Comm Blog

The final stage in the construction of the German-Indonesian tsunami early warning system

31.03.2011 | posted by Stefan Dech

On 26 December 2004, a devastating tsunami destroyed large parts of the coastline of the Indian Ocean. It is estimated that 250,000 people lost their lives because there was no early warning system. Shortly afterwards, the German government decided to spend 50 million Euros to develop a tsunami early warning system in Indonesia, the most severely affected country. Scientists from major German research centres presented innovative concepts for such a system to the political decision makers. Convinced of the feasibility of the proposal, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) decided to support the project, now named the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS), as a joint development led by the German Research Centre for Geosciences (Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum; GFZ) in Potsdam. read more

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Biggest full Moon in over 18 years

25.03.2011 | posted by Rolf Hempel

On 19 March 2011 everything came together perfectly – in a completely clear sky there was a full Moon and, what is more, at almost the exact time, the Moon passed through the point of closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit. This meant we were able to admire an unusually large and bright full Moon. Not wanting to let this opportunity pass, I photographed the Moon through my telescope. read more

ESA Council meeting and a reception at the German Ambassador's in Paris

18.03.2011 | posted by Jan Wörner

An important meeting of the ESA Council took place on 16 and 17 March in Paris. Among other matters, it dealt with the International Space Station (ISS), ensuring European access to space, and the appointment of ESA Directors. On the first evening of the Council meeting, I was invited by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Paris, Reinhard Schäfers, to visit his official residence. It was a good opportunity to speak, not only about German space strategy in general, but also about the coordination of space activities at a time when we are all concerned regarding the news about the events in Japan. read more

SOIFA

Interview with Tom Speer on SOFIA

17.03.2011 | posted by Henning Krause

NASA's Tom Speer used to be a pilot for commercial aircraft. He now works in the SOFIA project, training new SOFIA crew members on aircraft operations. I asked Tom for an interview and he was kind enough as to answer my questions. read more

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STS-134: Roll over and 'hoist and mate'

04.03.2011 | posted by Marco Trovatello

With this new set of images that Thilo recently sent, we start to tie in with Space Shuttle Mission STS-134 which will carry the European-built Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station. The mission won't launch before 19 April 2011, but we already have some great images. read more

Captured from ground: ATV Johannes Kepler and Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the ISS

03.03.2011 | posted by Henning Krause

On Tuesday, 1 March 2011, Dirk Ewers, one of our readers, caught the International Space Station (ISS) on camera, as it was passing overhead in the evening sky near Kassel in central Germany. Ewers has sent in the fantastic images that show ATV-2 Johannes Kepler and Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the ISS. Using almost 2000 of these individual images, he has put together a video sequence of the docked spacecraft passing almost directly overhead. read more

Where and how does ice move in the ocean?

01.03.2011

TanDEM-X has now begun routine operations, and is working with TerraSAR-X in bistatic mode and recording data for its global digital terrain model. In this post, I look back at an earlier phase of the mission, when this satellite pair orbited the Earth separated by a mere three seconds or 20 kilometres, and each sensor acquired images independently. read more