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.