We all want energy to be available when we need it. During German Aerospace Day, energy researchers at DLR will demonstrate how innovative storage devices can be used to efficiently harness energy.
On 11 May 2011, the camera on board the Dawn spacecraft acquired its first picture of the asteroid Vesta. Despite its diameter of 530 kilometres, this heavenly body appeared as no more than a white dot in the image – at that time, the spacecraft was still 975,000 kilometres away from its destination.
Aerospace research covers a broad spectrum of activities – missions to celestial bodies are just as much a part of it as checking the health of astronauts or experimenting in microgravity on parabolic flights.
The images presented in this mosaic and acquired with the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), on board ESA's Mars Express Spacecraft, show Becquerel Crater and, inside it, a mountain almost 1000 metres high, consisting of sulphurous layers deposited on top of one another. It demonstrates the eventful climatic history of the Red Planet.
A wind tunnel with icy temperatures; test rigs for combustion chambers to house next-generation turbines spewing fire, DLR's largest research aircraft, the Airbus A320 ATRA: These are just a few of the major high-tech apparatus that the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will present at its main headquarters in Cologne on 22 September 2013. German Aerospace Day has a lot to offer in terms of aerospace research: Four DLR institutes will showcase their work on economical, quiet and safe aircraft.
Officially, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X should have been out of service for over a year and a half – that's how long it has exceeded its intended lifespan. But engineers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have switched the satellite, which was launched to space on 15 June 2007, to yet another mode: TerraSAR-X can now record image strips over 200 kilometres wide. "The satellite does so by sweeping this large area in multiple stages, very quickly pivoting the radar beam numerous times across the direction of flight," explains DLR mission manager Stefan Buckreuss. For example, the image of the German Bight shows the Frisian Islands from Borkum to Wangerooge and cities such as Wilhelmshaven and Bremen. This new ‘wide-angle’ mode is of particular interest to oceanographers, who will be able to use it to investigate the tidal range, changes to mudflats, shipping movements, wave patterns, ice floes and wind levels.
The first tickets have already been sold to space tourists – the passengers, however, will not be as fit or healthy as astronauts, but rather people with greatly varying health conditions. This is why scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and physicians from Witten/Herdecke University have come together to analyse the prevalent risks in a pilot study. Using a long-arm centrifuge, they subject participants to 15 minutes of the forces that space tourists would encounter during takeoff and landing. The aim of the study is to determine the influence of increased gravity on blood coagulation.
Gazing down from space, satellites have the best view of ice floes drifting, waves swelling restlessly, currents moving dangerously, the spread of oil slicks and the changing positions of ships. For this reason, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) analyse radar images or use satellites to receive ship signals. Now, DLR is pooling the research work conducted at its Remote Sensing Technology Institute and the Institute for Space Systems within the Research Centre for Maritime Safety in Bremen. DLR has set up additional research centres devoted to security on the oceans in Braunschweig, Neustrelitz and Oberpfaffenhofen
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is building up its resources for investigating environment-friendly gas turbines and to this end has teamed up with industrial partners Alstom and Rolls-Royce. On 14 August 2013, the three partners attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a modern, globally unique combustor test facility. This signals the start of some 47 million euros of investment in the expansion of the infrastructure at DLR’s Cologne site. The aim of this collaboration is to further increase the efficiency of combustors and at the same time to significantly reduce exhaust gas and noise emissions from gas turbines. Starting in mid-2014, the new high-pressure combustor test facility (Hochdruckbrennkammerprüfstand 5; HBK5) will be used to perform combustor tests that contribute towards the development of future generations of aircraft engines and power generation turbines.
A windscreen full of insect remains is a familiar experience on the roads in summer. It is no different on the runway at the airport. On warm days, aircraft sometimes collide with entire swarms of insects as they take off and land. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are working in partnership with Airbus to investigate how the resulting large-scale contamination disturbs the airflow over new wing designs in particular, thus putting targeted fuel savings at risk. Extremely low-level flights by the DLR ATRA research aircraft over Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport have shown experts in flow patterns how small flying animals affect aircraft. The aim is to create hi-tech wings that incorporate insect protection for the future.
Many aircraft passengers are familiar with the phenomenon; the sky is clear and blue, the aircraft is cruising calmly, but suddenly everything is disrupted by temporary turbulence. Passengers frequently experience this as a kind of 'hole in the air'.
Recently, we at the German Aerospace Center DLR and our partner European Space Agency ESA rebranded our SpaceTweetup concept as SocialSpace. Now it's time for our first SocialSpace. We are inviting 60 of our followers on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms to a 'SocialSpace' as part of German Aerospace Day, on 22 September in Cologne, Germany.
Space Tweetups by the German Aerospace Center, DLR, and the European Space Agency ESA are becoming even more social. Originally conceived as real-life meetups of Twitter followers, they will now be open to participants from all social media channels, and thus called ‘SocialSpace’.
Holger Hennings was one of the first people to show an interest in wind power. He followed the failure of the large Growian science project and saw how wind power turbines went on to become a surprising success. Today, Hennings works at the DLR site in Göttingen, making wind power turbines safer and more efficient to operate.
Everyday life is dominated by information. Constantly growing volumes of data have to be transported around the globe. Satellite telecommunications play an important role in ensuring that such data reaches its destination reliably.
For the first time, SOFIA – the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, has been deployed to the southern hemisphere. Based at the airport in Christchurch, New Zealand for three weeks, SOFIA will study celestial objects that are uniquely observable on southern flight routes.
Close to four minutes of microgravity prevailed in the sounding rocket MAPHEUS-4, which was launched on 15 July 2013 at 07:53 local time, from the Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden.
Two gigantic cracks have formed in Pine Island Glacier, the longest and fastest-flowing glacier in the Antarctic. A new iceberg with an area of over 720 square kilometres and its smaller 'brother' separated from the glacier on 8 July 2013 and have 'calved' into the Amundsen Sea.
On 21 January 2013, the HRSC camera, operated by DLR on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, imaged the southeast portion of the Olympus Mons shield volcano, the largest volcano in the Solar System, located approximately 200 kilometers southwest of the Sulci Gordii region.
A short-arm centrifuge spins test subjects at six times Earth's gravity; a hypobaric chamber simulates an altitude of 5500 metres; and in the Psychology Laboratory a shuttle has to be docked with the International Space Station under stressful conditions.