A wind tunnel with icy temperatures; test rigs for combustion chambers to house next-generation turbines spewing fire, DLR's largest research aircraft, the Airbus A320 ATRA: These are just a few of the major high-tech apparatus that the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will present at its main headquarters in Cologne on 22 September 2013. German Aerospace Day has a lot to offer in terms of aerospace research: Four DLR institutes will showcase their work on economical, quiet and safe aircraft.
Officially, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X should have been out of service for over a year and a half – that's how long it has exceeded its intended lifespan. But engineers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have switched the satellite, which was launched to space on 15 June 2007, to yet another mode: TerraSAR-X can now record image strips over 200 kilometres wide. "The satellite does so by sweeping this large area in multiple stages, very quickly pivoting the radar beam numerous times across the direction of flight," explains DLR mission manager Stefan Buckreuss. For example, the image of the German Bight shows the Frisian Islands from Borkum to Wangerooge and cities such as Wilhelmshaven and Bremen. This new ‘wide-angle’ mode is of particular interest to oceanographers, who will be able to use it to investigate the tidal range, changes to mudflats, shipping movements, wave patterns, ice floes and wind levels.
On 20 August 2013, 12 space agencies, among them the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), published the second version of a Global Exploration Roadmap.
The first tickets have already been sold to space tourists – the passengers, however, will not be as fit or healthy as astronauts, but rather people with greatly varying health conditions. This is why scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and physicians from Witten/Herdecke University have come together to analyse the prevalent risks in a pilot study. Using a long-arm centrifuge, they subject participants to 15 minutes of the forces that space tourists would encounter during takeoff and landing. The aim of the study is to determine the influence of increased gravity on blood coagulation.
Gazing down from space, satellites have the best view of ice floes drifting, waves swelling restlessly, currents moving dangerously, the spread of oil slicks and the changing positions of ships. For this reason, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) analyse radar images or use satellites to receive ship signals. Now, DLR is pooling the research work conducted at its Remote Sensing Technology Institute and the Institute for Space Systems within the Research Centre for Maritime Safety in Bremen. DLR has set up additional research centres devoted to security on the oceans in Braunschweig, Neustrelitz and Oberpfaffenhofen
A windscreen full of insect remains is a familiar experience on the roads in summer. It is no different on the runway at the airport. On warm days, aircraft sometimes collide with entire swarms of insects as they take off and land. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are working in partnership with Airbus to investigate how the resulting large-scale contamination disturbs the airflow over new wing designs in particular, thus putting targeted fuel savings at risk. Extremely low-level flights by the DLR ATRA research aircraft over Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport have shown experts in flow patterns how small flying animals affect aircraft. The aim is to create hi-tech wings that incorporate insect protection for the future.
Many aircraft passengers are familiar with the phenomenon; the sky is clear and blue, the aircraft is cruising calmly, but suddenly everything is disrupted by temporary turbulence. Passengers frequently experience this as a kind of 'hole in the air'.
Everyday life is dominated by information. Constantly growing volumes of data have to be transported around the globe. Satellite telecommunications play an important role in ensuring that such data reaches its destination reliably.
For the first time, SOFIA – the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, has been deployed to the southern hemisphere. Based at the airport in Christchurch, New Zealand for three weeks, SOFIA will study celestial objects that are uniquely observable on southern flight routes.
Close to four minutes of microgravity prevailed in the sounding rocket MAPHEUS-4, which was launched on 15 July 2013 at 07:53 local time, from the Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden.
A short-arm centrifuge spins test subjects at six times Earth's gravity; a hypobaric chamber simulates an altitude of 5500 metres; and in the Psychology Laboratory a shuttle has to be docked with the International Space Station under stressful conditions.
Internet on the airplane – digital systems are an everyday routine for more and more passengers, but pilots are largely cut off from this development.
Following severe flooding in northern India and Nepal, the Indian government activated the 'International Charter Space and Major Disasters' on 19 June 2013 at 10:30.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the French aerospace company Dassault Aviation intend to join forces in aerospace research. At the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget on 18 June 2013, both partners adopted a joint declaration.
It will be a first: in 2018 the Japanese Hayabusa 2 Mission will feature an asteroid landing and will, for the first time, allow for data acquisition at various points of this kind of celestial body, assisted by MASCOT, the hopping landing craft developed by DLR.
The lightweight construction of aircraft with carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) is a dynamically developing field of research. On 17 June 2013 at the Paris Air Show, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) signed a Cooperation Agreement in the field of Fibre Reinforced Composites. Together, both partners will develop production techniques for lightweight components for use in the aviation and transport sectors, which will contribute to a reduction of fuel consumption and the associated carbon dioxide emissions.
Future developments in space travel and aviation are the main reasons why the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is attending the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget. From 17 - 23 June 2013 DLR will be present with 12 exhibits on a stand shared with the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI).
An A320 overflying Scotland was the first aircraft 'seen' from space by a new receiver from the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), proving that tracking aircraft from space is possible.
At present, the Sun is very active – a surface covered with sunspots, frequent ejections of matter and a stronger solar wind blowing towards Earth. In the meantime, however, radiation exposure at aircraft cruising altitudes has reduced.
A special passenger was on board during the launch of ESA's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), 'Albert Einstein', on 5 June 2013 at 23:52 CEST – the STEREX experiment, funded by the DLR Space Administration and the European Space Agency (ESA).