The BEXUS 24 research balloon was launched from the Esrange Space Center in Sweden at 13:39 Central European Summer Time on Wednesday 18 October 2017. The balloon reached its maximum altitude of 24.6 kilometres at 15:25 at which point the gondola separated from the balloon (in a procedure called 'cut down'). The gondola landed back on Earth at 17:22 local time.
In which quantity are trace gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide, present in our atmosphere? How high are the global and regional concentrations of aerosol particles? Which processes induce changes in our environment, and how do they affect our climate, air quality, and therefore our health?
The venture to cultivate plants in the Antarctic is gathering momentum: on 8 October 2017 the special EDEN ISS greenhouse container, packed safely away on a cargo ship, left the Port of Hamburg en route to the Ekström ice shelf in the Antarctic.
The voyage to Mars, our red planetary neighbour, is more than just a dream – it is a definite goal for human spaceflight. But a whole series of scientific questions need to be answered before this kind of journey can be undertaken.
Two impact craters with expanses of dunes, located deep in the southern highlands of the Red Planet, can be seen in these images acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the ESA Mars Express spacecraft. The HRSC was developed and is operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
Representatives of international space agencies, the industrial sector and research institutes gathered at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) from 25 to 29 September 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) took this opportunity to sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding for closer collaboration with international partners.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the renowned University of Sydney have declared their intention for future cooperation in research and teaching activities related to aerospace research by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 27 September 2017 at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.
Ten years ago, NASA's Dawn space probe embarked on a mission destined to become one of the most exciting and scientifically productive in the history of unmanned exploration of the Solar System. On board is the German framing camera that is providing fundamental information on planetary formation from Vesta and Ceres.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the Japanese space agency, JAXA, and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan (AIST) signed two cooperation agreements on 21 September 2017 in Tokyo.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be showcasing its latest research at this year's International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia.
Electric propulsion systems are considered to be particularly promising space technology. Although they produce less thrust, their fuel efficiency is significantly higher than that of conventional chemical engines. Satellites can thus be made considerably lighter and more durable. Additionally, the payload capacity can be increased because of the lower fuel mass needed.
Over billions of years, meteorite impacts have altered the surface of Mars. Current images from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on board the ESA Mars Express spacecraft show an impact crater over 30 kilometres in size with a prominent ejecta blanket. It is located to the north of the largest impact basin on Mars, Hellas Planitia, where some scientists believe there was once a large lake.
Since the first observation of an extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, almost 4000 planets have been identified orbiting other stars in the Milky Way. With these new discoveries, scientists are now increasingly investigating their atmospheres, the composition and structure of gas hull.
There are a total of 18 scientific instruments on board Cassini-Huygens. One of these is the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA), which analyses ice and dust particles in the Saturnian system. The special thing about this instrument, which is still the only one in the world, is that it can simultaneously determine the electrical charge, speed, direction of flight and mass of individual particles.
Twenty nine parabolic flight campaigns run by the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have resulted in 97 flight days, 3270 parabolas and almost 19 hours of microgravity.
Today, thanks to Cassini, we know 62 of Saturn's moons. Maps are important to be able to study them further. The DLR Institute of Planetary Research has produced maps for the seven medium-sized ice moons Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Iapetus and Phoebe, based on high-resolution images acquired by the camera on board Cassini.
On 15 October 1997 the Cassini spacecraft took off from Cape Canaveral and embarked on an almost seven-year journey to the Saturn System, atop a Titan 4B rocket. It circled the planet and its numerous glacial moons for almost 13 years, from 2004 to 2017.
In anticipation of the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey, the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' was activated early on the evening of 24 August 2017. This was initiated by the Charter member United States Geological Survey (USGS) on behalf of the Texas Emergency Management Council. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided real-time recordings and archive data from the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, which enabled a detailed analysis and an overview of the flood situation. Using these and other satellite data provided by 16 Charter members, the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas is currently working on providing assistance and information to disaster relief personnel on the ground.
On 25 August 2017, the Italian ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, currently residing on the International Space Station (ISS), remote-controlled the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Rollin’ Justin robot. During the experiment, a tablet-PC was used to send instructions to the robot at the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in Oberpfaffenhofen from the ISS. Justin was then left to his own devices in the completion of various tasks and was required to use artificial intelligence to decide how individual work stages needed to be completed. These tasks belong to the SUPVIS Justin experiment, which is being carried out as part of the METERON project (Multi-Purpose End-to-End Robotic Operation Network) in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA).
A total solar eclipse is spectacular for observers: “Around 30 seconds before the Sun disappears entirely behind the Moon, it becomes noticeably darker in the middle of the day, as if someone had quickly turned the dimmer switch for a light,” explains Manfred Gaida, an astrophysicist in the Space Administration team at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), describing the phenomenon. The Moon moves in front of the Sun until just a luminous halo – the corona – can be seen. Where the conical umbra reaches the Earth, the sky goes dark. The partial phase of the eclipse begins around 75 to 90 minutes beforehand, and lasts for the same amount of time after the eclipse, until the ‘all-around twilight’ has completely disappeared.