On 14 July 2017At 08:36 CEST, the two research satellites 'Flying Laptop' and 'TechnoSat' were successfully launched to space on board a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Global food production is one of the key societal challenges of the 21st century. A growing world population with the simultaneous upheaval caused by climate change demand new methods of cultivating crops in regions with unfavourable climates. A closed greenhouse is a good way of growing food in deserts and low-temperature regions – as would be the case on missions to the Moon and Mars – as it permits harvesting regardless of the weather, the Sun and specific seasons.
It looks simple: the rover heads straight for the landing craft, uses a gripper arm to remove a sensor unit from the loading bay and takes it quickly to the determined deposit location, where seismic measurements are then carried out. Everything takes place without human intervention, as the rover, lander and sensor unit complete their job autonomously and effectively.
Climate change, digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and transformation of the energy and traffic systems – these central societal responsibilities will be at the heart of the research conducted by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in 2017. DLR will present the focus of this year's research and some selected projects at the New Year’s press conference on 26 January 2017 in Berlin.
A test simulating crashes between high-speed trains, hunting for clouds in West Africa, the maiden flight of a four-passenger fuel cell aircraft – 2016 at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been a year of numerous research highlights.
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.
Four days and four cases that pose a threat to maritime security – in several scenarios that took place between 5 and 9 September 2016, the EMSec joint project (Echtzeitdienste für die Maritime Sicherheit - Security; Real-Time Services for Maritime Security) was able to successfully demonstrate research findings from the last three years.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has finally confirmed the new launch date for the InSight mission, with the first launch opportunity to the Red Planet set for 5 May 2018. The mission was in fact scheduled for launch in March 2016, and land on Mars six months later.
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.
Space travel is no easy task – first comes the stressful launch with vibrations, then the long flight through the bitter cold and the vacuum. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) has been travelling on board the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft for the last one-and-a-half years, and is currently at approximately 65 million kilometres from Earth.
On 22 June 2016 at 05:55 CEST, the BIROS (Bi-Spectral Infrared Optical System) microsatellite was successfully launched into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Space missions are a bit like a marathon with checkpoints – only once the first model of a satellite has been successfully tested will construction commence on the actual flight model. The Eu:CROPIS satellite developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), which will operate two greenhouses under Martian and lunar conditions, has now reached this milestone – construction of the flight model can now begin.
A workshop in Dutch greenhouses has brought Paul Zabel another step closer to his actual mission: starting December 2017, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) engineer will set off for the Antarctic, where he will spend one year living in a specially constructed container in Neumayer-Station III with the designated task of growing lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes.
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.
Arable land disappeared from city centres, where most people live, many years ago. Nowadays, food is transported over long distances before reaching the consumer. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have now joined with international partners to create 'Vertical Farm 2.0', which will enable the multi-level cultivation of plants in large cities.
Philae landed on a comet just three weeks ago; now, another German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) lander mission has been launched – the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) is already on its way to Asteroid 1999 JU3.
Originally scheduled for launch at 05:24 CET on 30 November 2014, the MASCOT asteroid lander will now set off from Tanegashima Space Center on board the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) orbiter Hayabusa 2 no earlier than 1 December, destined for asteroid 1999 JU3.
Lucie Poulet, from DLR, spent four months living 'on Mars', donning a spacesuit to explore the Red Planet and cultivating vegetables inside the domed Mars station. To do all this, she did not have to move away from her home planet, Earth.
The first things the AISat satellite caught sight of were the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula and the Bering Sea – but at that time only one non-directional rod antenna was in use on board the satellite. Within eight minutes, the receiver picked up Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from 45 ships.
Right on schedule, at 06:19 CEST on 30 June 2014, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) AISat satellite journeyed into space aboard the PSLV-C23 launcher that departed from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, in India.