Today, the analysis and use of satellite images is commonplace. Just 15 years ago, however, only a handful of specialists worked with these valuable data. Since then, a particular niche expertise has rapidly developed – the use of satellite data for disaster management.
Space travel is no easy task – first comes the stressful launch with vibrations, then the long flight through the bitter cold and the vacuum. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) has been travelling on board the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft for the last one-and-a-half years, and is currently at approximately 65 million kilometres from Earth.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been actively involved in humanitarian aid for many years. Alongside government partners, the private sector and scientific institutions, DLR is supporting the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) work towards a world with zero hunger.
The small containers that are currently being disassembled at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are rather inconspicuous, yet they may contain organisms that have endured the conditions of space for over 530 days.
Earth observation satellites fly at distances of up to several hundred kilometres from Earth and can provide detailed information that assists relief workers on the ground.
On 22 June 2016 at 05:55 CEST, the BIROS (Bi-Spectral Infrared Optical System) microsatellite was successfully launched into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
The surgeon sits at a console, while robotic arms perform his commands with high precision on the patient – making exact incisions, putting in screws or stitching severed veins in a tiny space. During the operation, the doctor can feel through the controls exactly what the instrument tips on the robot are doing, just as if he were holding them in his own hands.
Out of 550 astronauts that have flown in space, only 60 have been women. The four female European spacefarers in this small group came from Britain, France and Italy. Germany has not yet had a female astronaut. In the late 1980s, German candidate astronauts Heike Walpot and Renate Bruemmer trained to go into space, but neither eventually flew on a space mission.
SOFIA is in New Zealand for the third time – it visited the country in 2013 and 2015 as well. On 6 June 2016, the joint NASA and German Aerospace Center (DLR) flying observatory landed at Christchurch Internationl Airport at 01:37 CEST (11:37 local time). The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will embark on the first scientific flight of this year's campaign in the southern hemisphere on 9 June.
The SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) airborne observatory – a joint venture between the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA – explores the evolution of galaxies using the telescope. Since 2011, the hatch of the modified Boeing 747SP has been opened 250 times to observe the night sky.
The future European launcher Ariane 6 will debut in 2020. In order for it to bring all its payloads safely to their orbits, the engines for the new launcher must first be extensively tested. To test the upper stage of the new launcher, a new test rig will be built at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Lampoldshausen.
At the International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the French space agency (CNES) in the presence of Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and also German Aerospace Coordinator, and Thierry Mandon, French Minister of State for Higher Education and Research, renewed their 2002 cooperation agreement on 2 June 2016.
Space missions are a bit like a marathon with checkpoints – only once the first model of a satellite has been successfully tested will construction commence on the actual flight model. The Eu:CROPIS satellite developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), which will operate two greenhouses under Martian and lunar conditions, has now reached this milestone – construction of the flight model can now begin.
A workshop in Dutch greenhouses has brought Paul Zabel another step closer to his actual mission: starting December 2017, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) engineer will set off for the Antarctic, where he will spend one year living in a specially constructed container in Neumayer-Station III with the designated task of growing lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes.
A new wireless satellite, innovative laser communication technology for space, a universal adapter for spaceflight – these are just some of the winning entries in the first INNOspace Masters competition run by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Administration. Using the slogan ‘Satellite 4.0’, the ideas competition called for the development of new proposals and concepts for the future of space (New Space Economy).
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has initiated a new chapter in earth observation.
Two eyes are better than one; this principle is also true for the two radar satellites that make up the Sentinel-1 mission. On 25 April 2016 at 23:02 CEST, the Sentinel-1B Earth observation satellite lifted off from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana on board a Soyuz launch vehicle.
The Robotics and Mechatronics Center (RMC) is one of the world's largest and most important research centres for applied automation and robotics. The cluster, which is formed by three DLR institutes, now has the required infrastructure.
On 8 April 2016, at 22:43 CEST, the German SPHEROIDS experiment was launched to the ISS in a Dragon capsule on board a Falcon 9 rocket of the US aerospace company SpaceX.
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.