Ten days, seven hours and 47 minutes – this was the duration of Ulf Merbold's first experience in space, which began on 28 November 1983, when the Space Shuttle Columbia delivered him to Earth orbit.
Floating water droplets, a Canadian astronaut singing his own version of David Bowie's ‘Major Tom’, spacewalks, or beautiful views of Earth from the Cupola – the images that reach Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) never cease to surprise. Things were different 15 years ago; on this very day, 20 November 1998, the first component of the ISS was launched. This ‘heavenly’ construction began with the Russian Zarya module, a cargo and control module. Today, six astronauts live and work 365 days a year in the space research laboratory. Also on board are numerous experiments supported by scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) or funded by the DLR Space Administration.
Gentle, rounded landscapes make up the Ismeniae Fossae, and can be seen in these newly released images created using data acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by DLR on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.
If an astronaut were to stand in the Hebes Chasma basin, the view would be extraordinary. Precipitous walls rise almost 8000 metres into the skies, and a massif similar in size to Mount Everest lies at the centre.
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.
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.
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.
These images, which were acquired using the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show a section of the northern part of Hesperia Planum.
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.
Numerous dramatic flood events sculpted the impressive valley system of Kasei Valles on Mars, seen in a new mosaic of 67 individual images acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by DLR on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.
Nobody would have believed it back then; when the European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft Mars Express was launched on 2 June 2003 to investigate our neighbouring planet, its mission was intended to last one Mars year, which is equivalent to about two Earth years.
Grabens, dendritic valleys, lava flows and the highest known mountain in the Solar System – in the images from the German stereo camera on board the Mars Express spacecraft, the topography of the Red Planet appears so three-dimensional that you could walk through it.
His muscles are of interest to the scientists, as is his internal clock and the radiation dose to which he will be exposed during his work in the European Columbus research laboratory. On 28 May 2013 at 22:31 CEST, the European Astronaut Luca Parmitano will depart from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on board the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft, beginning his journey to the International Space Station (ISS), as part of the Expedition 36/37 crew.
European astronaut Luca Parmitano's 'Volare' mission will begin on 28 May 2013 with the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The International Space Station will be his place of work and home for the next six months.
Huge landslides, lava flows and tectonic forces have generated the stunning landscape seen in these images acquired by the DLR-operated HRSC camera system on board the Mars Express spacecraft.
"Go for Spacelab activities," confirmed NASA Mission Control Center on 26 April 1993 at 18:51 CET. German astronauts Hans Schlegel and Ulrich Walter and their United States colleagues had to wait almost two months until, with this command, the D2 mission could finally begin.
In 1993, during the second German D2 Spacelab Mission, astronaut Hans Schlegel orbited Earth 160 times and conducting numerous international experiments as payload specialist. This was Schlegel's first flight into space.
The first results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) have been released. This space 'camera' has recorded 20 billion cosmic particles in the first 18 months of operation – yet that is just a small step.
Intense underground steam explosions that occurred during the crater formation process could be responsible for the central depressions present in these 'twin' craters, located on Thaumasia Planum, an elevated plateau that lies immediately to the south of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the Solar System.
The original Philae comet lander has been travelling through space since 2 March 2004. It is currently in hibernation mode, awaiting its arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the Philae models on the ground are being put through their paces: they are being tested to breaking point and examined by DLR.