Space Blog

Flickr Album for STS-133 set up

29.10.2010 | posted by Marco Trovatello

In my last blogpost I said 'Thilo Kranz and me will be will be 'blogging and flickering'. Hence I've just set up a dedicated Flickr set for our photos of the STS-133 launch. For the moment I've uploaded just a couple of placeholder images, borrowed from our colleagues at NASA. read more

Energy question of the week: How much longer will world reserves of the nuclear fuel uranium last?

25.10.2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

As controversial as nuclear power is, with its still unresolved risks, waste storage problems and high capital costs, it currently meets about 14 percent of global electrical power demand through 430 power stations. However, as is the case with crude oil, coal or natural gas, reserves of uranium 235 – the fuel used in atomic power stations – are finite, meaning that they will run out one day. This poses a simple question: how much longer will our natural uranium reserves last? read more

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Baptism of fire for the satellite formation

19.10.2010

Last Thursday, the two German radar satellites of the TanDEM-X formation finally reached their operational orbit configuration, with only a few hundred metres separating them. In this configuration, they act as a unique radar interferometer in space. The next day, on Friday evening, the instruments were switched on, after many careful checks, to acquire the world's first Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data using a free-flying bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite formation. That same night, the jointly acquired data were received and processed by our operational processing chain. read more

DLR as a service provider - supplying information during crises

19.10.2010 | posted by Jan Wörner

DLR has long been using its special expertise and facilities to provide data and data products during crisis situations, which help humanitarian assistance, in particular, to be guaranteed. In a previous blog post, I described a discussion I had with the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière. Since then, a few weeks have gone by. We have, in that time, intensively continued the activities we discussed and have taken the first steps towards a creating a permanent institutional framework for them. read more

Visiting Asia with the German Economics Minister – a very special experience

18.10.2010 | posted by Jan Wörner

The German Economics Minister, Rainer Brüderle, travelled across Asia for a week, presenting German economic policy in China and Japan, and promoting cooperation between these countries and Germany. The delegation included journalists and a number of experts on the economy who either had special relationships in the region or were interested in acquiring them. As the representative of DLR, I had a special role within the group, and this became increasingly apparent over the course of the trip. read more

Energy question of the week: What techniques are available for storing energy?

18.10.2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Batteries are certainly the most familiar energy storage devices – reliable, available everywhere and convenient. Rechargeable batteries are ideal for cell phones and electric cars, but for large amounts of energy, to overcome shortages in the power grid, they are not the best solution. What other options are available to us today? read more

The satellites have 'eye contact'

15.10.2010 | posted by Ralph Kahle

This is the moment we have been anticipating for a long time; TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X finally have 'eye contact'. The final manoeuvre to adjust the close formation was performed on 13 October. Now, the two satellites are orbiting at a distance of less than 400 metres from one another. read more

Initial reports of success from the control room

13.10.2010

We are off again; the team at the German Space Operation Center (GSOC) and their colleagues from EADS Astrium gathered two days ago in the control room to manage the transition to close formation flight. We began the first manoeuvre on Monday, 11 October 2010; this is referred to as the ‘drift start’ manoeuvre, which gives the TanDEM X satellite (TDX) the necessary momentum to close to a distance of one kilometre behind TerraSAR X (TSX) within a few days. read more

Umlaufbahnen der Radarsatelliten

"Everybody waltz!"

12.10.2010

"Everybody waltz!" – this is the invitation to dance at the annual Vienna Opera Ball. This phrase is now applicable to the TerraSAR X and TanDEM X satellites, because as of yesterday the 'dance floor' is open and close formation flight has begun. Upon successful completion of the final tests, permission to commence the now imminent mission phase was granted by a panel of experts at the conclusion of the Formation Flight Reviews. read more

Energy question of the week: Why is energy storage so important?

11.10.2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Whether driving a car, switching on a light, or turning up the heating – we take it for granted that there'll be sufficient energy for us to use at that very moment. But this only works if two basics are in place. Firstly, energy needs to be transported quickly and reliably to the consumer in the required form. Second, energy storage guarantees straightforward access and acts as an 'energy buffer' to fill the gaps in distribution. So, what kinds of storage do we get our everyday energy from? read more

Energy question of the week: Is complete self-sufficiency possible with decentralised power stations?

04.10.2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Nearly 80 percent of the electricity used in Europe comes from central power plants to the consumer via the electrical grid. As the popularity of renewable power sources has risen, consumer awareness of the importance of decentralised power production has also grown. The trend for decentralised and intelligent electricity production enjoys further support from projects for networked thermal power stations. Does this technology have the potential to provide an all-inclusive power supply? read more