Articles for ""

to homepage
Space | 05. November 2014 | posted by Christian Grimm | 1 Comment

One last look - farewell, MASCOT

Credit: DLR
Applying the final layers of protection prior to the launch

The last adjustments have been made and the final functionality tests have been completed. Following the successful installation of MASCOT into the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft in Sagamihara, the final preparations have taken place at the Tanegashima launch complex in Japan. The attachment of the solar sails – carefully folded up above MASCOT for the launch – offers the last opportunity to see MASCOT.

Now, the development team must take a step back – it is a strange feeling. For two and a half years, we have been nurturing MASCOT, seeing it grow, teaching it plenty. But now it is time to let go, in the truest sense of the word, and send it on its difficult mission. Unfortunately, we cannot accompany it.

So how do you deal with the departure of an object that is not alive in a biological sense, yet contains the personalities of so many people who have guided it so dearly throughout its development? read more

Space | 03. November 2014 | posted by Jan Wörner | 3 Comments

A very eventful time…

Philae landet auf dem Kometen
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The Rosetta mission's Philae lander touches down on the comet (video still from 'Mission into the Unknown II - the Philae Comet Lander').

"If everything is under control, you are just not (driving) fast enough." This quote is attributed to several people, including, for example, racing driver Stirling Moss. This is scant reassurance these days, at a personally challenging time marked by so much activity. For one thing, it is time to continue working on the strategic orientation of DLR that was published in summer and, above all, to discuss and draft the parts that are still missing, specifically the alignment of the various technical and structural areas. Furthermore, the consequences at the organisational level – the governance – need consideration. In parallel with this important internal work, external activities are requiring our full attention and the associated commitment. read more

Space | 26. August 2014 | posted by Reinhold Ewald

German astronauts lose a friend and colleague

Die Crew der D1-Mission
Credit: NASA
The crew of the D1 Mission (back row, from left to right): Pilot Steven R. Nagel, Mission Specialist Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Payload Specialists Ernst Messerschmid and Wubbo J. Ockels; (front row, from left to right): Payload Specialist Reinhard Furrer, Mission Specialists Bonnie J. Dunbar and James F. Buchli and Commander Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr.

"Steve Nagel was also of particular importance for Germany, since he held a leadership position on both the D1 Mission and the D2 Mission (D1: Pilot, D2: Commander) and made a major contribution to the success of the two Spacelab missions. We are indebted to him and will honour his memory," explains Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Executive Board. read more

Space | 25. August 2014 | posted by Jan Wörner | 1 Comment

'Rockets are tricky'

Die 30 Galileo-Satelliten
Credit: ESA-P. Carril
Artist's impression of the 30 Galileo satellites.

This is a quote from Elon Musk, a pioneer in the field of commercial space travel and founder of SpaceX. It expresses his feelings when, on 23 August 2014, SpaceX experienced an unsuccessful test launch. Equipment used for spaceflight is always very sophisticated technically, due to the complexity of the systems involved, the fact that they have to be deployed without much of a safety margin and the relative scarcity of options for real-time adjustments. Although rocket technology has been continuously and very successfully developed over the years, the aforementioned aspects imply that 'absolute certainty' is a pipe dream. This fact reared its head once again during the launch of two Galileo satellites on 22 August 2014. read more

Space | 24. July 2014 | posted by Elke Heinemann | 4 Comments

Closing in on Rosetta's target comet

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

A model of the comet's shape, based on the images acquired on 14 July 2014.

Surface structures are becoming visible in new images of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. These images, with a resolution of 100 metres per pixel, were acquired with the OSIRIS scientific imaging system on board Rosetta. The comet's neck region – the section connecting the two heads – seems to be much brighter than the head and body of the nucleus. read more

Space | 24. July 2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig | 3 Comments

An evasive manoeuvre to avoid a crash!

In my car, even at 100 kilometres per hour, I perceive that I’m travelling along quite quickly. In the nice saloon in our car pool, you can reach up to 160 kilometres per hour without it feeling that much faster. Of course, this is because you cannot perceive speed alone. You can notice accelerations, but when you are travelling at a constant speed, you can only tell how fast you are moving relative to other objects – or perhaps when the car begins to rattle. It is the same on the ISS. The speed of the Space Station is much greater – it needs to travel at 28,000 kilometres per hour so it doesn’t ‘fall down’. read more

Space | 17. June 2014

Half-time on Mars

Half-time on Mars

Time flies and I’m not the only one in the habitat making this observation. We did not notice these first seven weeks passing by. Boredom is not something we have experienced until now. We are all very busy with our personal projects and, when not, there is always something to take care of in the habitat.

Source: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Freeze-dried vegetables, meat and cheese.

In the first month, we experienced difficulties with communications, a shortage of water, the failure of our treadmill and our bike, failures of spacesuits, and a lack of power from the solar array, leading us to start the ICE generator and spend an evening with flashlights. Yes, living on Mars - even if this 'Mars' is located in Hawaii - is far from being a holiday. We are isolated, depending only on our remote mission support team and ourselves when something goes wrong. There is no ‘customer service’ on Mars. If something breaks and we can’t repair it, we have two options: invent something with the available materials and equipment or wait for a resupply to get the missing part. read more

Other | 15. May 2014

New design for DLR blogs

Quelle: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Does something seem different here? That is right! The DLR blogs site has a new look.

We have just redesigned the DLR blogs site - and it was high time. The previous DLR blogs design was largely based on the old DLR Web portal, which was replaced with a new look back in 2011.

The new blog design features larger images, brighter colours and larger fonts, with the result being a more contemporary and clear layout. It was particularly important to us for the blog site to be useable on all types of devices, so that the content can be searched for and viewed on mobile devices without problems. We also wanted the new design to take account of the considerable developments in social networking that have occurred since the previous version was created in January 2010.

New design - new possibilities

Quelle: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The previous DLR blogs design was largely based on the old DLR Web portal, which was replaced with a new look back in 2011
Quelle: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

What you see today arose from these requirements. From now on, the DLR blogs are also available in a flexible design suitable for both smartphones and tablets. The website automatically adapts to match the screen width of the device, ensuring that the reader always profits from maximum legibility without having to sacrifice features or content.

The new blogs homepage provides a quick summary of the latest posts. Here, the focus is primarily on the posts. Therefore, site services such as 'About us' and 'Imprint' are located at the bottom of the page. When it comes to subject blogs (for example, Jan Wörner or Aeronautics), the entries continue to be arranged sequentially as was the case before. In addition, they offer a preview, which can vary in length and be supplemented with images, YouTube videos and Flickr galleries.

The tag lists for the various blogs were located at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar; now, when each blog is opened, it is immediately visible and offers an integral summary of the blog topics. Links to Twitter, Flickr and the DLR web portal have now been added below the tag list.

The connections with social media have also been promoted in other parts of the new DLR blogs site. Just a couple of clicks is all it takes for individual posts to be shared via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. The DLR channels and the individual platforms can, of course, also be accessed via the icons at the top of the page. The comment function for each post has been supplemented with an additional field. It is now possible to draw attention to your own blog or website by posting a comment.

The author pages are a new addition to the DLR Blogs site. This is where the individual bloggers introduce themselves and their work. These pages offer an overview of the blog posts by the specific blogger. Also, inactive blogs no longer disappear from view. Completed projects can still be accessed via the blogs archive in the sidebar.

What works stays, and new features have been added

The concept and design of the blogs did not simply come about overnight. To begin with, ideas, wishes and requirements had to be gathered; these then formed the framework for the new design. The old blog articles had to be able to retain their appearance and new ones should offer more room for development.

So, a solution had to be found - one that retained the old articles, while being able to handle the more sophisticated requirements. This was a task that we could not have completed without the support of our partners. The anyMOTION agency first translated our requirements for the new DLR blog into a design. Then the software company Werum took care of templating and ensured that the design could be implemented in our content management system.

Of course, at this point, it would not be fair to fail to mention our colleagues in the DLR Communication online team, who enthusiastically addressed the requirements for the new DLR blogs, discussed diverse suggestions in multiple meetings without ever reaching universal agreement, and yet nevertheless managed to reach an acceptable compromise.

Let us know your opinion

Because everyone’s tastes differ, we are sure that yours do as well. Please use the comment function to let us know what you think of the new site. We will be happy to receive praise, constructive criticism and suggestions.

Enjoy the new blogs site, whether you are using a computer, a smartphone or a tablet!

Space | 28. April 2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig | 3 Comments

Astronauts and the Internet – the final frontier

A colleague from Cologne sent me an email about this blog – I received it on my work mobile phone, although actually I was at Chiemsee, on holiday over Easter – modern technology made this possible. And it all seemed so entirely natural to me, although there’s no Internet connection anywhere nearby, no computer with a mail program, and no cumbersome process of logging on to this or that terminal… read more

Space | 14. April 2014

First week ‘on Mars’

We have already spent one week ‘on Mars’ and yet it feels like we arrived yesterday. Our ‘landing’, during the night of Friday 28 March, was quite tumultuous, with an arrival at sunset in pouring rain, strong winds and a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius… like an actual Martian sandstorm. We unloaded all our luggage and proceeded to the last interviews with journalists from the University of Hawaii – in the rain. “Good luck and see you in four months!” said Kim Binsted as she exited the habitat. And our mission had begun! read more