The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will send the 'Mole' HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) to Mars on board the United States InSight Mission on 5 May 2018 to conduct heat flow measurements. And it has just received good news: the landing site in the plains of Elysium Planitia most probably has a heat flow that is classified average, and will therefore be representative of Mars as a whole.
The highest decision-making body of the European Space Agency (ESA) met this year on 1 and 2 December at the Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) in Lucerne, Switzerland, to set the financial and programme-based course for European space travel for the coming years. Ministers in charge of space in Europe last came together exactly two years ago on 2 December 2014 in Luxembourg.
International policy-makers have set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris Agreement regarding climate change. Monitoring emissions will play a crucial role here. Greenhouse gas sources and sinks need to be investigated as accurately as possible in order to obtain reliable climate forecasts. In spring 2017, the research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and LOng Range Research Aircraft) is set to target carbon dioxide and methane, the two most significant greenhouse gases, with its innovative instruments, acquiring data stretching from Europe to North Africa, which is currently lacking.
The plasma crystal experiments are among the most successful research projects on the International Space Station (ISS). The PKE-Nefedov plasma crystal laboratory was one of the first scientific research laboratories on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Rosetta mission reached the end of its observation phase in late September when the orbiter touched down spectacularly on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gersimenko. By then, it had spent 4595 days in space, and had travelled 7.9 billion kilometres, performed a total of six fly-bys past Earth, Mars and two asteroids and accompanied Comet 67P during its journey through the Solar System on a mission lasting more than two years.
Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley and Tijmen – those are the names of the four Galileo satellites launched on 17 November 2016, at precisely 14:06 CET, for the first time with a specially adapted version of the European heavyweight carrier Ariane 5 from the European spaceport in French Guiana.
The Budget Committee of the German Federal Government has approved 42 million euro in funding to establish six new institutes within the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
Human beings do not always retain the same level of dexterity in a weightless environment as they would on Earth – not even with practice. This is a familiar, yet still mysterious, phenomenon encountered in human spaceflight: what is the reason for the reduced hand-to-eye coordination in space, and what can be done to compensate these performance deficits?
At 10:30 Central European Time (CET) on 8 November 2016, the HEROS3 (Hybrid Experimental Rocket Stuttgart) research rocket was successfully launched from the Esrange Space Centre in Sweden to great enthusiasm from the students. Reaching an altitude of 30 kilometres, it set a new European altitude record for student rockets.
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.
A unique experiment – with a very special goal – has been devised by the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The AVANTI experiment (Autonomous Visual Approach Navigation and Target Identification) is intended to demonstrate how a satellite can detect a spacecraft in space and approach it autonomously.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have set a new record in data transmission using laser: 1.72 terabits per second across a distance of 10.45 kilometres, which is equivalent to the transmission of 45 DVDs per second.
Starting 24 October 2016, a four-week 'space mission' will take place in Utah's semi-desert: this field test programme of the Field Trials Utah (FT-Utah) project is focusing on the SherpaTT Rover and Coyote III. In the impassable, Mars-like test area not far from the small town of Hanksville in the south of the US state, the robots will have to undergo endurance and stress tests and should also successfully complete a mock-up mission scenario.
The European Space Agency's (ESA) Venus Express mission has provided a great amount of data from the surface and atmosphere of Earth's inner twin planet. Among these observations was the mapping of the southern hemisphere of Venus in the near infrared spectral range using the VIRTIS (Visible and InfraRed Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) instrument.
Since 14 March 2016, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander have been flying together towards Mars for the ESA ExoMars mission. On 16 October 2016, the journey to the Martian surface begins for the lander, while the TGO will enter orbit around Mars.
Norwegian Air and Eurowings are increasingly targeting destinations outside Europe, while Ryanair is continuing to shake up the German market and is now expanding its position as market leader within Europe.
On 5 October 2016 at 15:33 CEST, the research balloon BEXUS 22 took off from the Esrange Space Center, near Kiruna, Sweden, en route to the stratosphere. BEXUS 23 is scheduled to be launched on 6 October.
The new three-dimensional map of Earth has been completed. Mountain peaks and valley floors across the globe can now be seen with an accuracy of just one metre. The global elevation model was created as part of the TanDEM-X satellite mission; it offers unprecedented accuracy compared with other global datasets and is based on a uniform database.
On 30 September 2016 at 13:19 CEST, the final signal from the Rosetta orbiter was received back on Earth. The ESA mission ended when the spacecraft touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The international team of scientists had already said their farewells to the Philae lander back in February 2016, when its prolonged radio silence indicated that it would no longer report back to the team in the control centre at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
On 29 September 2016, the HY4 aircraft took off on its first official flight from Stuttgart Airport. The HY4 is the world’s first four-seat passenger aircraft powered solely by a hydrogen fuel cell system. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) developed the aircraft's power train and worked on the project with industry and research partners.