The Bremen site of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has been the home of the Institute of Space Systems since 2007. The institute’s work includes analysing and evaluating complex spaceflight systems for their technological, economical and socio-political viability. It develops concepts for innovative space missions with high visibility at national and international level. Scientific, commercial and safety-related applications supported by spaceflight are developed and converted into collaborative projects with research and industry.
The menu for polar explorers in the Antarctic is not usually very exciting. Often, there are only durable goods, especially in the polar winter, when the researchers are cut off from the outside world for months.
In the Situation Centre, an alarm flashes on the screen – a passenger ferry has changed its planned course for no apparent reason. The AIS (Automatic Identification System) signal eventually disappears from the display. By now, all ship-specific information must have been requested and compared in order to quickly clarify the situation and take immediate action.
In December 2015, the Mars mission InSight was put on hold, but it has now been provisionally scheduled to launch to the Red Planet at the next opportunity – in May 2018. Technical difficulties with one of the two main experiments – the seismometer – had led to the US space agency, NASA, cancelling the launch that had been planned for March 2016. Now, a decision has been made – the mission has been given a reprieve, and a new launch date in two years' time.