Jan Wörner Blog | 03. November 2014 | 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

Jan Wörner Blog | 12. November 2013

Science, science management, science policy … part 3

Science needs flexibility if it is to produce innovation from creativity. At the same time, it is understandable that taxpayers demand sensible use of the funds they provide. Dispelling this apparent contradiction – individual 'liberty' versus societal expectations – is the primary task of those involved in the planning of research activities; that is, science managers. Political bodies have the task of formulating policy anywhere – but only there – where it can be defined on the basis of democratic legitimacy that is derived from elections. read more

Jan Wörner Blog | 16. May 2011

Reflections on parting

On 16 May, the Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched en route to the International Space Station (ISS). On board was the large science experiment, AMS, designed to look for evidence of dark matter and antimatter. The flight is Endeavour's last, and it heralds the end of the shuttle era. In parallel with this somewhat technical farewell, we have also had to say goodbye to Thomas Reiter, who has been Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations for the European Space Agency (ESA)since mid-April. Two departures in the area of space exploration were sufficient reason for me to start reflecting on fundamental issues in spaceflight. read more

Jan Wörner Blog | 18. February 2011 | 2 Comments

DLR, Europe and international cooperation

The topic of 'national activities versus international cooperation' has been discussed quite a bit recently. The 'either … or' question has become a fundamental issue for everyday politics. Our activities in the first two months of 2011 prove that we are not treating this as an 'either … or' issue; instead, we see the combination of national and European efforts and the activities arising from these efforts as a promising arrangement. read more

Jan Wörner Blog | 26. March 2010 | 1 Comment

The fourth man on the Moon — an experience that lasts forever

Alan Bean, Gasometer Oberhausen

On 24 March 2010, Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon as part of the Apollo programme, visited the Gasometer in Oberhausen. Apart from the personal encounter (it was my third meeting with an Apollo astronaut, and they have always impressed me), I had the chance to be in the presence of an enthusiastic and motivating witness to an incredible pioneering feat, someone whose lecture revealed far more than a just report of an extraordinary mission. read more