Comets have irregular and rather potato-like shapes – this is a well-known fact. But the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, on which the Philae lander is scheduled to descend in November 2014, has an unexpected shape.
The final exam in Russia has been passed, four and a half years of astronaut training across the globe are complete – and now, less than three weeks remain until the astronaut Alexander Gerst loses the ground under his feet for six months.
In a new radiation receiver developed for solar tower power plants, ceramic particles of around one millimetre in size are heated to 1000 degrees Celsius.
A symbiotic community of bacteria, tomatoes and single-celled algae, synthetic urine and a satellite that simulates the gravity of the Moon or Mars by rotating around its axis – these elements make up the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und- Raumfahrt; DLR) Eu:CROPIS (Euglena and Combined Regenerative Organic-Food Production in Space) mission.
More than two and a half years – this is how long the Philae lander has been hibernating while travelling through space on board the European Space Agency ESA Rosetta spacecraft. On 28 March, the lander was successfully reactivated and broke its planned radio silence by sending data to Earth from a distance of about 655 million kilometres.
A rocket launch in March 2004, multiple swing-bys past Earth and Mars, high-speed fly-bys of asteroids Šteins and Lutetia – after all this, the Philae lander on board ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, which is en route to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, is in good shape.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is testing the performance and durability of reflectors and receivers for solar power plants in Ouarzazate, Morocco and in Bokpoort, South Africa.
Slower landing approaches by aircraft lead to less noise. How slow, steep and hence quiet a modern commercial aircraft can arrive at a destination airport is determined by the performance of the high-lift system with its retractable slats and flaps on the wings. Another advantage of reduced landing speeds is that shorter runways can be used. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has joined with Airbus, and the European Transonic Wind Tunnel (ETW) in the three-part project HINVA (High lift INflight VAlidation), consisting of wind tunnel experiments, flight tests and computer simulations. The aim is to combine computer models and wind tunnel tests to substantially improve predictions of high-lift performance and hence pave the way for slower and quieter approach flights. In early February, the project performed unique wind tunnel experiments at cryogenic temperatures in the ETW in Cologne. Equipped with laser measurement technology and other advanced measurement systems, the researchers achieved hitherto unknown precision in detecting the flowfield around an Airbus A320 with extended landing flaps and slats under flight-representative conditions. The researchers had constructed a high precision wind tunnel model specifically for the tests, based on flow measurements performed during in-flight tests with the DLR A320 ATRA research aircraft.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has released a free version of the simulation program FreeGreenius.
Throughout his doctoral thesis, Marc Röger developed a contactless measuring technique, which measures the heat transfer of solar power plant components. It is for this discovery that he was awarded the DLR Wissenschaftspreis (Award for Contributions made to Science).