The dwarf planet Ceres is becoming an increasingly mysterious – and exciting – celestial body as the planetary researchers working on the Dawn mission acquire more and more details. The contrast-enhanced true colours show a bluish material around several craters and mountain slopes.
On 14 March 2016 at 10:31 CET, the ExoMars 2016 mission of the European Space Agency, ESA, and the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, lifted off from the Russian Cosmodrome in Baikonur towards Mars. On board the Proton rocket were the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli landing demonstrator (Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module; EDM).
Spaceflight is undergoing significant change. To be successful in the long term, spaceflight must be actively developed, new markets have to be exploited, and the opportunities offered by innovative technologies need to be seized. Which space propulsion systems are visionary, which are realistic, and which are sustainable?
When it comes to the best views of Earth, weather satellites usually have front-row seats. But now, and until 30 December 2016, everyone can enjoy this very special view of the Blue Planet at the Gasometer Oberhausen. The highlight of the 'Wonders of Nature' exhibit is a terrestrial globe 20 metres in diameter hovering from the 100-metre high tower of this imposing industrial monument.
In December 2015, the Mars mission InSight was put on hold, but it has now been provisionally scheduled to launch to the Red Planet at the next opportunity – in May 2018. Technical difficulties with one of the two main experiments – the seismometer – had led to the US space agency, NASA, cancelling the launch that had been planned for March 2016. Now, a decision has been made – the mission has been given a reprieve, and a new launch date in two years' time.
In 1999, the European Commission launched the Single European Sky (SES) programme to ensure that national airspaces grow together to create a more unified and efficient pan-European airspace. Together with the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium; NLR), the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has become a member of the EU Single European Sky ATM (Air Traffic Management) research programme, known as SESAR 2020. The aim of SESAR 2020 is to develop new systems for the unification of European airspace and meet the challenges of increasing air traffic.
Mobile inspection robots crawl over pipelines on magnetic wheels and identify critical points using special sensors. What sounds like science fiction has long since become reality, but the moment that these robots need to be serviced and inspected, it has not been possible to avoid human interaction.
On 25 February 2016, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) signed an ‘Inter Agency Arrangement for Strategic Partnership’ at the German Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. With this arrangement, both partners intend to jointly undertake the new role of space agencies and significantly contribute to the advancement of the world's space development.
Dense rainforest, a twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft and advanced radar technology – researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are performing numerous measurement flights from 1 to 29 February 2016 over the central African country of Gabon to determine the state of the rainforest.
According to "Landmine Monitor 2015" every day around 10 people – as well children – are injured or even killed by landmines or other explosive remnants of war. Probably a huge and rather unknown amount of such devices is still installed, posing a constant threat even long after the end of a conflict.
Components made of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) are increasingly being used to make aircraft lighter, more comfortable and more economical. In order to make these aircraft even safer and facilitate their maintenance, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has built a large aircraft component out of CFRP, as part of the EU Smart Intelligent Airframe Structures (SARISTU) project. The component can provide information about the size and location of any damage.
Sailing in the regions that polar researcher Arved Fuchs is currently navigating in his ship 'Dagmar Aaen' is a not an easy task. The 'Ocean Change' expedition is travelling around the Antarctic Peninsula, stopping off at a number of research stations to investigate how climate change is impacting the local environment.
A globally unique programme of field research has been designed to address the effect of aircraft noise on children's sleep. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be conducting a study on the sleep patterns of a total of 50 children living in the vicinity of Cologne/Bonn Airport until 2018.
To communicate with one another, ships use radio, light signals or flags –but these channels are not suitable for transmitting large volumes of data. Only expensive satellite communications systems can enable data transfer at higher rates.
The last prolonged silence had already indicated that contact with the Philae lander will be increasingly unlikely, and the conditions on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko have become more hostile. "Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center (LCC) is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands; it would be very surprising if we received a signal now," said Stephan Ulamec Philae Project Manager of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) plans to build a realistic replica of the world's first series-produced aircraft and study it scientifically. The project intends to honour the work of aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal who, 125 years ago, became the first person to pilot an aircraft.
The first component of Europe's 'Data Highway in Space' has been launched. The initial node of the European Data Relay System (EDRS), carried on board the Eutelsat commercial telecommunications satellite Eutelsat 9B, took off en-route to geostationary orbit – 36,000 kilometres above Earth – on 29 January 2016 at 23:20 CET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The dwarf planet Ceres would be quite an uncomfortable place if one were to actually stand on its surface – with a rather 'chilly' temperature of minus 60 degrees Celsius by day, which gets colder during the night. Hard, frozen ground and craters spanning kilometres – in all shapes and sizes.
Gravity waves affect the climate and weather. For the first time ever, scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with colleagues from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie; KIT) and the Jülich Research Centre (Forschungszentrum Jülich), as well as other national and international partners, have succeeded in measuring almost the entire life cycle of atmospheric gravity waves.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is supporting the Indian power provider NTPC in its project to establish a research centre to test and develop solar power plants and their components. DLR researchers are supplying systems, measurement equipment and expertise, and are helping to select suitable power plant locations. The recently launched project will run for three years and is supported by the Kreditanstalt Development Bank (KfW) with funds provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.