A colourful crowd on the streets
The doors to the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) were not intended to open to the public until 10:00. The attractions on display at the DLR site – in the aerospace and energy research laboratories and facilities and at the ESA astronaut-training centre (European Astronaut Centre; EAC) – all ensured that a large number of visitors sought to be admitted as early in the day as possible. This meant that the entrance gates to DLR were opened at 09:30, half an hour earlier than planned. By that evening, about 100,000 guests had attended German Aerospace Day 2009: a record number of visitors. Needless to say, the Airbus A380 was the star of the show throughout the morning. By Saturday evening, the largest passenger aircraft in the world had attracted hundreds of people with an interest in aerospace to Cologne-Bonn Airport.
During the opening ceremony, Peter Hintze – the German government's aerospace coordinator – chose this point to emphasise: "Every two years, the impressive reciprocal interaction between the work of scientists and engineers involved here in aerospace as well as the energy and transport research arms of DLR is exhibited to impressive effect, and this same event also demonstrates the interest the general public shares in these topics." Hintze went on to say: "This public interest is proof positive of the social relevance of basic and applied research in these scientific fields."
Airbus A380 on the airfield
During the day, queues of visitors lined up outside these facilities. Scientists and engineers were on hand to talk to interested members of the public and to answer their questions. For many guests, the information available was supplemented by new insights into the tasks and purpose of the work of DLR and its partners. This was equally true of the field of DLR technology transfer. Alongside basic research, the principal tasks of one of Germany's largest research facilities include the application-oriented use of research results, for example in automotive manufacture or in the use of alternative energies.
The high points of the German Aerospace Day 2009 also included the ceremonial ground breaking for the new ':envihab' research centre at the DLR site. This facility is intended to lay the groundwork for life sciences research at the highest international level.