ILA 2010, and more …
The now 100-year-old Berlin Air Show (ILA) was a great success overall for DLR. Agreements were signed, contacts were maintained and re-established, and DLR showed off its achievements in the exhibition hall and on the showground. The long hoped-for summer weather guaranteed the success of ILA but was, at the same time, something of a physical burden for the staff. For me, as DLR Chairman, it was simply great to present DLR's achievements to a broad audience.
Coming from Rostock (see my previous blog entry) , this week was dominated by the activities at ILA. The highlight on the first day,the visit by German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, was very short due to scheduling problems, but nevertheless offered an opportunity present our robotic skills and expertise with the example of DLR’s space robot, Justin. In many individual conversations with partners from across the world, we were able to sign and arrange agreements for further cooperative ventures.
In relation to Russia, the signing of a contract with the space agency Roskosmos for German experiments occupied the foreground. With the European Space Agency (ESA), we signed a Memorandum of Understanding that defines the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Centre in Oberpfaffenhoffen to be an ESA 'European Reference Lab', thereby ensuring it an important position. With our American friends at NASA, we also signed a contract. This contract provides for the extension of the scientifically very successful mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) mission until the end of 2015. GRACE is looked after on the scientific side in Germany by the GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam and supervised in the US by the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, we agreed with Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator of NASA, that a framework for future cooperation between NASA and DLR will be developed by end of 2010, which will include all the activities of both organisations. We also agreed that the goal should be the joint execution of missions. As a first mission, into which German expertise in the field of robotics could be particularly effectively introduced, Lori Garver named an unmanned moon mission to be launched in 2015.
During ILA, there are always many different activities planned for me as Chairman of the DLR Board, from the individual conversations detailed above to a meeting with the head of ESA's delegation – I experience the day in half-hour measures. There are evening receptions, where I need to be seen as much as possible, so it can be that I 'may' go to several events in one evening.
This year's ILA was also marked by the special circumstances that ran at full speed parallel to the 'standard programme' – the discussions about an amicable solution for Meteosat Third Generation (MTG). Suggestions for solutions were developed, discussed and rejected – and under the double pressure of time. On the one hand, defining the procedures for MTG had to be accorded an appropriate level of urgency. On the other hand, the various ILA activities, which had actually been planned to occur without pauses, had to be 'pushed through'.
While the efforts regarding MTG have, as yet, not achieved the desired result, ILA as a whole was absolutely positive for DLR. I would therefore like to thank all those who contributed to this success very much. The effort made before and during this air and space show, which was absolutely vital to our reputation, was simply the best.
Translated from the German original.
Top image: Jan Wörner and Lori Garver at ILA 2010. With the kind permission of Alexander Stirn (CC-by-nc-nd 2.0). More images: www.flickr.com/photos/astirn/
Middle/upper image: From left to right: Jan Wörner, DLR robot 'Space Justin', Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Middle/lower image: Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, and Jan Wörner.
Bottom image: Anatoly N. Perminov, Head of the Russian Space Agency, and Jan Wörner.
All DLR information about ILA at www.dlr.de/en/ila.