was packed into its container and transported from the fueling station back to the integration facitity. After the arrival of new personnel from Germany on Tuesday, the final checkout of the satellite bus and instruments will start in the middle of this week. read more

Energy | 25. May 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Energy question of the week: Can laptops and iPads dispense with power sockets in the future?

'Mobile electricity' - that is, electricity available on the move - is the most valuable form of electrical power. This is why it is worthwhile equipping notebooks and laptops with expensive lithium-ion batteries that need to be recharged at regular intervals by plugging them into power sockets. The iPad, which looks set to spur the market for electronic reader devices, remains uninteresting without its batteries. However, solar cells and hand cranks are already able to generate standalone power for mobile devices. Will these devices be able to cope entirely on their own without power sockets someday? read more

Space | 20. May 2010 | 3 Comments

Safety first in the fuelling hall

TanDEM-X has left the integration facility for its reaction control system tank to be filled with hydrazine over the next few days. To do this, the satellite has been moved to the fuelling station as was reported earlier. Fuelling is a dangerous job, because the propellant used is quite toxic. When you enter the fuelling hall, the sign over the entrance reminds everyone to not forget the dangers. Translated, it reads, "Regardless of how urgent your work is, safety comes first." This is a reference to the devastating Nedelin fuelling catastrophe here in Baikonur in 1960, which took 126 lives. read more