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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Ten days, seven hours and 47 minutes – this was the duration of Ulf Merbold's first experience in space, which began on 28 November 1983, when the Space Shuttle Columbia delivered him to Earth orbit.
On Friday 22 November at 13:02 CET (12:02 GMT) the three European SWARM satellites were lifted into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia by a Rockot launch vehicle. The mission will take high accuracy measurements of Earth's magnetic field, expanding our knowledge of the processes at work in Earth's interior as well as in near-Earth space.