There are very few ways of conducting experiments without the influence of Earth's gravity. One of these platforms became available on 25 November 2012, when a rocket was launched from the Swedish Esrange Space Center in Kiruna.
On 20 and 21 November 2012, delegates from the 20 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canada met at the 'Mostra d'Oltremare' conference centre in Naples, Italy.
The first two satellites for the European Galileo navigation system have been orbiting Earth since 21 October 2011. Now, two more are about to follow; on 12 October 2012 at 20:15 CEST, a Soyuz rocket will launch satellites three and four into their position in space.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have been instrumental in the preparation of a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) regarding the development of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Based on estimates, by about the mid 21st century, the ozone layer will have the same thickness as it had in the early eighties.
When the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission is launched towards asteroid 1999 JU 3 in 2014 to collect surface samples, MASCOT – the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout – an asteroid lander developed by DLR will be on board.
A robotic arm controlled entirely by the thoughts of a paraplegic woman – to accomplish this, Patrick van der Smagt from DLR and John P. Donoghue from Brown University in the USA 'networked' expertise from their two research disciplines, robotics and neuroscience.
A service satellite captures an uncontrollable satellite in space, repairs or refuels it and, at the end of the mission, ensures that the defective satellite is disposed of in a controlled manner. Something that sounds like science fiction is now a step closer to reality.
From the magnificent Vinci upper stage engine to the small but important MOSFET circuit board for the flight to asteroid 1993 JU3 – DLR will be showcasing new developments in space technology at its stand during the ILA Berlin Air Show 2012 from 11 to 16 September.
A giant impact crater on its south pole; deep grooves around its equator; dark material on the craters that puzzles planetary researchers; and a mountain more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
Satellites with electric propulsion, a 'mole' for exploring the Martian subsurface, a mobile robot that moves sideways like a crab, a pinch of Moon dust and a hands-on medical experiment.
After the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, NASA has selected one more lander mission to Mars. The InSight mission will reach Mars in September 2016, after a six-month journey; it has been designed to take a 'look' into the deep interior of the Red Planet; it will do this with geophysical experiments including DLR's HP3, which will penetrate several metres into the Martian subsurface to measure the soil's thermo-physical and electrical properties.
The future of aerospace will be showcased by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at the International Aerospace Exhibition (Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung; ILA) in Berlin, from 11 to 16 September 2012.
A mere seven minutes on 6 August 2012 will decide whether the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will be successful. Then, the 900-kilogram capsule enclosing the Curiosity rover will begin decelerating 125 kilometres above the Martian surface before being lowered on cables by a rocket-powered 'sky crane'.
The ground segment for GMES is starting to take shape; the German Aerospace Center's Remote Sensing Data Center in Oberpfaffenhofen will be the European data centre for GMES satellites Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3.
The most important conference in the world on geoscience and remote sensing has begun – some 2400 experts from more than 70 countries will be guests at the International Congress Center in Munich until 27 July 2012. The focus of the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) will be on new applications, integrated Earth observation systems, satellite image processing methods, as well as ongoing and future satellite missions. The conference looks to the future in areas at the boundaries of its specialisations and has become an annual highlight in the events calendar. IGARSS 2012 has been jointly organised by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
On 22 July 2012 at 08:41:39 CEST, the first small German satellite in the ‘On-Orbit-Verification’ (OOV) programme was carried into orbit from the Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan by a Russian Soyuz launch vehicle. TET-1 is a technology testbed with 11 experiments on board that will be operated in space for a year.
Following the flight of the SHEFEX II spacecraft on 22 June 2012, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have performed an initial assessment.
An important milestone for the commissioning of a European 'information superhighway' in space has been reached; on 25 June 2012, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, the Chairman of the DLR Executive Board, Evert Dudok, CEO of Astrium Satellites, and Gerhard Bethscheider, CEO of SES ASTRA TechCom S.A. (Luxemburg) signed contracts for large parts of the ground segment of the new European Data Relay System (EDRS).
After a 10-minute flight, the sharp-edged SHEFEX II spacecraft landed safely west of Spitsbergen. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) launched the seven-ton and roughly 13-metre-long rocket and its payload from the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway at 21:18 CEST on 22 June 2012. As it re-entered the atmosphere, SHEFEX withstood temperatures exceeding 2500 degrees Celsius and sent measurement data from more than 300 sensors to a ground station. “The SHEFEX II flight takes us one step further in the road to developing a space vehicle built like a space capsule but offering the control and flight options of the Space Shuttle much more cost-effectively,” says project manager Hendrik Weihs.
Five years ago today, at 04:14 CEST on 15 June 2007, the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite was launched from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This marked the beginning of a new era in satellite remote sensing for Germany.