Long time no see ...
Quite some time has passed since my previous blog post – it was on the launch of the third European space transporter, ATV-3. This isn't due to any 'blog fatigue' on my part, but rather to the many activities that have simply kept me from writing my next entry. But I guess you could say that this is a fairly weak excuse, since it does not really take all that long to write a blog post. Blog entries give me the opportunity to report on my work as Chairman of the DLR Executive Board outside the 'normal' channels of communication and thus to allow all interested parties, both within and outside DLR, to gain a little more insight.
A great deal has happened in the past few weeks: discussions about ACARE in the aviation sector, the Berlin ISS Symposium in the space sector, positioning of DLR with respect to the interdisciplinary topic of electric mobility in the Helmholtz Association and a visit by politicians to the DLR locations in Cologne and Jülich on the subject of energy research.
An additional high point was the inclusion of DLR in the Space Technology Hall of Fame during the 28th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, United States. DLR development work on the FireWatch remote forest fire detection system was one of two innovations to receive an award at this space conference, without a doubt the most important in America – with 8000 delegates. At the same time, I had the pleasure and honour of contributing to a session on international cooperation.
Another highlight was NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's visit; he came to Berlin during the ISS Symposium and then went on to visit DLR's site in Oberpfaffenhofen. Alongside general exchanges on a wide and diverse array of aerospace topics, our colleagues at Oberpfaffenhofen were able to deliver a convincing demonstration of DLR's capabilities, thereby laying the foundation for further strengthening our cooperation with NASA.
The meeting between Charles Bolden and Peter Hintze, Parliamentary Secretary of State in the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the address by the NASA chief to well over 1000 visitors in the main auditorium at Technische Universität Berlin, the shared breakfast with a large number of journalists, the programme of guided visits and the many opportunities for a personal and informal exchange of views were all, for me, important contributing factors towards a shared future based on cooperation as partners.
Of course, even in this world of positive experiences, some difficulties also arise. At present these include the important matter of optimum national preparation of the ESA Ministerial Council meeting, safeguarding the future of the European Transonic Wind Tunnel (ETW) for industry and research, ensuring adequate financing for DLR energy research, targeted strengthening of internationality and much more – all to be reported upon shortly.
Top image: Jan Wörner during his presentation at the ISS Symposium 2012 in Berlin. Credit: ESA, J. Mai.