Location History

Berlin-Adlershof - History

A few years after the first successful flights of the meanwhile legendary “Aviatics” at the airfield of Johannisthal in the South East of Berlin, it had become necessary to support the still young art of aviation with scientific research work. Even though, Ludwig Prandtl had founded the Society for the Study of Motor Vessels, one of the predecessor organisations of the DLR, in 1907, this did not provide the necessary scientific support for “aviation”. That is why Count Zeppelin demanded the foundation of a large-scale research Institute of the promotion of aviation at a Board Meeting of the German Museum on 28 September 1909 in Munich for the first time.

 DVL-Gelände Anfang 1932, Wandgemälde
zum Bild DVL-Gelände Anfang 1932, Wandgemälde

As of 1933, the main DVL building was constructed on the southern part of the airfield. It housed management, administration and technical offices, as well as further laboratories and testing facilities.

In the second half of the 1930s, the DVL was further developed to comprise:

  • Aircraft construction
  • Engine construction
  • Applied flying
  • Administration

At the same time, the number of employees rose. In 1940, there were already 2,000 members of staff. Further large testing facilities were added up to the start of the Second World War. These included the high-speed wind tunnel, the vertical wind tunnel for spinning tests as well as the low-speed wind tunnel. From 1944 to March 1945, parts of the Adlershof DVL plant and the pertaining staff were transferred to apparently less dangerous areas of Germany. Thus, parts of the DVL institutes were moved to Braunschweig, Munich, Garmisch, Strass, Saulgau or Travemünde respectively. The last wind tunnel tests with a swept –wing ARADO aircraft was conducted on 24 March 1945.

zum Bild DVL-Einrichtungen

In Spring 1950, the first Academy Institute moved to Adlershof, the Heinrich Hertz Institute of Oscillation Research (HHI). Further institutes and scientific institutions followed suit, re-locating there or setting up new. (Bild: GBSL):

  • Institute of Inorganic Chemistry with the Department of Mineral Salt Research
  • Laboratory for Plastics
  • Institute of Optics and Precision Engineering (as of 1957 Institute of Optics and Spectroscopy)
  • Institute of Crystal Physics
  • Institute of Organic Chemistry
  • Crystal Structure Working Group
 Werkstattgebäude und Werfthalle
zum Bild Werkstattgebäude und Werfthalle

The cooperation between the Academy of Sciences of the GDR and the Soviet Union was of special importance within the framework of the Inter Cosmos Programme, signed in 1967, an agreement at the governmental level. Comprising the structural units of the Heinrich Hertz Institute, an independent research body for cosmic electronics was first formed in 1972, and one year later, the Institute of Electronics was formed. This new institute took over the lead in cosmos research. GDR researchers participated in the successful launches of the artificial earth satellites Inter Cosmos 1 to 4, two large-scale rockets with vertical orbits and four meteorological rockets from 1969 to 1975.
It was in this context that that the scientific apparatus industry in the GDR developed on board instruments that did not only live up to the specific demands of the space programme but also met the general criteria of progressive apparatus construction. These on-board instruments comprised the infrared Fourier Spectrometer (IFS), for the remote exploration of the atmosphere, and the MKF-6 multi-spectral camera for the remote exploration of the earth.

 DLR-Standort Berlin-Adlershof
zum Bild DLR-Standort Berlin-Adlershof

The roots of the Institute of Cosmos Research (IKF), established in 1981, reach back to the 1960s, starting with the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute, whose foundation was closely linked with the participation in the Inter Cosmos Programme, then the research body for Cosmic Electronics and the Institute of Electronics. The scientific profile of the IKF was determined by basic and applied research as well as technical developments for the benefit of space flight. The research focus was on the areas of remote exploration of the earth and extra terrestrial studies as well as material research under the conditions of outer space.

In addition to the existing scientific facilities, the technical conditions were created at the IKF for the simulation of outer space conditions. Thus, the tools and equipment intended for use in outer space could not only be developed and manufactured at Adlershof but also be tested and qualified for use in outer space there.

Missions and projects at the IKF

  • Venera
  • Phobos
  • MKS-M (SALYUT and MIR station)
  • Altitude research/atmosphere research
  • planned MARS94


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