After a 10-minute flight, the sharp-edged SHEFEX II spacecraft landed safely west of Spitsbergen. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) launched the seven-ton and roughly 13-metre-long rocket and its payload from the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway at 21:18 CEST on 22 June 2012. As it re-entered the atmosphere, SHEFEX withstood temperatures exceeding 2500 degrees Celsius and sent measurement data from more than 300 sensors to a ground station. “The SHEFEX II flight takes us one step further in the road to developing a space vehicle built like a space capsule but offering the control and flight options of the Space Shuttle much more cost-effectively,” says project manager Hendrik Weihs.
Dark energy and dark matter are both fascinating for scientists, yet they remain a mystery. The Euclid space telescope, which is supported with funds from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Administration, will assist scientists in their search for these cosmic phenomena.
Five years ago today, at 04:14 CEST on 15 June 2007, the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite was launched from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This marked the beginning of a new era in satellite remote sensing for Germany.
The Arabia Terra region on Mars is populated with numerous craters, filled with deposits of various materials that, over time, have become severely eroded. The latest images acquired by the HRSC camera show many features of this kind, known as 'yardangs', in Danielson Crater; the different types of material these contain could be explained by changes in the climate.
Valles Marineris, the largest canyon system in the Solar System and a potential refuge for extraterrestrial life, is 7000 metres deep and stretches for some 4000 kilometres along the Martian equator.
Even though it doesn’t quite qualify as a 'proper' planet, the second most massive asteroid in the Solar System, Vesta – which has a diameter of approximately 530 kilometres – exhibits numerous planetary characteristics. This is just one of the many significant results of NASA's Dawn mission, published in the journal Science on 11 May 2012. The Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting Vesta since 16 July 2011. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is involved in the mission.
GREAT results of the early science flights with SOFIA, the airborne observatory, puiblished in the European scientific journal 'Astronomy & Astrophysics'.
New images from the HRSC camera on board the Mars Express spacecraft show numerous dried up river valleys and various former crater lakes in the Acidalia Planitia region. They are further evidence of the existence of water on the surface of Mars for an extended period of time. Such areas are of particular interest to the search for microbial life, which may have developed here under these circumstances.
The SHEFEX II (SHarp Edge Flight EXperiment) spacecraft successfully withstood vibration on a shaker and spinning at two rotations per second. These tests represented the final simulation of the conditions that the space vehicle will be subjected to during its launch in the summer of 2012.
In the Tharsis volcanic region, almost the size of Europe, the Martian highlands have arched up into a shield several thousand metres in height as a consequence of volcanic processes. Quite a few unusual topographic features can be observed there.
It is a freighter, storage facility and propulsion system all in one - and an important link between the astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) and their base on Earth. The third European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) space transporter was launched on 23 March 2012 at 05:34 CET (01:34 local time) on board an Ariane 5ES rocket, from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
Ice and snow can be colourful – at least when seen through the 'eyes' of the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite. The radar signals are able to penetrate the snow cover to a depth of one metre – and the subsurface reflects the pulse in different ways.
Ius Chasma is one of the main graben in Valles Marineris, one of the largest known canyon systems in the Solar System. Over a length of 940 kilometres, Ius Chasma forms the northern boundary between the western half of this enormous valley system and the Martian highlands.
How has our ozone layer changed in the last 10 years? How do trace gases like nitrous oxides, carbon dioxide and methane influence our climate? How do environmental protection measures work? These were the questions that German researchers sought to address.
Is there life under the icy crust of Enceladus? If Europe's plans for a future mission to Enceladus do become reality, German researchers would like to study this water source for traces of life.
It is not entirely clear when exactly the last major asteroid impact on Earth occurred. But there are plenty of examples of impact craters, such as the Nördlinger Ries in Bavaria.
Amateur astronomers who on occasion observe Mars through the eyepiece of their telescopes are quite familiar with the region of Syrtis Major; when observing conditions are good, it can be easily identified as a dark spot on Mars.
After a year in service, the German Earth observation satellite TanDEM-X, together with its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X, have completely mapped the entire land surface of Earth for the first time. The data is being used to create the world's first single-source, high-precision, 3D digital elevation model of Earth.
Tempe Terra is located at the northeastern edge of the Tharsis volcanic region and forms the transition zone between the southern highlands and the northern lowlands.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been in its lowest orbit around asteroid Vesta since mid-December 2011. During November the orbit was gradually lowered to an altitude of 210 kilometres above the asteroid's surface.