As they enter and exit tunnels, trains generate pressure waves of varying strengths, depending on their speed. Physicist Daniela Heine, from the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology, is investigating how these pressure waves can be mitigated.
"Challenges are there to be mastered," Rolf Densing said, grinning. This might well be his life motto, both professionally and privately. Since 2009, the doctor of physics has been the Director of ESA Programmes at the DLR Space Administration, where he is responsible for Germany's involvement in the European Space Agency's research, technology, and infrastructure programmes.
For years, Christine Arlt manipulated the tiniest of particles – 'nanos'. Today, the 32-year-old researcher is Deputy Director of the Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
The department's name is lengthy, and what it does is hidden in numbers and tables. It's not exactly an inviting introduction to a scientist who works in the Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment Department at the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics in Stuttgart.
As Janine Schneider walks through the materials testing facility, her eyes light up; it is clear that she is comfortable between the long rows of test equipment. She knew she wanted to work here the moment she entered the premises of the DLR Institute of Materials Research in Cologne for the first time, during a trip there as a student. In our DLR Portraits series, we present the materials researcher.
Erica Barkasz is an early riser; her working day starts at six in the morning in the control room of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) ground station at Weilheim in Upper Bavaria.
As a child, she preferred to watch the first launch of an Ariane rocket on 24 December 1979 instead of eating cookies by the Christmas tree. At 10, her wish was to become an astronaut.
The Arctic, Antarctic, Australian outback or Brazil: Wolfgang Jung spends several months a year in the most remote places on Earth to prepare and launch sounding rockets - also known as rocket probes - into space.
A traditional job. Varied and in touch with reality. Franz Kurz began looking for a job outside his parents' bed and breakfast in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, and found what he was looking for. Today, at 38, he is a project manager at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Remote Sensing Technology Institute (Institut für Methodik der Fernerkundung; IMF) in Oberpfaffenhofen and father to an 18-month-old son.
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.
Barbara Lenz is the only woman to head one of the 32 research institutes and facilities of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). She is also the only female professor of Transport Geography in Germany, holding a special DLR professorship at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Since 1 January 2007, Barbara Lenz has been in charge of the DLR Institute of Transport Research in Adlershof, located to the south of Berlin.
While pilots at the controls of an F-4F Phantom II or Eurofighter conduct test flights at altitudes of several thousand metres, their 'client' stands on the ground below. As a flight test engineer at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Ina Niewind ensures that aircraft will be able to operate even more safely in the future. She prepares flight tests, defines the test plans, reviews the responses of the aircraft and the reactions of the pilot, and afterwards, carefully evaluates the results.
Rolf Hempel, the Head of DLR's Simulation and Software Technology, has an asteroid named after him. No wonder, as he devotes much of his spare time to astronomy. A mathematician by training, he manages the development of new software technologies that has applications such as the construction of complex space systems. Rolf Hempel applies his logical streak in equal measure to both his work and to his hobby.
Manfred Zink likes to arrange things. For the TanDEM-X mission he is organising when and where the antennas of the satellites are to point, in order to acquire the best three-dimensional images possible of our planet. Manfred Zink is Project Manager for the Ground Segment of the mission at the German Aerospace Center, DLR, in Oberpfaffenhofen. He is responsible for directing the entire mission, from the close flight formation of the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites to the creation of the digital elevation model.
In Walt Disney's comic book "Donald Duck", Gyro Gearloose has a little helper - an electric bulb with two legs - always at his side to serve him. Although Alin Albu-Schäffer has yet to come up with a walking light bulb like that - a presence that is always close by, ready to accept instructions and to assist people - his research work is clearly guided by a similar vision. Albu-Schäffer is a Department Head at the Robotics and Mechatronics Center of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and is involved in the development of robots for use in space, industry and medicine.
"Surprise!" – Alan Harris loves this word. It really suits the character and profession of this 58-year old British scientist. With a Doctorate in Physics, this 'Senior Scientist' at the Berlin-based DLR Institute of Planetary Research works in the 'Asteroids and Comets' department. As a scientist, he knows that his research will always lead him to surprises and questions. "I'll find that out at a later date – right now it's still unknown to me," he says with a grin.
"Hard work, great fun, not much sleep, but really fascinating". This is how Jens Heider describes his time in the USA. Just a short while ago, he was receiving training at the National Test Pilot School in the Mojave Desert. Whenever he talks about it, his eyes light up. On 12 different aircraft, he learned how to plan and evaluate flight tests, and how to fly each one of them. This is the 10h portrait in a series on the DLR Web Portal.
One day, we will be able to refuel with solar energy – that is the vision of Martina Neises; and that is what she is working on. As a postgraduate student working towards a doctorate in solar research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, she is researching a process that uses solar energy to produce hydrogen. The first steps along this path have already been successfully taken by DLR scientists together with partners from other research facilities and industry. Martina Neises simply wants to improve the process.
There has been a breath of fresh air in the Göttingen Institute of Propulsion Technology of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) since July 2008. That is when Ingo Röhle took over the Turbine Department at the oldest DLR site. In a year, the young professor has set a great many things in motion, both as regards staff and structurally – the team and order volume of the department has grown. Part eight of the DLR Web Portal portrait series presents the scientist Ingo Röhle.
Stefan Ratke is 25 years old. He successfully completed his apprenticeship in precision toolmaking at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in the summer of 2009. Today, he works as a mechanical technician at DLR's Engineering Systems House, a facility for engineering and integrated manufacturing of scientific equipment at DLR Cologne. This is part seven of the DLR Web Portal portrait series.
Frank Schreckenbach is currently working on a project at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) to allow air passengers to surf the Internet while the pilot is simultaneously downloading to the onboard computer the latest weather information for his approach – while complying with all the safety regulations applying in the aviation industry. However, anyone who wants to network the sky must not just be a researcher – they must also manage their project internationally.
Dr Edith Maurer and Alessandro Codazzi are young, at ease and laugh a lot. They do a job which carries a great deal of responsibility: as a team, the two control the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite from the German Space Operations Centre (GSOC) located at the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. No signal leaves the control room and heads towards the satellite without their approval – and mutual coordination.
The door to the examination room opens and ophthalmologist Dr Claudia Stern hurries across the hall of the aerospace medicine examination centre in the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, part of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). She quickly fetches a test frame that is needed to complete the eye test for a prospective glider pilot. Experienced astronauts, private and career pilots, balloonists, airship pilots and glider pilots always come to Claudia Stern when they have to prove that they are fit to undertake aeronautical activities.
"When the aircraft enters weightless conditions and you are lifted up from the floor and start to float, huge amounts of excitement hormones are released in your body", enthuses Dr Ulrike Friedrich. In her capacity as manager for parabolic flights at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), she is in a position to award this feeling of exhilaration to scientists, by selecting their research proposal for inclusion in a parabolic flight campaign. This is the third in a series of portraits on the DLR Web Portal.
The Schneefernerhaus, just a few metres from the top of the Zugspitze mountain. Kathrin Höppner gets up in the middle of the night to inspect her test set-up. She enjoys listening to the wind whistling around the corners of the environmental research station. But then the researcher focuses on her work again: Using her infrared spectrometer, she measures temperature at an altitude of about 87 kilometres. An important contribution to understanding climate change on Earth. This is the second part in a series of portraits on the DLR Web Portal.
These are exciting times for Christian Arbinger: together with his team, he will soon be controlling the first four satellites of the European Galileo navigation system from the Galileo Control Centre at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. This project has turned the Munich-native aerospace engineer into a multifaceted European. This is the first part in a series of portraits on the DLR Web Portal.