As one of Europe's leading research institutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will continue to align its research work with key issues concerning environmental protection, mobility, energy supply and security in 2012.
Space debris poses an increasing threat to our orbiting assets. In a joint effort with national and international partners DLR scientists and administration as well as the German Air Force are working to put in place a space situation surveillance system.
Rapid assistance in emergencies: in the event of a natural disaster, the DLR Centre for Satellite-based Crisis Information (ZKI) provides Earth-observation data to support authorities and relief forces. Its information may also be used to improve disaster preparedness and prevention.
Exacting security standards and increasing volumes of traffic are turning airports into bottlenecks within the transport chain. Lengthy checks and queues at the counters are slowing down the flow of passengers and goods. DLR is working on making the airports of the future safer and more comfortable. The key to this is Total Airport Management (TAM), a system which improves coordination among the various security processes in airports.
When the foreign secretaries of NATO met in Berlin in April 2011, an unmanned police aircraft was hovering above the venue, delivering live aerial photographs to those in charge. In the future, such flying reconnaissance systems will become firmly established in the daily life of security authorities, rescue forces, and civil protecting and disaster relief. DLR employs its own key competencies in developing the aircraft as well as the sensors which turn a mere flying object into an efficient information device.
DLR has developed an innovative situation assessment and management system for disaster control. Called disaster management tool, it captures and disseminates any important information in the event of a crisis – and it is small enough to be carried by hand.
Modern piracy, illegal fishing, and dense traffic confront maritime authorities with a growing challenge. Under a project entitled ‘satellite-based maritime safety and security’, scientists of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) are developing innovative technologies that contribute towards protecting the oceans and enhancing the safety of navigation.
The crater of the Chilean volcano Puyehue displays a striking, circular outline in this image from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite – so this was not the culprit when a volcano in the southern Andes erupted on 4 June 2011. Instead, as the images from the German radar satellite show for the first time, the new eruption centre lies 6.7 kilometres further to the northwest, in the Cordón Caulle region.
The police plan to make things tough for car thieves and burglars by stepping up their patrols. For this purpose, DLR Braunschweig has developed a new route planning software. TAG assists in deploying resources efficiently, includes random factors, gives consideration to the current situation – and may as well be used in other security-relevant fields.
An explosion occurs in a densely populated area. Police and rescue workers are called out and race to the place where it happened - in theory. Yet, how soon do they really arrive at the scene of the incident? Which is the best route to take?
While pilots at the controls of an F-4F Phantom II or Eurofighter conduct test flights at altitudes of several thousand metres, their 'client' stands on the ground below. As a flight test engineer at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Ina Niewind ensures that aircraft will be able to operate even more safely in the future. She prepares flight tests, defines the test plans, reviews the responses of the aircraft and the reactions of the pilot, and afterwards, carefully evaluates the results.
After the eruption of the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April 2010, a cloud of fine-grained ash particles spread quickly towards central Europe. Large segments of the airspace were closed by the authorities because the engines of aircraft flying through ash clouds had been repeatedly damaged on previous occasions. Using lidar technology, scientists of the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics helped to re-define safety thresholds in aviation so that more far-ranging airspace closures could be avoided.
Forest fires endanger humans and nature, pollute the atmosphere and wreak economic havoc. If detected at an early stage, the damage they leave behind may be limited. Using cameras and satellite-enhanced early detection systems, DLR has declared war on the flames.
Whether deliberate or unintentional, any release of hazardous chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, or explosive substances (CBRNE) may have devastating consequences. The DLR Institute of Technical Physics is developing innovative methods for tracking down and identifying such substances in time.
Every year, the Oktoberfest in Munich attracts around six million people. Should anything unforeseen happen, the visitors’ safety may be acutely threatened. A technology developed by DLR’s Applied Remote Sensing Cluster permits authorities to analyse groups of persons and their direction of movement on the basis of current aerial photographs.
When a disaster occurs, emergency response services are strained to the limit. What is available in terms of staff and vehicles is often inadequate for treating and transporting all victims immediately. Moreover, bottlenecks may occur in the transport of relief material to the site.
The missions and projects planned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in 2011 underline the importance of research in Germany, specifically in the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security. Highlights were presented at a new year press conference in Berlin with Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board, and Ulrich Wagner, Board Member for Energy and Transport.