On 20 May 2014 at the ILA Berlin Air Show, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the US corporation Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. (TBE) signed an agreement to install and operate the imaging spectrometer DESIS (DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer) on board the International Space Station (ISS).
This ambitious project started on 21 June 2010, when the radar satellite TanDEM-X set off into space to join its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X. Since then, these two German satellites have been orbiting Earth in an intricate formation and mapping its surface.
The European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft and its lander Philae are currently around two million kilometres from their target comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Even at this distance, images acquired by the OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System) camera system already show the comet awakening on its way towards the Sun, enveloped in a cloud of small dust particles. Using these observations, the OSIRIS science team, which includes planetary researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), have been able to determine the comet’s rotation period with additional precision – 12.4 hours. In August, Rosetta will arrive at the comet, and will deploy the Philae lander onto the comet’s surface in November – the first ever landing on a comet.
Biofuels provide an opportunity to lower the carbon dioxide footprint of air travel and to reduce the potential climatic effects of particle emissions and enhanced cloudiness by aviation.
During its first scientific flight, the new infrared spectrometer FIFI-LS investigated the birth of young stars in the Orion Nebula and nine other celestial regions. The instrument, carried on board the airborne observatory SOFIA operated by the US space agency NASA and DLR, gathered important data on the formation of stars while simultaneously proving its suitability for this type of mission.
The final exam in Russia has been passed, four and a half years of astronaut training across the globe are complete – and now, less than three weeks remain until the astronaut Alexander Gerst loses the ground under his feet for six months.
In a new radiation receiver developed for solar tower power plants, ceramic particles of around one millimetre in size are heated to 1000 degrees Celsius.
From 20 to 25 May 2014, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be at the Berlin Air Show (Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung; ILA), presenting numerous concepts for more sustainable, safer and comfortable air travel. In the outdoor area at the air show, DLR will be exhibiting a number of its research aircraft, including the Falcon 20E atmospheric research aircraft. The Space Pavilion, designed by DLR in collaboration with its partners, will be showcasing the TORO walking robot and a number of current European space missions.
An international group of researchers has succeeded in producing the world's first jet fuel from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide in the SOLAR-JET (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable JET fuel) project.
A symbiotic community of bacteria, tomatoes and single-celled algae, synthetic urine and a satellite that simulates the gravity of the Moon or Mars by rotating around its axis – these elements make up the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und- Raumfahrt; DLR) Eu:CROPIS (Euglena and Combined Regenerative Organic-Food Production in Space) mission.
DLR sends two biomedical experiments from the University of Magdeburg to the ISS. Also on board – NASA cameras for Columbus Eye, the DLR student experiment.
An exchange of knowledge and scientists across borders, joint research projects and workshops – with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on 16 April 2014, DLR and the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) are strengthening their cooperation in the crucial research area of optical satellite-Earth communication.
When in flight, aircraft generate turbulence behind them known as wake vortices, which can affect the air traffic that follows. DLR is currently testing a wake turbulence warning system in flight experiments using its ATRA and Falcon research aircraft.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has entered into an agreement with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to conduct a series of joint research flights. During the flight tests, which will be headed by NASA, the emissions properties of alternative fuels and their effects on the climate and atmosphere will be studied. DLR will participate with its Falcon research aircraft in the approximately two-week-long air campaign. The start of the joint test flights as part of the ACCESS II (Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise emission) project is scheduled for 7 May 2014. The starting point for the flights will be the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.
To fly once around the world, across continents and oceans – powered by the Sun; this is the unprecedented goal of the Solar Impulse project. The flying venture is expected to take place in 2015, using an extremely lightweight aircraft covered with solar cells and powered by four electrically driven propellers.
Mapping flood events, observing oil slicks in the oceans, detecting ice distribution in the sea and measuring ground movements with millimetric precision – just some of the tasks of Sentinel-1A, the new flagship in European Earth observation. The roughly 2.3-ton, four-metre-high, two-and-a-half-metre-wide satellite was launched from the European Spaceport in French Guiana at 23:02 CEST (18:02 local time) on 3 April 2014.
In the process of evaluating thousands of datasets from the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, planetary researchers at DLR have been tracking metallic asteroids.
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.