Temperatures alternating between extreme heat and cold, electromagnetic radiation and weightlessness – environmental conditions prevailing in space are harsh. Nevertheless, satellite components and those of the International Space Station ISS and other systems must withstand these conditions and continue to function reliably. Within the national "On-Orbit-Verification"-(OOV)-Programme- the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) is testing the maturity of space technologies under real condtitions in their intended space environment. The core element of this programme is the small satellite TET-1 built by the prime contractor Kayser-Threde GmbH of Munich.
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.
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.
On 31 October at 22:58 CET (on 1 November at 05:58 local time), the Chinese spaceship Shenzhou-8 was launched on board a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia.
On 1 April 2011, Gerd Gruppe joined the DLR Executive Board as Director of Space Administration in Bonn. An interim report after three months in office offers an opportunity to reflect on priorities and weightlessness, deep-shaft and opencast mining, and on basic research and applications.
On 6 April 2011, German scientists carried out their first astronomical observations on board the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA. A joint project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), SOFIA is the world's only operational airborne observatory. The first observations with the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies, GREAT, included spectra of the Omega Nebula (M17) an active star-forming region in the Milky Way, and the galaxy IC 342, located a few million light years away.