Space Blog | 05. November 2014 | posted by Christian Grimm | 1 Comment

One last look - farewell, MASCOT

Credit: DLR
Applying the final layers of protection prior to the launch

The last adjustments have been made and the final functionality tests have been completed. Following the successful installation of MASCOT into the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft in Sagamihara, the final preparations have taken place at the Tanegashima launch complex in Japan. The attachment of the solar sails – carefully folded up above MASCOT for the launch – offers the last opportunity to see MASCOT.

Now, the development team must take a step back – it is a strange feeling. For two and a half years, we have been nurturing MASCOT, seeing it grow, teaching it plenty. But now it is time to let go, in the truest sense of the word, and send it on its difficult mission. Unfortunately, we cannot accompany it.

So how do you deal with the departure of an object that is not alive in a biological sense, yet contains the personalities of so many people who have guided it so dearly throughout its development? read more

Space Blog | 26. August 2014 | posted by Reinhold Ewald

German astronauts lose a friend and colleague

Die Crew der D1-Mission
Credit: NASA
The crew of the D1 Mission (back row, from left to right): Pilot Steven R. Nagel, Mission Specialist Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Payload Specialists Ernst Messerschmid and Wubbo J. Ockels; (front row, from left to right): Payload Specialist Reinhard Furrer, Mission Specialists Bonnie J. Dunbar and James F. Buchli and Commander Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr.

"Steve Nagel was also of particular importance for Germany, since he held a leadership position on both the D1 Mission and the D2 Mission (D1: Pilot, D2: Commander) and made a major contribution to the success of the two Spacelab missions. We are indebted to him and will honour his memory," explains Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Executive Board. read more

Space Blog | 17. June 2014

Half-time on Mars

Half-time on Mars

Time flies and I’m not the only one in the habitat making this observation. We did not notice these first seven weeks passing by. Boredom is not something we have experienced until now. We are all very busy with our personal projects and, when not, there is always something to take care of in the habitat.

Source: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Freeze-dried vegetables, meat and cheese.

In the first month, we experienced difficulties with communications, a shortage of water, the failure of our treadmill and our bike, failures of spacesuits, and a lack of power from the solar array, leading us to start the ICE generator and spend an evening with flashlights. Yes, living on Mars - even if this 'Mars' is located in Hawaii - is far from being a holiday. We are isolated, depending only on our remote mission support team and ourselves when something goes wrong. There is no ‘customer service’ on Mars. If something breaks and we can’t repair it, we have two options: invent something with the available materials and equipment or wait for a resupply to get the missing part. read more

Space Blog | 14. April 2014

First week ‘on Mars’

We have already spent one week ‘on Mars’ and yet it feels like we arrived yesterday. Our ‘landing’, during the night of Friday 28 March, was quite tumultuous, with an arrival at sunset in pouring rain, strong winds and a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius… like an actual Martian sandstorm. We unloaded all our luggage and proceeded to the last interviews with journalists from the University of Hawaii – in the rain. “Good luck and see you in four months!” said Kim Binsted as she exited the habitat. And our mission had begun! read more

Space Blog | 09. April 2014

Mission HI-SEAS: 'Life on Mars'

Lucie Poulet said goodbye to the outside world for four months; the scientist from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is a crewmember in the Mars simulation run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Among other things, the 28-year-old scientist will use the second mission within the Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation (HI-SEAS) programme to study the influence that light of different wavelengths has on plants. But she will also be the subject of intense observation – the University of Hawaii is using the habitat to examine how the six participants behave and work together during the months of isolation. In this blog she tells about her ‘life on Mars’. read more

Space Blog | 19. December 2013

Ariane 5 – milestones reached at the end of the year

Nothing is more gratifying than starting the holidays with good news! A good example of this is ESA's Ariane 5 programme, which has taken some important steps in the closing days of the current year – the ordering of a further 18 Ariane 5 ECA launchers for the existing Ariane operations, the successful completion of 'verification key points' for the Ariane 5 ME 'Midlife Evolution' development programme and the start of construction work on a new upper stage tank facility in Bremen. read more

Space Blog | 26. August 2013 | posted by Christian Grimm | 1 Comment

First test on Japanese soil

Mascot

The MASCOT asteroid lander will be delivered to the Japanese space agency JAXA at the start of next year. It will be integrated into the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft and prepared for launch, scheduled for late 2014. There is still a long way to go, but there is little time! read more

Space Blog | 21. August 2013 | posted by Christian Grimm

MASCOT: A 'shoebox' with complex inner workings

Mascot

The 'small’ asteroid lander MASCOT will set off for asteroid 1999 JU3 on board the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission at the end of 2014. Although from the outside it seems to be the size of a shoebox, the lander’s stature is deceiving! Its sophisticated and highly developed payload, and its powerful communication and computing system make MASCOT a high-tech, albeit very compact, autonomous spacecraft, perfectly equipped to cope with the arduous and long mission it faces. read more

Space Blog | 12. February 2013

Landsat 8 – into space on Carnival Monday

For over 40 years, the US Landsat series of satellites has been delivering multispectral and thermal imaging data of the entire planet at a consistent high quality. As a consequence, the Landsat data archive has become an important tool for Earth remote sensing. It has helped to visualise long-term changes on the ground, to explore the influence of mankind on the biosphere and to manage natural resources. read more

Space Blog | 02. August 2012

Ariane 5 with record GTO payload mass launches tonight

Exactly four weeks after the last launch, the next Ariane is, once again, on the launch platform! The final launch preparations are underway for what will be the fourth Ariane 5 launch (VA208) this year from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. The 'dress rehearsal' took place last Friday, and the Launch Readiness Review was completed successfully on Tuesday. Yesterday, the rocket was rolled out to the launch platform, so nothing stands in the way of tonight’s launch. The Ariane 5 launch window opens at 22:54 CEST and closes 57 minutes later at 23:51 CEST. Those interested can follow the launch on the 'live-stream' provided by Arianespace. read more