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.
Lucie Poulet said goodbye to the outside world for four months when the door closed behind her on 28 March 2014; the scientist from DLR is participating as a crewmember in a Mars simulation run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
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.
Unanswered questions about the formation of clouds and their impact on the climate are currently setting limitations on the validity of global climate forecasts. To make a detailed analysis of the climate effects of natural ice clouds and the vapour trails created by air traffic, the HALO research aircraft embarked on the first of a total of 12 measurement flights on 24 March 2014.
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.
By the time the signal is analysed by scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), it will have travelled roughly 400,000 kilometres and passed through Earth's atmosphere.
For new, quieter descent procedures, pilots must adhere precisely to a predetermined sequence of actions during the landing phase. DLR has developed a pilot assistance system that optimises landings, making them safer, quieter and more fuel-efficient.
Situated at a favourable, stable distance from its star and having liquid water on its surface – this is what the planets that scientists involved in the Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars (PLATO) mission seek to discover outside of the Solar System. An international consortium under the leadership of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will search for this 'second Earth'. The space telescope that the European Space Agency (ESA) selected from among five proposed missions on 19 February 2014 is scheduled to launch in 2024. "This unique European space telescope, designed to search for exoplanets, will enable German and European scientists to engage in truly cutting-edge research in this field of astronomy," says DLR Executive Board Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner.
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.
A labyrinthine mine, dimly lit and a dusty environment – the researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) chose a particularly difficult location to test their flying robot.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has released a free version of the simulation program FreeGreenius.
A team of German pilots from the Mountain Wave Project (MWP) and researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have achieved a groundbreaking feat around the highest mountain on Earth.
The concrete tube stretching across the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Trauen might only be 3.3 metres wide, but every now and then it becomes outer space for around 10 seconds.
Time and again, Himalayan landslides and flash floods cost the lives of dozens of people in Nepal, sweeping away entire villages and infrastructure like bridges and roads. Until now, the images of this remote region have been acquired by satellites.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are driven by the desire to improve life on Earth. Among other things, they are working on aircraft that one day will produce less noise emissions and run on alternative fuels, while their more efficient turbines emit fewer pollutants. But DLR researchers are not simply concerned with improving airborne mobility, they also have their feet firmly on the ground, helping us reach our destinations in fast and green transportation, for instance in electric vehicles. And talking about transport, in May 2014 astronaut Alexander Gerst, is scheduled to embark on a six-month journey on board the ISS, where he will conduct numerous experiments in various fields, including biology and medicine, to name just two, that will contribute to improving life here on Earth. Alexander Gerst's mission – Blue Dot – expresses this desire. Viewed from far away in space, the Earth resembles an azure, vulnerable speck. The Rosetta spacecraft will send a wealth of new data back to Earth as it chases a comet, venturing deep into space during 2014. The European spacecraft will reach its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, after around 10 years of travel. One of the highlights will be the landing of Philae on November 2014. DLR played a major role in building the craft and operates the lander from its control centre in Cologne.
For ten days, 74 scientists and tourists were trapped in the Antarctic on board the Russian Akademik Shokalskiy research vessel. Strong winds had driven ice floes into a bay, blocking the ship's advancement.
Researchers from DLR based at Göttingen and Braunschweig have succeeded for the first time in visualising the main cause of what makes helicopters so noisy while in the air.
It is the beginning of a new astrometric age – from now until 2018, Gaia, the new European Space Agency (ESA) space observatory, will measure the positions, distances and motion of over one billion stars and, for the first time, create a 3D map of the Milky Way.
Clouds can both warm and cool Earth's atmosphere. In current climate models, detailed conditions for cloud cover as a climatic factor are still not clearly understood. There is a shortage of precise measurements on how the water, humidity, ice particles and aerosols that form water droplets are distributed in towering cumulus clouds.
On 20 January 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft will awake from its 957-day hibernation in interplanetary space – and with it, the Philae lander. Rosetta is a mission of ESA, with a strong involvement of DLR, which has played a major role in the construction and operation of Philae.