An evasive manoeuvre to avoid a crash!

24.07.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

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

Astronauts and the Internet – the final frontier

28.04.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

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

Spaceflight means teamwork

14.04.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

When we report from the Columbus Control Centre (Col-CC) on the latest developments on the International Space Station (ISS), we do so not only as one of the five main control centres for the ISS, but also as one of the many control centres for the European part of the work conducted on the Space Station. read more

A close encounter

24.03.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

"I have something nice to post in our blog," said my colleague Cesare Capararo from the console. What he had to say made me put the certification plan I was working on down and walk over to the office of satellite experts Jaap Herrman, Michael Kirschner and Kay Müller – a very special rendezvous will occur in space on Friday 28 March 2014. read more

Another term comes to an end…

17.03.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

There was, once again, a nice change of pace this week, not on the console or in the office, but in our training room! One of my extra jobs – in fact it has actually become more of my focus – is training. In particular, training the new colleagues that will support us after their roughly nine-month 'apprenticeship' at the console. read more

Software update for Columbus

14.02.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

"Do not switch off your computer, an important update is being installed" – this message frequently drives me to distraction. My laptop has the annoying habit of beginning this kind of modification precisely when I need it to get hold of some information quickly just before rushing to my next appointment. What also bothers me is that I never really know what is going on inside the computer that supposedly belongs to me – so different to the periodic updates for Columbus on-board software. read more

Congratulations Columbus!

07.02.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

Wow! Today, you could say some of us have spent six years of our lives 'in the spotlight' – because Columbus has now been in orbit for exactly six years! Not many of the original 'pioneers' remain – you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Those were some exciting days, back in February 2008. The 1E-mission – the first 'European' flight of the Space Shuttle that would take the Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS), had been repeatedly postponed for various reasons over the years; in particular, the Columbia tragedy in February 2003 pushed the ISS schedule back a long way. Finally, the launch of 'our spaceship' was set for 6 December 2007 – there were some tense minutes when, just a couple of hours before lift-off, the launch was cancelled for technical reasons. So near and yet so far from the start of the mission! In the days that followed, and after long discussions, the launch date was set for 7 February 2008. The team would be able to enjoy a quiet and relaxing Christmas holiday – the last one for some years to come… read more

Col-CC blog – the beginning

03.02.2014 | posted by Tom Uhlig

Human spaceflight in itself is exciting – increasingly so for those of us in Europe and DLR in 2014, with the launch of two ESA astronauts, German Alexander Gerst and Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will conduct research. read more