On 23 October 2011 at 03:50 CEST, the German research satellite ROSAT re-entered the atmosphere over the Bay of Bengal; it is not known whether any parts of the satellite reached Earth's surface.
The successful launch of the first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites on 21 October 2011 marks the start of space segment construction for an independent European satellite navigation system.
An equation with four unknowns – at least, that is how satellite navigation is summarised by Walter Päffgen, Managing Director of the German Aerospace Center's Space Applications Company and Head of the Galileo Control Centre.
The Ares Vallis outflow channel meanders for more than 1700 kilometres across the southern highlands of Mars and ends in a 100-kilometre-wide delta-like region in the lowlands of Chryse Planitia. On 11 May 2011, parts of the Ares Vallis channel were photographed using the High Resolution Stereo Camera operated by the German Aerospace Center on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.
The ROKVISS (Robotic Components Verification on the ISS) technology experiment developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has returned to Earth after six years in space.
Varied impact craters, valleys, canyons and mountains among the highest in the Solar System – the 3D images and videos of the asteroid Vesta created by scientists at the German Aerospace Center reveal a most unusual celestial body. The US Dawn spacecraft, carrying a German camera system on board, has been orbiting the asteroid since July 2011.
When a series of images acquired with the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X – operated by DLR – are combined into a sequence, the result is truly amazing; even gas storage tanks can have an eventful life of their own. The position of their covers reveals the amount of gas in the tanks; as it varies over time, TerraSAR-X gazes down at the bobbing of the gas tank covers in the Italian Porto Marghera.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been in orbit around the asteroid Vesta since 16 July 2011. A German camera system on board is being used to acquire images of the asteroid's surface. These images show craters, hills and even shapes that remind the researchers of snowmen.
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.
After almost four years traveling through space, the NASA Dawn spacecraft reached its destination and entered orbit around the asteroid Vesta on 16 July 2011. On board Dawn, among other instruments, is a Framing Camera for imaging the surface of the asteroid. Using data from this camera system, scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will create detailed maps and elevation models of this celestial body.
During the night of 14 to 15 July 2011, two German teachers flew on board the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, for the first time. Wolfgang Viesser from the Christoph-Probst Gymnasium in Munich and Jörg Trebs from the Thomas-Mann Oberschule in Berlin were selected to join a team from the German SOFIA Institute (DSI), the University of Stuttgart and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to experience first-hand precisely how 'live' research on SOFIA is conducted at an altitude of 14 kilometres.
Loaded with waste material, the second European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-2), Johannes Kepler, entered Earth's atmosphere shortly after performing its second de-orbit engine firing at 22:04 CEST on 21 June 2011 and burned up over the south Pacific. After more than four months in space, ATV Johannes Kepler undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 16:51 CEST on 20 June 2011. On board was a Re-entry Break-up Recorder, a special flight data recorder designed to log the mechanical stresses on the ATV during break-up and radio the data to the ground station via satellite.
The images acquired by the German camera system on the US spacecraft Dawn are currently being used for navigation purposes in its journey to the asteroid Vesta. A film, created by the Dawn team researchers from individual images acquired at a distance of about 481,000 kilometres, already reveals how complex the surface of the asteroid is.
On 8 June 2011, the Rosetta spacecraft will be put into hibernation after having travelled through space for more than seven years. To reduce energy consumption, the European probe will be flying in 'economy mode' as it heads towards its destination, the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But this will be no break for researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR); they will continue to train in preparation for Rosetta's arrival in May 2014. Six months after reaching the comet, Philae, the Rosetta lander, will become the first spacecraft to land on a comet.
The final contenders in NASA’s Discovery programme, which invites scientists to propose unmanned planetary missions, have been announced. The Geophysical Monitoring Station (GEMS) for Mars mission proposal has made it to the final and decisive round of decision-making. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is significantly involved with a geophysical experiment aimed at investigating the interior of Mars. The aim of the mission, which may launch in early 2016, is to obtain our first ever impression of the 'interior life' of Mars through a series of direct measurements.
When Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on 11 February 2000 for the 'Shuttle Radar Topography Mission' (SRTM), it was carrying two radar antennas; one in the shuttle's payload bay and the other on the end of a 60-metre mast. Over the course of eleven days, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) acquired data for a three-dimensional terrain model of large areas of the Earth. Now, DLR is making these data available for scientific purposes free of charge.
Nobody knows exactly how many people live in Istanbul, but there are thought to be about 15 million inhabitants of this city on two continents. Images from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite are giving urban planners a more accurate view of something slightly different – how much the city on the Bosphorus has spread out recentlyreitet.
On 16 May 2011 at 08:56 EDT (14:56 CEST), Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center (Florida) on the penultimate shuttle mission (STS-134) to the International Space Station (ISS). On board are the commander Mark Kelly, pilot Gregory H. Johnson, mission specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and Italian ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori.
During 2010, SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy – a joint project of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and NASA – achieved programme goals and passed milestones at a pace almost as fast as the observatory can fly.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) will be located outside the International Space Station (ISS) and will use its various detectors to seek cosmic radiation in space. On 29 April 2011, at 21:47 CET (19:47 UTC), the AMS will be launched on board the space shuttle Endeavour from Cape Canaveral (Florida), en route to the ISS. The project, supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), will involve 500 scientists from 16 countries. The main scientific target is to find evidence for the presence of dark matter and antimatter.