The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) can look back on a highly eventful and exciting year. Once again in 2012, a great deal was achieved in our research fields of aeronautics, spaceflight, energy, transport and security.
Reliably monitoring extensive areas of the sea is a major challenge for the coastguard and emergency relief services. Unmanned aircraft are expected to make a critical contribution to this in the future.
The vision is enticing – board in Europe, sit back, and disembark 90 minutes later on the other side of the world, in Australia. But before the SpaceLiner, which is being developed by the Institute of Space Systems at DLR, can fly a route like this for the first time, new technologies still have to be tested and basic requirements defined.
Many disciplines are involved in the design and development of an aircraft. To obtain the best combination of wings, fuselage and engines, researchers must work closely together and share their expertise effectively.
Watch a video of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Annual General Meeting 2012 including the DLR_Science_Slam here.
On 5 December 2012, at the Annual General Meeting of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), a Science Slam, or science competition, will be held. At around 20:00, the best DLR 'Slammers' will be on stage in Cologne.
To the naked eye there is nothing to see, and yet the small transparent container holds something never observed before. For the first time, scientists are studying asteroid dust collected by a spacecraft and returned to Earth. Ute Böttger, from the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), belongs to one of 11 teams across the world that are carrying out scientific work on the asteroid particles from the Japanese Hayabusa mission.
There are very few ways of conducting experiments without the influence of Earth's gravity. One of these platforms became available on 25 November 2012, when a rocket was launched from the Swedish Esrange Space Center in Kiruna.
Glasses are rattling on the shelves and the ground is rumbling – since January 2011 the earth under the Santorini volcano has been stirring. Most of the time, it is barely noticeable, but every now and then the inhabitants notice small tremors jolting the volcanic archipelago.
On 20 and 21 November 2012, delegates from the 20 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canada met at the 'Mostra d'Oltremare' conference centre in Naples, Italy.
Nereidum Montes, a chain of mountains over 1000 kilometres long, is part of the northern rim of Argyre Basin, the second largest impact basin on Mars. On 6 June 2012, the HRSC camera on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, which is operated by DLR, photographed a part of this mountain range
Mars is clearly much smaller than Earth, but it can still come up with impressive superlatives. Several landscape features have unquestionably enormous dimensions – at over 21 kilometres in height, Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the Solar System; the Hellas impact basin is more than 2000 kilometres across and eight kilometres deep – but particularly spectacular is the Valles Marineris canyon system
Clouds, darkness, rain – the radar 'vision' of TerraSAR-X is unaffected by these conditions. Dark and light areas contrast clearly in this image, acquired by the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite.
The first solar tower power plant in North Africa will be built in Algeria. The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) have agreed to collaborate on this project.
The first two satellites for the European Galileo navigation system have been orbiting Earth since 21 October 2011. Now, two more are about to follow; on 12 October 2012 at 20:15 CEST, a Soyuz rocket will launch satellites three and four into their position in space.
On 8 June 2012, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, acquired images of a region inside the Argyre Impact Basin, which is 1800 kilometres across and five kilometres deep.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and 13 leading representatives of the European aviation industry and research sector have jointly agreed to intensify their cooperation in the field of eco-efficient aviation.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have been instrumental in the preparation of a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) regarding the development of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Based on estimates, by about the mid 21st century, the ozone layer will have the same thickness as it had in the early eighties.
When the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission is launched towards asteroid 1999 JU 3 in 2014 to collect surface samples, MASCOT – the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout – an asteroid lander developed by DLR will be on board.
In Morocco, a group of companies led by Saudi Arabian ACWA Power International is going to build a power plant that will provide electricity for less than 15 euro cents per kilowatt hour.