President Joachim Gauck visited the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the occasion of his first official visit to Bavaria on 19 February 2013. Accompanied by Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer and the Bavarian State Minister Martin Zeil he also came to EOC, where Prof. Stefan Dech described the activities of ZKI.
After visiting the Bavarian State Chancellery and the Bavarian State Parliament (Maximilianeum), President Gauck came to DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen in the afternoon. He was welcomed by Professor Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board: “It is a special honor for us, not only for DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen but for the entire DLR, that the President’s first official visit to Bavaria also includes the German Aerospace Center”.
In order to gain an impression of DLR‘s diverse research fields, President Gauck, Premier Seehofer and their entourage toured the Galileo Control Center, the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information, and the HALO research aircraft. These facilities are “typical of DLR research, which has the purpose of addressing challenges facing society, responding to global change, and developing approaches for dealing with a variety of current concerns”, explained Professor Wörner.
Galileo – navigation for Europe
The first stop was the Galileo Control Center. Europe’s navigation satellites are controlled from this location. President Gauck was granted exclusive access to the control room. In the beating heart of this facility he could directly acquaint himself with the work which guarantees the safe and reliable operation of the Galileo satellites.
Earth observation – humanitarian aid and protection
The next item on the program related to earth observation research at DLR and possible uses. President Gauck could obtain a clear idea of one application at the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI), a DLR service facility. Its tasks include providing up-to-date satellite maps for natural and environmental disasters, humanitarian aid activities, and civil security needs worldwide.
HALO – the future of climate research
In conclusion, the delegation was escorted to the aircraft hangar. There President Gauck could step into the future of German atmosphere research and earth observation: the new research airplane HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft). DLR scientists described the exceptional potentials of aircraft-based research, which is making a significant contribution to understanding the complexity of Planet Earth. New insights, particularly for environmental and climate protection, can be gleaned from the unique data provided by HALO’s measurement flights.