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News Archive Space until 2007

From Frankfurt to Sydney in less than 90 Minutes

2 April 2007

Congress on the Future Technologies for Launchers from DLR and CNES in Barcelona opened

 moon return spacecraft
zum Bild moon return spacecraft

"Opening new ways to Space Prospective: Concepts – Technologies – Missions – Visions" is the motto of the 7th International Symposium on Launcher Technologies  which was opened in Barcelona today: "Here international experts will present already today what space missions will accomplish in twenty years”, says Dr. Hubert Reile at the conference. The programme director space of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) announces further: "We want to make the Ariane Launcher more affordable, and therefore we think intensively about a concept for re-usable boosters which will return autonomously like airplanes”. This will help us to clearly lower the costs for transportation into space for everybody. Also, space tourisme,  a trip into space for everybody could become real.  However it is still a big challenge", continues Reile. "If we bring together the best of aeronautics and space technology, business customers but also leisure travelers could save a lot of time: In less than 90 minutes from Frankfurt to Sydney: We already working on that. In twenty years around 50 passengers will speed away".

Around 200 experts from all over the world will gather from April 2nd to April 5th, 2007, in Barcelona. It is now for the second time that the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the French space agency CNES and the French research establishment ONERA
(Office National d'Études et de Recherches Aérospatiales) hold this Symposium together.
The Symposium is a market place where international scientists present and exchange their ideas: New ways into space, new perspectives, technologies and missions will be lively discussed.

In less than 90 Minutes from Frankfurt to Sydney – the DLR-Spaceliner

Die DLR study "Spaceliner" brings together the best from aeronautics and space: A flight from Europe to Australia with up to 50 passengers will be possible in less than 90 minutes. Even the calculated air fare rather corresponds to the price of an exclusive jet flight for the same distance, and therefore can not compete against tourist air fares, market analysts forcast a promising market of 700 Million Dollars per year for 15.000 highspeed travelers in 2021. The next step is to demonstrate the technologcial feasibility to be prepared for the hight speed connections in the future.

Cost efficient and re-usable – The European Ariane Launcher System with Fly Back Boosters

 Liquid Fly Back Booster
zum Bild Liquid Fly Back Booster

For long time Europe dreamed about a re-usable space shuttle. This dream could not be realized due to the high costs which can only  be overcome by frequent travels into space. The concept of a partly re-usable Ariane launcher which does not need to dispose everything has the potential for a closer look. The idea was born of an environmentally friendly booster engine operated with liquid propellant which returns autonomously to  he Earth like an aeroplane, and which is ready for use after refurbishment instead of the solid-rocket boosters of Ariane 5.

The advantage of this concept of flighback boosters (LFBB, Liquid Flyback Booster) is that only one type of liquid propulsion for Ariane 5 is needed. It is also environmentally friendly. The high development costs need to be compensated by a high launch rate. Today Ariane is on its way to increase its launch rate.
To surf and to sail in space –
To the stars without propellant

Space research is important, and not only for scientists. There is a demand for concepts which help improve the amount of instruments that can be carried by diminishing the quantity of propellant. One possibility for propellant-less propulsion is to use the "solar” pressure. In fact, surfing and sailing across the universe is not an utopia, and this concept will be presented by DLR during the conference.

DLR has, in the past, already ground-tested new materials for sails, and has proven the feasibility of this concept through simulations. ESA has now contracted the GEOSAIL study to technically demonstrate this method. The spacecraft will have to be brought to an orbit with 11 times 23 Earth radii and will have to be kept as long as possible in the magnetopause and magnetotail zones. Details on the methodology and the propulsion technology will be presented by DLR at the conference.

Launch to space with a railgun – environmentally friendly  technique to bring picosatellites into orbit

There are studies which forecast that not only satellite telecommunications will become smaller and smaller, but also the launch vehicles will shrink to the scale of centimetres. The so called picosatellites will overrun today’s heavy-lift launchers, as the need will be to bring hundreds of picosatellites in a timely manner into orbit.

A true alternative to the classical vertical launches, and at the same time a more environmentally friendly solution, could be the electromagnetic "railgun”, which uses energy in the megawatt range and virtually shoots the picosatellites along an upwards inclined 100 m long rail. Once they reach a certain altitude, the picosatellites can then continue their journey with their own, more classical, propulsion means.

Engines made with ceramic composite materials – the future Formula 1 propulsion

The classical processes and materials used in rocket propulsion are already stretched to the limits of their performance. There are no further improvements expected with regard to mass, lifetime, performance and production quality. A technology switch could be the solution: the introduction of composite materials in rocket engines. Together with industry, DLR is researching the properties and the manufacturing of engines with combustion chamber cooled by the so-called effusion technique. The first tests demonstrate that, for the same performance, this new technique provides higher lifetime and lower mass and production costs compared with classical techniques. Each gram of rocket and engine weight saved, means higher transport capacity and therefore higher income for the space transport operator.  This is a promising alternative which will also be presented at the conference.

It is already planned – roundtrip to the Moon

 MOON 2016 lander
zum Bild MOON 2016 lander

Early 2006. DLR already started the "Moon 2016” study, proposing a roundtrip to the moon, in anticipation of Germany’s way to our natural satellite. The results of this study show the requirements of the mission on the launch vehicle and what would be needed to bring moon material to the Earth for research. The study also shows that Europe could participate in different ways in Moon exploration and therefore in understanding the origins of the Earth.

The new DLR Institute for Space Systems in Bremen, presented in Barcelona

For the first time, this new institute will be presented to the large scientific community, and will present papers on propellant-less propulsion technologies. About 40 staff of the institute will work this year on launch vehicles, satellites and exploration systems, and will set up the first research laboratories.

Shefex II – the flying wind tunnel will be even faster in 2010

After the first successful Shefex flight campaign in 2005, DLR will carry out the second one in 2010, in a larger and faster way. Not only DLR but also other national and international "passenger” experiments will be carried out at the speed of Mach 12. The main purpose is to bring the sharp edged Shefex re-entry vehicle one step closer to reality. In particular, technologies to be tested this time will be those allowing for automatic control at Mach 12. In cooperation with Brasil, DLR will launch a multi-stage high altitude research rocket out of Andoya in Norway, fly it over 1200 km until the planned landing in Spitzbergen and subsequent recovery.

DLR in a snapshot – Research for Earth

DLR is the German research centre for aeronautics and space. Research and development in aeronautics, space, energy and transport are carried out in national and international cooperation frameworks. Beyond its own research, DLR also has the mission, entrusted by the Government, to act as space agency and as such is responsible for planning and execution of the German space programme.

DLR has a budget of about 450 million Euros, and a staff about 5.100 people working in 28 institutes and test facilities located in Köln-Porz, Berlin-Adlershof, Bremen, Bonn-Oberkassel, Braunschweig, Göttingen, Lampolds¬hausen, Oberpfaffenhofen and Stuttgart. External offices in Brussels, Paris and Washington DC.

Eduard Müller
German Aerospace Center

Public Relations

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2805

Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

Ludger Fröbel
German Aerospace Center

Program Directorate Space

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2786

Fax: +49 2203 601-2820

Dr. Hubert Reile
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Program Director Space

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2720

Fax: +49 2203 601-2820

Created: 02/04/2007 10:20:00