• ADL

    Advanced Disk Laser. High performance, diode-pumped solid-state laser system with high output for studying various combustion processes at zero gravity with the aid of laser light.

  • Aeroelastics

    Branch of research that studies the interaction between elastic bodies and the flow around them (examples are a blade of grass moving in the wind and aircraft wing flutter).

  • AFO 2000

    Atmospheric research 2000. Project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) from 2000 to 2006. Research goals were: Improve understanding of the atmosphere as a system, develop and provide tools for environmental policies and promote young academics in the area of atmospheric research.

  • AIM

    Application Platform Intelligent Mobility (Anwendungsplattform Intelligente Mobilität; AIM): DLR large-scale research facility for research and development in the field of intelligent mobility services, for example through sensor systems that record the traffic situation at an intersection in Braunschweig.

  • Airbus A300 Zero-G

    Aircraft used for parabolic flights to conduct research in ‘zero gravity’.

  • ALAADy

    Automated Low Altitude Air Delivery: DLR project for automated and unmanned air transport.

  • Algorithm

    An algorithm is a procedure to solve a certain problem step by step. This can be done mechanically by a computer and where it represents the basis of programming in computer science. For example, algorithms can be used to calculate traffic data from a sequence of aerial photographs.

  • AMS

    Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Detector for cosmic particle radiation from space. The plan is to place it on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2009 and operate it there for three years. Its complex construction, the core piece of which is a superconducting magnet, allows a wide range of charged particles to be identified and their energy spectrum measured over a wide energy range.

  • Angle of attack

    Angle at which the airstream meets a wing profile.

  • APU

    Auxiliary Power Unit. Power supply module that is intended to cover the continually increasing power requirement in a vehicle as well as provide electrical power for the vehicle when the engine is switched off, for example for stationary air-conditioning. A fuel cell APU can be operated using normal fuels, which are pre-reformed.

  • Ariane

    European family of launcher vehicles for space transport.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

    Refers to various methods from computer science that are suitable for automating sub-processes of human thought. Just as there is no one AI, there is also no one field of application for it. At DLR, scientists from many disciplines are looking at artificial intelligence and its use in a wide variety of areas: In Earth observation, enormous amounts of data are evaluated and processed, in robotics it helps to solve increasingly complex tasks, and in Industry 4.0 it increases the efficiency of production.


    Autonomous Rotorcraft Testbed for Intelligent Systems (ARTIS) is a complete system for the development and evaluation of technologies and components for autonomous flight. It comprises a number of unmanned helicopters of different size classes and is used to conduct research into control technologies, human-machine interfaces, intelligent behaviour and sensor fusion.

  • AsteroidFinder

    A compact satellite mission planned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The goal is to detect asteroids whose orbits are completely inside the Earth’s orbit, known as ‘Inner Earth Objects’ (IEOs).

  • Astrolab

    Long-term mission on the International Space Station (ISS) with Thomas Reiter from 4 July to 22 December 2006.

  • ATV

    Automated Transfer Vehicle. European space vehicle that can transport freight to the International Space Station (ISS) unmanned. The first successful launch was on 9 March 2008.

  • AVES

    Air Vehicle Simulator (AVES): DLR aircraft and helicopter simulator at the Institute of Flight Systems in Braunschweig.

  • Ballistocardiography

    Ballistocardiography registers body movements or vibrations caused by contraction of the heart and movement of the bloodstream. These movements are in the opposite direction to the blood flow. Ballistocardiography can be used to measure pulse rate and blood pressure, for example.

  • BDLI

    German Aerospace Industries Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie).

  • BEST 2

    Berlin Exoplanet Search Telescope. The telescope is used to photometrically measure the intensities of starlight and thus search for extrasolar planets.


    Balloon experiments for university students. The German-Swedish BEXUS programme offers students the opportunity to carry out scientific and technical experiments on balloons under special atmospheric conditions.

  • BIRD

    Bispectral InfraRed Detection. The BIRD satellite is being used to test a new generation of infrared sensors in space and gather completely new data about the remote sensing of fire and land. In addition, it is used as a demonstrator for new small satellite technologies. BIRD was successfully launched on 22 October 2001 from India.

  • Bit

    Binary digit. The unit of calculation of a classical computer which can have either the value 0 or 1. A byte consists of eight bits.

  • Blue Dot

    First space mission of ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in 2014 to work on board the ISS. 'Blue Dot' can be traced back to the world-famous US astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996), who referred to Earth as a 'Pale Blue Dot'.

  • Boundary layer

    Area of fluid (air) flow near a body's surface (several millimetres to centimetres), in which the influence of viscosity is important.

  • Fuel cell

    Galvanic cell in which chemical energy is converted into electrical energy by electrochemical oxidation of a fuel (e.g. hydrogen).

  • CAPANINA project

    Optical free-space communication. Communication for stratospheric platforms. Airships transfer enormous quantities of data by laser beam.

  • CARA

    Computer for Advanced Research in Aerospace. DLR-internal high-performance computer with approximately 150,000 computer units for carrying out simulations in aerospace.


    Manufacture of an apron vehicle for airports that was developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Specialist in fuel cell systems.

  • Cardiolab

    Modular multi-diagnosis device for cardiovascular circulation research aboard the European space laboratory Columbus, which is part of the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Cassini-Huygens

    Interplanetary mission for the study of the planet Saturn. In particular, Saturn’s magnetosphere, atmosphere and its ring system are being studied. Additional goals are exploration of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, which is the only moon in the solar system to have a dense atmosphere, and the icy moons.

  • Catalysis

    Catalysis increases the reaction rate of a chemical reaction.

  • CESA-1

    Central Electro-Solar de Almería – solar tower at Plataforma Solar de Almería. North of the solar tower is the field of mirrors that steer and focus the solar radiation onto three solar radiation receivers.

  • CFRP

    Carbon fibre reinforced plastic


    Challenging Mini-satellite Payload. A research satellite that was designed at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GeoForschungsZentrum [GFZ] Potsdam) which, from its low orbit of the Earth, makes contributions to the exploration of the Earth's magnetic and gravitational fields as well as to atmospheric physics. CHAMP was launched on 15 July 2000.

  • Climate-controlled all-wheel drive roller test stand

    The DLR operates an all-wheel-drive roller test stand with exhaust analysis and climate control for passenger vehicles and vans. The test stand simulates driving conditions for single axle and all-wheel-drive concepts in a variable temperature range from minus 25 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius. The explosion-protected version can be used to test hydrogen and natural gas powered vehicles. The exhaust analysis allows measurements to be made with an accuracy that is suitable for checking compliance with the Euro 5 emissions standard.

  • Cluster ll

    Group of four satellites for exploring Earth's magnetosphere. Previous magnetosphere missions did not make it possible to differentiate between temporal changes and spatial variations. To enable this separation, or at least an initial approximation thereof, at least four measuring points are needed which do not lie in the same plane, i.e. a group of four satellites with identical instrumentation. Cluster II makes this a possibility for the first time. The goal of the mission is to study in detail the processes taking place at the boundary layers.

  • CNES

    Centre national d'études spatiales. The French Space Agency

  • Coherence time

    The interaction of a quantum physical system with its environment results in the phenomenon of decoherence – the emergence of classical properties and the loss of quantum physical properties such as superposition and entanglement. Given that algorithms for quantum computing exploit these properties, calculations must be performed before decoherence occurs. This period of time is known as coherence time, sometimes referred to as decoherence time.

  • Columbus

    The European space laboratory Columbus was launched on 7 February 2008 and is docked with the International Space Station (ISS). With a planned lifespan of at least ten years, it will allow long-term research to take place under space conditions. The Columbus control centre is located at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen.

  • Combustion and gas turbine technology

    Research area in the field of energy research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) that deals with increasing the efficiency and reducing the emissions of combustion and gas turbines. Concrete goals concern reliability, pollutant emissions, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The subject of the investigations are both basic research-oriented and application-related issues of modern combustion and gas turbine technology.


    Development and demonstration project for multimedia satellite networks.

  • Copernicus

    An operational Earth observation programme of the European Union since 2014. At the heart of the programme are six satellite families, called Sentinels.

  • CoRoT

    Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits. CoRoT is the first satellite that systematically searches for planets outside our solar system from its position orbiting the Earth.

  • Cosmic Kiss

    The six-month mission of the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer on the International Space Station, launched on 11 November 2021. During this mission, the materials scientist, who holds a doctorate, is responsible for 36 German and more than 100 international experiments in the fields of basic research and application-oriented science.

  • CS-23

    CS-23 (Certification Specifications 23): European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Certification Specifications for aeroplanes in the normal category (CS-23).

  • CTM

    Chemistry and Transport Models.

  • DAWN

    Spacecraft for exploring the asteroids Ceres and Vesta. The mission was launched on 27 September 2007.


    Development of a procedure for updating land coverage data for public tasks.

  • DENA

    German Energy Agency.

  • DEOS

    German Orbital Servicing Mission (Deutsche Orbitale Servicing Mission). Development and testing of technology for use in robotics and automation, both in Earth orbit and in complex exploration projects. The main goal of the mission, currently being discussed within the framework of the German national spaceflight programme, is to demonstrate measures for the preservation or the controlled disposal of satellites close to Earth with the aid of robot satellites.

  • Detect & Avoid

    ‘See and avoid’ is the principle on which collision prevention is based while flying in good weather conditions. Since no ‘direct sight’ by the pilot is possible for unmanned air transport systems, technical solutions must be found for ‘detect and avoid’.


    German Aerospace Research and Testing Establishment (Deutsche Forschungs- und Versuchsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DFVLR); established in July 1968 and based in Porz-Wahn near Cologne. It was formed from a merger of the Aerodynamic Experimental Station (Aerodynamische Versuchsanstalt; AVA), the German Experimental Station for Aviation (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt; DVL), the German Aviation Research Facility (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luftfahrt; DFL) and, in 1972, the Society for Space Exploration Research (Gesellschaft für Weltraumforschung; GfW).


    Energy Storage for Direct Steam Solar Power Plants. EU project resulting in an energy store for solar-generated steam. Under the auspices of DLR’s Institute for Technical Thermodynamics (Institut für Technische Thermodynamik), a total of 13 partners from industry and research from five countries worked on the development of innovative storage systems for solar-powered steam generators.

  • DLR

    German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt). DLR is the research centre for aviation and spaceflight of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in the areas of aviation, spaceflight, energy and traffic is incorporated in national and international collaborations. In addition to carrying out its own research, DLR, as the national space agency, is also responsible for planning and implementing Germany's space activities on behalf of the Federal Government.

  • DLR Engineering Systems House

    The DLR Engineering Systems House (DLR Systemhaus Technik) is a facility for engineering and integrated manufacturing in scientific tool building, for supporting the research activities and of all of the institutes and facilities of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

  • DLR Traffic Studies

    The general task of the DLR Traffic Studies (Verkehrsstudien) facility is to describe future traffic systems. Development trends for vehicles and traffic networks and how they work together in practice is studied and recorded, sustainable future concepts are described and the challenges faced by a networked world are addressed.

  • DMS-R

    Data Management System (DMS-R). European data management system for the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Drop Tower Bremen

    The drop tower in Bremen, at the Centre of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (Zentrum für angewandte Raumfahrttechnologie und Mikrogravitation; ZARM), is a research facility that is unique in Europe and in which scientific and technological experiments under zero gravity conditions have been able to be carried out daily since 1990. The relevant experimentation devices are integrated within a capsule which, while freely falling for a period of 4.74 seconds from a height of 120 metres within the tower, is exposed to a level of gravitational acceleration that is more than one hundred thousand time lower than Earth's normal gravity.

  • Düsol

    DLR project of the Institute of Solar Research, which aims to produce ammonia-based fertiliser using nitrogen and hydrogen produced with solar energy.

  • Dynamic driving simulator

    DLR's dynamic driving simulator is being deployed to test driver assistance functions in an advanced stage of product development. The realistic design of the simulation enables a valid evaluation of the functions even in critical situations and thus a safe transition into the test vehicle and into real-life traffic. The driving simulator conveys a realistic experience by means of three components: a high-performance movement system, a high-quality projection system with corresponding visualisation and the integration of a complete vehicle.

  • Dynamic pressure

    Dynamic pressure at the stagnation point.

  • :envihab

    Environmental habitat. The DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine (Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin) in Cologne intends to realise, within the framework of the North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) Regional Initiative 2010, the construction of a scientific research facility that is in part able to be accessed by the public, called ':envihab'. The long-term plan is for the research facility to address the complex issues of a closed life support system and the interaction between humans and the environment.

  • EAC

    The European Space Agency's (ESA) European Astronaut Centre (EAC) is located in Cologne-Porz, on the premises of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

  • EADS

    European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.

  • Earth Explorer

    Part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth exploration programme ‘Living Planet’, which conducts background research, in particular from space.

  • Earth Watch

    Initiative of the UN for the coordination, harmonisation and initiation of activities for environmental observation by UN agencies. The main components are remote sensing processes. It is also a part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Earth observation framework programme.


    DLR greenhouse near the Neumayer III Antarctic station (since 2018).


    European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. The navigation service EGNOS is based on the combination of satellites and ground systems that work using GPS but which provides more precise data for determining positions in Europe. EGNOS expands the existing military navigation system, GPS, for civilian, safety-relevant applications - in particular in the area of aviation but also for rail traffic and shipping. The accuracy of with which positions can be determined has been improved from around 20 metres to around two metres by combining GPS with EGNOS. At the same time the availability of navigation signals is increased throughout Europe. Furthermore, an integrity signal is transmitted which warns users in the event of erroneous navigation signals.

  • Elbit Systems

    Elbit Systems is an Israeli aerospace and electronics company based in Haifa.

  • ELSA (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects)

    ELSA (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of the Modern Life Sciences) describes the cooperation between stakeholders in the humanities, social sciences and life sciences, whereby questions concerning individual fundamental rights and social (ethical, legal, cultural, institutional, individual) fundamental values are to be inherently anchored.

  • Energy Harvesting

    Energy harvesting is the process of obtaining small amounts of electrical energy from sources such as ambient temperature, light, vibrations or air currents.

  • Engine concepts

    … are being developed at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology (Institut für Antriebstechnik) in order to tap the existing potential for improving gas turbines used in aviation and power stations. Economic efficiency, development risk, safety and environmental aspects such as reducing dangerous exhaust gas emissions and noise are being dealt with as a priority.

  • EnMAP

    Environmental Mapping and Analysis Programme. Hyperspectral satellites for Earth observation. Hyperspectral instruments will record solar radiation reflected from the Earth, from visible light to near infrared. This will provide accurate information about the condition of Earth's surface and how it is changing. The launch is planned for 2015.

  • Entanglement

    In quantum physics, entanglement occurs when individual states of an overall system depend on one another. In a quantum computer, this means that one qubit has information about the state of another qubit, so manipulating one qubit affects the state of the other.

  • Envisat

    Envisat (Environmental satellite), the largest European environmental satellite to date, has been orbiting the Earth since 2002. It provides data about the state of the atmosphere, land surface, oceans and ice caps and is thus an important tool for making decisions regarding environmental policies.

  • EOMD

    Earth Observation Marked Development. Part of the Earth Observation Programme run by the European Space Agency (ESA). Its focus is the developing the market for Earth observation data

  • ERA

    European robotic arm of the International Space Station (ISS)

  • ERS

    European Remote Sensing Satellite. European remote sensing satellite, forerunner to the Envisat system. Launch: 1991 (ERS-1) and 1995 (ERS-2).

  • ESA

    European Space Agency.

  • ESNC

    European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) - DLR prize, awarded annually to honour the best solutions, services, products and business ideas that make use of satellite navigation in everyday life.

  • ESOC

    European Space Operations Centre. Situated in Darmstadt, ESOC is the main spacecraft control centre of the European Space Agency (ESA).

  • ETD

    Eye Tracking Device. An experimentation device for testing the adjustment reactions of the balance system as well as spatial orientation phenomena in the areas of human physiological research and medical diagnostics.


    European Conference on Materials and Structures in Aerospace. First conference on materials and structures in aerospace. The initiator and director of the conference, which was hosted by the Association of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure; VDI), is the German Aerospace Center (DLR).


    European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Meteosat). Organisation responsible for the analysis and dissemination of weather and climate data obtained using the Meteosat satellites.


    ENVISAT Value Adding for Continuous Monitoring of Atmospheric Trace Gases and Aerosols. EVIVA delivers operational, continuous and coherent global data sets and analyses that are used by the scientific and application community in order to better understand climatic processes and to improve climate models.

  • Extrasolar planets

    Planets in orbit around stars outside the Solar System.

  • Space Science

    DLR programme for the funding and management of scientific experiments and projects in space involving space exploration.

  • 5G

    (Fifth generation) mobile radio systems from DLR research enable secure and wireless data transmission and are intended to provide more flexibility and efficiency in rail transport through the automatic coupling of trains and the virtual coupling of individual train carriages.

  • FASCar

    Test vehicle for developing driver assistance systems. Active intervention can make driving on roads safer - but can become dangerous when wrongly implemented. Assistance systems must be designed according to the requirements and wants of the driver. To find out whether the driver reacts correctly to the intervention of a new assistance system, a ride in the FASCar is the final consistent step in development.

  • FCD

    Floating Car Data. Term from traffic technology: Position data from vehicles are collected with the aid of a vehicle fleet and are managed via an availability system, for example taxi fleets (Taxi FCD).

  • FireBird

    The DLR mission launched the small satellites TET-1 and BIROS into space in 2017 to detect high-temperature events on Earth using an infrared sensor system.

  • Flow

    Medium that is flowing in the vicinity of and further away from a body.

  • FLPP

    Future Launchers Preparatory Programme. European Space Agency (ESA) programme carrying out preparatory studies for a future European launch system.


    Unmanned Russian research capsule for research under space conditions. Foton is the transliteration (the conversion from Cyrillic into Latin letters) of the Russian word ‘Фотон’ (Photon).

  • Fuel Cell Demonstrator

    The Airbus A320 D-ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) is a high-tech research aircraft from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It is equipped with a fuel cell system from Michelin. The first test flights were carried out in July 2007. The fuel cell carries out the task of supplying the onboard electronics with power.

  • Boundary layer ingestion

    A propeller or fan must accelerate the airflow to generate thrust. The higher the intake and exhaust velocities, the higher the power required to do this. In the immediate vicinity of the fuselage, in the 'boundary layer', the airflow is significantly slower than the ambient speed. If a fan is placed directly at the rear of the fuselage, it can ingest this decelerated inflow and hence require less power to generate the same thrust. This increases the efficiency of the propulsion system compared to a conventional engine arrangement.

  • Galileo

    Galileo is the European satellite navigation system that will provide data worldwide for accurate positioning. At present there are two systems: The Global Positioning System (GPS) that is operated by the US military, and the Russian GLONASS (GLObal NAvigation Satellite System). Galileo is intended to guarantee independence for Europe in the future. As Galileo's open service is harmonised with the next generation of the GPS system, the navigation signals that are provided in the future to the mass market will be of unprecedented availability and reliability.

  • GalTeC

    Galileo Technology Centre. GalTeC is a reference service that is independent of Galileo system development, which has services for the autonomous characterisation, testing and design of services for the worldwide satellite navigation systems (GNSS services).

  • GATE

    Galileo test and development environment. Against the background of the setting up of the European satellite navigation system Galileo, the development of applications based on it is becoming increasingly important. Within the framework of the GATE project commissioned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) an earthbound, realistic test environment has been built in Berchtesgaden. This will be used in particular to support receiver and application developers in the preparation of their products for Galileo.

  • Gates

    The basic operations that can be performed by quantum computers, namely the building blocks of quantum circuits. These are always somewhat prone to error. Gate performance describes how effective the operations are compared to those that are perfect in theory.

  • GEO

    Group on Earth Observations. Since its inaugural plenary meeting in early May 2005, the intergovernmental forum Group on Earth Observations has brought together governments and relevant international organisations to coordinate their Earth observation activities on a voluntary basis and is driving the establishment of GEOSS.


    Global Earth Observation System of Systems. The goal of this initiative is the creation of a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable Earth observation system of systems. GEOSS caters to the information requirements of the international environmental conventions of the United Nations and supports developing countries.


    Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope. The satellite initially called GLAST (launch: 11 June 2008) has been renamed ‘Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope’ after its successful launch. As its main instrument the GLAST satellite is carrying an imaging gamma-ray telescope, the LAT (Large Area Telescope), which will be used to measure cosmic gamma radiation. Its performance far exceeds that achieved by similar instruments on earlier missions.

  • GMES

    Global Monitoring for Environment and Security. Joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) for global environmental and safety monitoring. The goal is to collaborate through a division of labour in Europe to create an independent, permanently available, cost-efficient and user-friendly observational capacity for political decision makers. With its national Earth observation programme, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has built up a strong level of competence and brought a range of missions into being such as TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, RapidEye and EnMAP, which will be permanently required in GMES and used in the future.

  • GNSS

    Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

  • GOME-2

    Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment. The GOME-2 spectrometer that is located on the weather satellite MetOp is a new and improved generation of the scanning spectrometer that has already been used on the ERS-2 satellite. It was devised for monitoring the concentration of ozone and trace gas in Earth's atmosphere.


    Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars. Atmospheric sensor on board Envisat, the European Environmental Satellite that was launched in March 2002, which checks the composition of the stratosphere and mesosphere, in particular, ozone concentration.


    Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. With the aid of the American-German small satellite mission GRACE (launched in 2002) a new model of Earth's gravitational field is being created with a previously unattained level of accuracy. For five years GRACE will be engaged with measuring Earth's gravitational field and determining atmospheric and ionospheric parameters. These measurements will, in particular, be used for research into climatic influences due to ocean currents and the change in the mass of the polar ice caps. In addition, GRACE will study the large-scale changes in the global hydrological cycle.

  • HALO

    High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft. Research aircraft for Earth observation and atmospheric research. Its operation is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the MPG, Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig (TROPOS). DLR is both the owner and operator of HALO.

  • Hayabusa2

    Japanese spacecraft launched in 2014, which carried the DLR MASCOT lander to asteroid Ryugu (2018).

  • Heliostats

    Mirrors that concentrate solar radiation – subject of research at the DLR Institute of Solar Research, to optimise the production of heliostats and reduce the cost.

  • Herschel

    Herschel is the first space observatory to cover the entire wavelength range of the far-infrared (FIR) including the sub-millimetre range (60 to 670 micrometres). The Herschel mission was launched on 14 May 2009.


    ‘Highly-Integrated Galileo/GPS Receiver Chipset’ – seamlessly integrated Galileo/GPS receiver chip set. Under the auspices of IFEN GmbH in Poing, a Bavarian consortium comprising Infineon Technologies AG in Munich, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) in Erlangen, the Institute of Geodesy and Navigation (Institut für Erdmessung und Navigation) at the German Armed Forces University in Munich (Universität der Bundeswehr München) and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg’s Department of Electronics (Lehrstuhl für Technische Elektronik) have joined forces to develop the world’s first combined Galileo/GPS receiver chip set for the consumer market.

  • High-frequency technology

    High-frequency technology is a branch of electrical engineering and thus of engineering. It deals with electromagnetic waves, in particular with the methods, devices and systems to produce them, the theory and practice of wave propagation and the reception of the waves. Important sub-areas are antenna technology and high-frequency measurement technology.

  • HMI Lab

    Human Machine Interface Laboratory. The HMI Lab is used to evaluate new driver assistance systems and functions quickly and flexibly with respect to usability and acceptance. A seat with a steering wheel and pedals is used to control the virtual vehicle, and a centre console with a touchscreen can be added to the simulation if required; however the rest of the interior of the vehicle is only simulated.

  • Horizons mission

    'Knowledge for Tomorrow' is the motto of the second mission of German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who spent six months (May to December 2018) on board the International Space Station (ISS).

  • HRSC

    High Resolution Stereo Camera. High-resolution stereo camera on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft. The stereo pictures taken by the HRSC allow the creation of digital models of the terrain and the generation of virtual flyovers across the surface of Mars.

  • Hybrid power plant

    A power plant that uses multiple energy sources to generate electricity. The aim is usually demand-adapted provision of electricity, fuel or heat. In the hybrid power plants developed by DLR, solar energy is combined with a fossil-fuel energy source to generate electricity. Another project is the combination of a high-temperature fuel cell (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell; SOFC) and a gas turbine, which promises high efficiency and low emissions.

  • Hydrosol_Plant

    DLR solar chemical plant for the production of hydrogen in Almeria, southern Spain (since 2017).

  • HyFish

    A small, fuel cell-powered aircraft. Developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) together with partners in industry

  • HyLite

    Fuel cell hybrid vehicle that was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) together with several automotive suppliers.

  • Hypersonic

    … is an airflow with real gas effects.

  • IAC

    International Astronautical Congress.

  • IAF

    International Astronautical Federation.

  • ICAO

    International Civil Aviation Organization.

  • IFAR

    International Forum for Aviation Research: International aviation research organisation founded in 2010 with 26 member organisations. DLR is a founding member and provides the IFAR Secretariat.

  • Impact pressure

    Dynamic or velocity pressure of a flow.

  • In-situ measurements

    During flight tests, in-situ measurements analyse the composition of the air that is fed to the measuring instruments via inlets on the aircraft.

  • Incident flow

    Relative movement between air and aircraft. The magnitude and direction is specified by the flow speed; in static air it is the same as the flight speed. In a wind tunnel, this is the undisturbed flow condition that the model encounters.

  • Indoor

    The goal of the Indoor project is the development of technologies for the improved positioning and navigation within buildings and also in open-air areas where the reception and the positioning accuracy is significantly compromised by shadowing and multipath effects. This is planned to take place in particular with the aid of Galileo as well as with GPS.

  • InSight

    On 5 May 2018, NASA's InSight lander launched with a mission to explore Mars' internal structure and heat balance by acquiring geophysical data on the surface. DLR contributed the HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) instrument.

  • Integral

    International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory. Space observatory (launched on 17 October 2002) for astronomical observations in the gamma-ray energy range from 15 keV (kilo electron volts) to 10 MeV (mega electron volts).

  • Ion Trap

    System of electromagnetic fields that spatially fixes charged atoms (ions). Ion traps are used for the implementation of quantum computers in which an ionised atom represents a quantum bit that is controlled and manipulated in the ion trap.

  • IPS Integrated Positioning System

    IPS was developed by the DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems. It is an optical navigation and inspection system for use in environments that do not allow positioning via a Global Positioning System (GPS) (e.g., tunnels, mines, forests, etc.) The optical navigation and measurement system is able to accurately determine its own position without additional 'prior knowledge' about the environment and without external reference points.

  • Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)

    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is an Israeli aircraft and rocket manufacturing company.

  • ISS

    International Space Station. The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest technological project of all time: an ‘outpost’ of humanity in space and at the same time a flying laboratory providing excellent opportunities for science and industrial research.

  • ISU

    International Space University, founded in 1987 in Massachusetts/USA, has its headquarters in Strasbourg/France. In 2018, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, was appointed as the first female ISU Chancellor.

  • IWES

    Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems.

  • JAXA

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.


    The goal of this project is to verify technological proposals that have been developed in the KERAMIS (Keramische Mikrowellenschaltkreise für die Satellitenkommunikation – Ceramic Microwave Circuits for Satellite Communication) project for innovative and low-priced components in the area of multimedia satellite applications by actual deployment in a satellite. The TET210, with its launch planned for 2010, will perhaps be used as its satellite platform.

  • Kibo

    The Japanese contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) is the largest research facility on the ISS. ‘Kibo’ (Japanese for ‘hope’), an approximately 10-metre long laboratory, is equipped with an air lock for outboard usage and a robotic arm for carrying out external experiments.

  • Lagrange point

    At Lagrange points – named after the Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736-1813) – the combined gravitational forces of two large masses (such as the Earth and the Sun) corresponds exactly to the centrifugal force required for a small object (such as a space probecraft) with these two large masses to move in a fixed geometric constellation with the two large masses.

  • LAMA

    Landing and Mobility Test Facility, DLR Bremen. The test facility enables unique worldwide investigations of the landing dynamics of planetary landers.

  • Laminar

    … is a flow, in particular a boundary layer flow, which does not cause the flowing medium to intermix (opposite: turbulent).


    Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for General Civil Aviation (Luft-Arbeits-Plattform für die Allgemeine Zivilluftfahrt). Automatic flight control system for UAVs.

  • Laser light-section

    Optical procedure to make the structures of a flow visible in a sectional plane.

  • Latent heat storage unit

    A storage system that absorbs collected solar energy, transferred using steam at 200 to 300 degrees Celsius, and stores it as thermal energy with low losses and, ideally, for long periods and through many repeated cycles. Latent heat storage makes use of the ‘hidden’ energy absorbed or released when a material undergoes a phase change. This can be latent heat of fusion (melting) or latent heat of vaporisation. Latent heat storage is also referred to as phase-change storage.

  • LBNP

    Lower Body Negative Pressure Device – a tool designed to apply a lower than ambient pressure to a subject’s body from the hips down – used as a research tool to study deconditioning of the human cardiovascular system in space.

  • LCT

    Laser Communications Terminal. Future satellite systems for global multimedia services from space.

  • Lidar

    Lidar or LiDAR is an abbreviation of: Light detection and ranging. Lidar/LiDAR is used, for example, for the optical remote measurement of atmospheric parameters.

  • Lift

    Portion of the aerodynamic force that is perpendicular to the direction of movement.


    A multi-mechanical axis procedure for designing and recalculating non-planar wing configurations.

  • LINA

    Research project for satellite-based and ground supported approach systems.

  • LISA Pathfinder

    LISA Pathfinder is being used as a technology demonstration mission (previously called SMART-2) for the cornerstone mission LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). LISA's launch is planned for 2014 as a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the American space agency NASA, and in its capacity as a space observatory it will observe low-frequency gravitational waves in the frequency range from less than 0.1 millihertz up to 0.1 hertz.

  • Living Planet

    The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Exploration Programme, which studies global changes in the environment. Special ‘Earth Explorer’ satellites are intended to supply important new data about the processes that take place in the atmosphere, in the oceans and on land.

  • LoKoST

    In the LoKoST joint project, innovative fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) technologies are being further developed within an integrated approach to development and work, in order to achieve significant reductions in manufacturing costs and weight for high-performance FRP structures.

  • M-FLY

    Research association for the development of lower-emission and more economical aircraft and helicopters using new numerical and experimental methods.

  • Mach number

    Relationship of flight speed to speed of sound.

  • ManuTurb

    Innovative manufacturing process for turbines.

  • MARE

    The MATROSHKA AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), project of the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine on space radiation for planned long-term human space missions in the future. On the NASA Artemis I mission, the MARE experiment will for the first time fly two female 'phantoms' to determine the radiation risk on its way to the Moon.

  • Marine remote sensing

    The focus of the Marine Remote Sensing organisational unit of the DLR’s Remote Sensing Technology Institute (Institut für Methodik der Fernerkundung; IMF) is the development and validation of algorithms and evaluation procedures for hyperspectral optic and synthetic aperture radar data for seas and continental waters. The goal of the work is to derive biological, ecological and meteo-marine parameters for monitoring biological and ecological variables for coasts and continental waters and the changes they undergo. These are used to map wind, sea conditions and ice as well as for the purpose of improving forecasting models for coastal and water management.

  • MaRPAS

    Maritime Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)-operations: DLR is investigating ship-based operations and possible uses of unmanned aerial vehicles in cooperation with the German Federal Police.

  • Mars Express

    The first-ever European planetary mission. The mission has already been extended twice. By carrying out global reconnaissance from its orbit around Mars, Mars Express is obtaining information about the history of the red planet's climate, which should clarify questions relating to the role and existence of water.


    DLR lander on the asteroid Ryugu (2018).


    Experimentation device for measuring the radiation level inside and outside the International Space Station (ISS).


    Managing Automated Vehicles Enhances Network (MAVEN), project of the DLR Institute of Transportation Systems (2018) on automated driving in a network.


    High-altitude research rocket. The MAXUS programme, which has existed since 1990 and is a joint venture between EADS Astrium Space Transportation and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), is mainly used by the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) and the European Space Agency (ESA). A rocket launches the MAXUS experiment module(s) onto a parabolic flight path, the peak of which is at a height of 715 kilometres. As soon as the rocket stage has burnt out, the experiments take place in freefall with the total period of weightlessness depending on the drop height. A parachute brings the experiments on MAXUS back to Earth. High-altitude research rockets can be used to conduct research in zero gravity conditions at comparably favourable conditions. Additional advantages lie in their flexible flight frequency and rapid access to the data from the experiment.

  • ME2 Turbine

    Joint project for increasing the efficiency and electrical performance of a turbine.

  • MechaMod

    Integrated project for overall engine mechanics and modelling and for methods to forecast operating behaviour.


    Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS. Sample freezing device in the Columbus module on the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Meteosat

    Meteorological Satellite. Geostationary weather satellites that are operated by the European organisation EUMETSAT and developed in close collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). Meteosat-1 launched in 1977, Meteosat-9 in 2005.

  • METimage

    METimage is the concept for a progressive imaging multi-spectral radiometer for meteorological application that is intended to be used in a follow-up satellite system to the current EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS).

  • MetOp

    Meteorological Operational Satellite. Weather exploration satellite in particular for exploring the ozone layer within the framework of the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment 2 (GOME-2).

  • Microgravity

    Microgravity refers to the residual gravity in free fall caused by air resistance. The effect of objects appearing to be almost weightless occurs in a spacecraft following a typical near-Earth orbit, but also in a drop tower or during a parabolic flight.


    Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding. Spectrometer on board the Envisat satellite (Environmental Satellite). It researches the composition of gases, for example ozone, in the middle and higher atmosphere and troposphere.

  • ModAw

    Joint research project for modern design tools for next-generation engines.

  • MSG

    Micro Gravity Science Glovebox. Scientific sample handling device in the European space laboratory Columbus on the International Space Station (ISS).


    Materials Science Lab - Electromagnetic Levitator. Multi-user facility for experiments in materials science under zero gravity conditions aboard the European research laboratory Columbus on the International Space Station (ISS).

  • MUNA

    Joint project for the management and minimisation of uncertainties in numerical aerodynamics.

  • MUSC

    Micro Gravity User Support Center, DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space, Cologne.


    Research project for new applications for individual rotor blade controls.


    National Demonstrator for Isentropic Energy Storage (Nationaler Demonstrator für Isentrope Energiespeicher; NADINE): Joint research facility of DLR, the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to develop storage for electrical energy on a power plant scale.

  • NASA

    United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


    Research association for new metallic aviation structures.


    Joint project for reducing the operating noise of propellers working under sub-optimal conditions.

  • NGT - Next Generation Train

    Within the framework of the ‘Next Generation Train’ project, the feasibility of an even more visionary high-speed train is being determined. It will attain a planned maximum speed of 400 kilometres per hour in everyday operation, and also a reduction in the specific energy consumption by 50% compared to an ICE 3 at 300 kilometres per hour – without compromising on comfort and while continuing to adhere to existing safety requirements. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is working together with the railway carriage manufacturer Bombardier Transportation in the implementation of the project.


    Quiet, mixed traffic high-speed goods train based on the operating concept for DLR's Next Generation Train (NGT) trains and benefiting from the findings of NGT HST and NGT LINK.


    DLR's double-decker high-speed railcar passenger train that reaches speeds of up to 400 km/h.


    Double-decker, interregional feeder train, designed to connect smaller cities and towns with major cities, which impresses with its lightweight construction. Pioneering train concept from DLR research.

  • NKS Raumfahrt

    Nationale Kontaktstelle Raumfahrt – National Contact Point for Space. The National Contact Point for Space belongs to the official EU network of national contact points. These information centres have been set up in Germany for the research topics in the framework research programme and are coordinated by the EU office of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF). The National Contact Point for Space operates on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz; BMWK).

  • NT-GTF

    Research project for new technologies for extremely quiet geared turbofan concept.

  • NV centre

    A nitrogen-vacancy centre is a defect in the carbon crystal lattice of diamond consisting of a single nitrogen atom and an adjacent carbon vacancy. The NV centre can be used as a single photon source or for the realisation of quantum computers. Electron spins in the NV centre and surrounding nuclear spins are used as qubits here.

  • OOV

    On Orbit Verifications of new techniques and technologies. This programme is intended to enable verification flights to test in orbit the techniques and technologies developed in the national programme and/or with R&D funding from industry and research institutions, in orbit and to demonstrate their readiness for application.

  • Oxidator

    An oxidiser is an oxygen-rich substance that undergoes a combustion reaction together with fuel in a combustion chamber. This reaction releases energy that is converted into thrust in the engine nozzle.


    Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-Nuclei Astrophysics. The PAMELA experiment measures particles and antiparticles from space (cosmic radiation) in order to study their formation and acceleration processes.

  • Parabolic flight

    DLR uses parabolic flights for scientific purposes and for research into weightlessness (microgravity).

  • PAVE

    Pilot Assistant in the Vicinity of Helipads. Research project for developing an airworthy pilot assistance system that is being trialled on the Eurocopter EC 135 model of the ACT/FHS 'helicopter flight simulator' at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

  • PCE

    Plasma Crystal Experiment (Plasma-Kristall Experiment) on board the International Space Station (ISS), designed to study low-temperature plasmas. Small particles are added to an ionised gas (plasma) of free electrons, ions and neutral gas, causing them to be electrostatically charged. This results in interactions between the particles. In certain conditions, these particles form geometric shapes known as plasma crystals, a state of matter that was first discovered in 1994.

  • Petabyte

    A petabyte (PB) corresponds to the size of 1000 terabytes (TB) or 1 million gigabytes (GB).

  • Philae

    Landing probe of the European comet mission Rosetta, which will explore Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in detail in 2014.


    PHOENIX is a scale model that is around seven metres in length and able to fly, and which is equipped with a newly developed flight guidance and control system and a comprehensive sensor system. It is trialling key technologies for a future reusable space transport system.

  • Photon

    A massless, electrically neutral elementary particle. Light consists of photons. A photon is released, for example, when an electron in the atomic shell changes to a lower energy state.

  • Pitot-static (Prandtl) tube

    Probe for local measurement of dynamic pressure; used to determine flow velocity.

  • PKE

    Plasma-Kristall Experiment – see PCE, Plasma Crystal Experiment.

  • Planck

    European Space Agency (ESA) mission for studying the Cosmic Background Radiation (CMB). Planck’s detectors are designed so that they are able to measure the differences in temperature in the CMB that occur only at the fifth or sixth decimal place over a wide frequency range in conjunction with the angular scale. As the radiation previously interacted with matter (protons, electrons), inferences about the early distribution of matter can be drawn and the parameters that describe the cosmic development can be determined with a high degree of accuracy.

  • Plataforma Solar de Almería

    Largest European test centre for solar energy, located in Spain.

  • Profile

    Cross-section through the wing in the direction of flow.

  • Project administrators in the field of aviation research

    The programme focuses on the priorities of increasing traffic, environmental protection, safety and passenger friendliness as well as economic efficiency and value creation. In addition, this is making a contribution to securing highly qualified jobs in Germany in an environment of continually intensifying international competition.

  • ProKnos

    Joint project on process design for material-hybrid node structures.

  • Quantum computer

    Novel form of computer that works on the basis of the laws of quantum physics. Its quantum bits (qubits) can not only assume the states 0 and 1, but also intermediate values. Quantum computers have the potential to solve certain tasks that classical computers are not able to.

  • Quantum mechanics / Quantum physics

    Branch of physics in which physical processes are described in the world of the very smallest objects, at the atomic level.

  • Quantum superposition

    In quantum mechanics, superposition means that a quantum physical object exists in several different states at the same time.

  • Qubit

    Qubits (quantum bits) are the smallest computing and storage units of a quantum computer, based on the laws of quantum mechanics. In contrast to the classic bits of conventional digital computers, which can only have states 0 and 1, qubits can assume an infinite number of intermediate values. Two-state quantum systems at the atomic level (for example atoms, ions or light quanta) or in solids (for example in semiconductors or superconductors) serve as qubits.

  • Radar system

    A radar system is a device that emits pulsed or continuous electromagnetic waves and receives their reflections after a certain time delay allowing the direction and distance of a remote object to be determined.

  • RailDriVE

    Test vehicle belonging to the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for testing new tracking technologies. The RailDriVE mobile laboratory operates equally well on road and on rail and can thus conduct trials regardless of the respective transport infrastructure. The platform is a truck that has been equipped with a range of tracking systems. These include GPS (Global Positioning System), radar, an eddy current sensor, lasers, video cameras and optical sensors.

  • RailSiTe

    Rail Simulation and Testing. The railway-focussed laboratory RailSiTe is used to analyse systems, subsystems and components in railway control technology and railway safety technology as well as operating concepts. In order to do this it maps the complete chain from signal box operator and route to train dynamics and traction vehicle driver. Following certification as a sub-contractor of Eisenbahn Cert (EBC), the 'Notified Body Interoperability' for Germany, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) possesses the only recognised railway-testing laboratory in Europe in the form of RailSiTe.


    Joint project for the manufacture of a prototype for a second-generation aircraft fuselage.

  • RapidEye

    The RapidEye satellite fleet consists of five identical Earth observation satellites that supply data from space for civil use. They can observe one region of the Earth daily with a resolution of 6.5 metres.

  • Real gas effects

    … occur at high temperatures when the flow is influenced by chemical reactions of gas molecules (re-entry problems in spaceflight above Mach 6).

  • Red dwarf (M-type stars)

    The smallest active stars in the Universe, corresponding to spectral class M (also called M stars) and accounting for about three quarters of all stars. Compared to the Sun, they are cooler and cannot be seen from Earth due to their low luminosity.


    Rocket experiments for university students. The German-Swedish programme REXUS offers students the opportunity to carry out scientific and technical experiments on rockets under special atmospheric conditions.

  • Reynolds number

    Ratio of inertial to viscous forces in a fluid flow.

  • RobusTurb

    Joint project for draft concepts for the efficient and robust design of high-pressure turbines.


    Robotic Components Verification on ISS. The robot arm fitted on the International Space Station (ISS) is around 50 centimetres in size, weighs seven kilograms, and has two hinges, one metal finger and two integrated cameras. It is based on the German Aerospace Agency’s (DLR) state-of-the-art lightweight robot technology. The ROKVISS experiment, planned and developed in Germany, aims to test and verify the new robot hardware and high-performance control concepts in a realistic mission simulation and in space. In the future, this innovative robot technology should assist and relieve the stress on astronauts undertaking complicated tasks. It could also allow satellite repair work to be controlled from Earth.


    European comet exploration mission that was launched on 2 March 2004 bound for Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with a planned arrival in 2014. It will be the first time in the history of spaceflight that a landing unit (Philae) lands on a comet and explores it in detail.

  • Black hole

    "If a given mass collapses to the radius of a sphere equal to the Schwarzschild radius of the mass, a black hole forms. The Schwarzschild radius is proportional to the mass and defined as twice the gravitational constant times the mass divided by the square of the speed of light. At the surface of the sphere, the escape velocity then becomes equal to the speed of light and therefore nothing can 'escape' from there. Black holes have only three properties: mass (without any material structure), angular momentum and charge. They are found as relics of extinct, massive stars and in the centres of galaxies." Manfred Gaida, German Space Agency at DLR, Space Science.


    The goal of the SACADA (Synoptic Analysis of Chemical Constituents by Advanced satellite Data Assimilation) joint project was to develop processes that combine all of the weather and climate-related data from various sources and automatically merge them to form a uniform overall picture that is as precise as possible. The outcome is a system that automatically carries out routine investigations on the distribution of atmospheric gases.

  • SAF

    Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Alternative, sustainable aviation fuel that is obtained from renewable sources and produces a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional jet fuel.


    Smart Antenna Terminal, the project is completed. SANTANA was concerned with developing a flat, electronically controlled antenna with computer-supported, digital beam formation and beam swivelling for wide-band and mobile satellite communication with high data transfer rates in the Ka-band.

  • SAR-Lupe

    ‘SAR’ is an acronym for ‘Synthetic Aperture Radar’ and ‘Lupe’ is German for ‘magnifying glass’. The SAR-Lupe system consists of five identical satellites that were launched at intervals of six months. The system is used by the German armed forces as a national reconnaissance system for monitoring conflict areas. The final launch took place on 22 July 2008.

  • Schlieren optics

    Optical device that makes density differences in a gas flow visible.


    Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography. An atmospheric measuring device on board the European environmental satellite Envisat that was launched in March 2002. SCIAMACHY measures the solar radiation being dispersed back from Earth and its atmosphere. These measurements can be used to determine the atmospheric concentration of a multitude of trace gases that are important for air quality, the greenhouse effect and the ozone chemistry.

  • SCOUT-03

    Stratospheric Climate Links with Emphasis on the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere. EU project for researching the transport of microelements between the troposphere and stratosphere. Around 60 European research institutes and universities are working together on this project, including the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics (Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre).


    SEA GATE is the first German test environment for the future satellite navigation system Galileo. It has been available to users and application developers free of charge at the seaport of Rostock since May 2008. In particular, SEA GATE allows maritime Galileo applications to be trialled long before the actual satellite signals are available. Companies can thus develop new products and services associated with Galileo at an early stage and test them in a realistic environment.


    Selenological and Engineering Explorer. Japanese lunar probe, launched in September 2007. Selene is the Greek goddess of the moon.

  • Semiconductor

    Materials with an electrical conductivity that is strongly dependent on temperature. At temperatures close to zero, semiconductors cannot conduct electricity, while their conductivity increases as the temperature rises. Semiconductors are used as components for instance in microelectronics or photovoltaics.


    Sharp Edge Flight Experiment. Experimental vehicle for re-entry technologies. The goal of this project is to test new thermal protection concepts for returning spacecraft and at the same time check the suitability of a sharp-edged design for the aerodynamic configuration.

  • Slung Load

    Research project of the DLR Institute for Flight Systems Engineering (Institut für Flugsystemtechnik) for developing a process for slung load damping on helicopters.

  • Small GEO

    Satellite platform for payloads with a mass of up to 300 kilograms and power consumption of three kilowatts. It is to be deployed as a geostationary telecommunication satellite in several versions in 2011.

  • SmartBlades2

    Field measurement campaign launched in 2018 at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado (US) with rotor blades developed by DLR.


    Research project for intelligent electrical power supply for helicopters.

  • SMPLab

    Straightforward Modular Prototyping Laboratory. Modular laboratory for the rapid prototype development of driver assistance and automation systems. New proposals for ergonomic support for drivers can be quickly realised as prototypes (Rapid Prototyping) and tested in the SMPLab. The core piece of the SMPLab is a small generic driving simulator in which conventional cockpit equipment is almost completely absent, leaving room for innovative concepts.

  • SOFC fuel cell

    Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. SOFC oxide ceramic high-temperature fuel cell; Areas of application are for stationary use in the field of power plant engineering. When they are coupled with a turbine they achieve very high levels of efficiency.


    Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. Flying stratospheric telescope based on a Boeing 747-200. Joint project between the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the American space agency NASA.

  • SolACES

    Solar Auto-Calibrating EUV/UV Spectrophotometers. A self-calibrating EUV/UV spectrophotometer experiment on the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Solar thermal power plants

    Solar radiation is collected with the aid of concentrating mirrors and converted into thermal energy. The high temperatures reached are used to drive conventional steam and gas turbines or a Stirling-cycle machine.


    Lampoldshausen solar water cleaning device (Solare Wasser-Reinigungsanlage Lampoldshausen). The solar water cleaning process destroys toxic organic contamination and contamination that is not easily biodegradable using light and a photocatalyser. The new solar receiver, the core piece of the SOWARLA device, is made of transparent glass pipes.

  • Soyuz

    Russian launch vehicle that will also be launched from the European spaceport in French Guiana in 2009.

  • Specific impulse

    The specific impulse (Isp) describes how long a rocket engine can generate a force of 9.81 newtons with one kilogram of fuel. The resulting burn time is given in seconds and provides information about the efficiency of the propulsion system.

  • Speed of sound

    Speed at which pressure waves propagate in a medium (usually air). It decreases rapidly with the temperature (and therefore also with flight altitude).

  • Spoofing

    Spoofing describes methods of concealing one’s own identity when using computer networks. In the scientific context, spoofing means overwriting the signals of satellites of global navigation systems – called GNSS spoofing – with powerful radio transmitters that interfere with navigation systems, either rendering them temporarily inoperable or feeding them false information.

  • SRA

    Strategic Research Agenda. Strategic research agenda of ACARE (Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe). The aeronautics research programme of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is largely derived from this programme.


    Scientific Training and Access to Aircraft for Atmospheric Research throughout Europe. EU training and access project for the use of research aircraft.


    Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory. Twin spacecraft for exploring the Sun: NASA mission, launched on 26 October 2006.

  • Stratosphere

    The stratosphere is the second layer of the Earth's atmosphere, at altitudes between 12 and about 50 kilometres.

  • Striation optics

    Optical device that makes it possible to see differences in the gas density within a fluid flow.

  • Subsonic

    … is a flow at below the sonic speed (Mach number less than one; a propeller aircraft flies at up to Mach 0.6).

  • Superconductor

    A material that can conduct electricity with almost no resistance at extremely low temperatures. The superconducting ability occurs below this very low transition temperature. Superconducting circuits represent one approach for the implementation of quantum computers.

  • Supersonic

    … is a supersonic flow (Mach number greater than one; with supersonic flight, pressure waves generated by an aircraft reach the onlooker only after the aircraft has flown by).

  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

    An imaging radar system with an artificially extended antenna. The longer the antenna, the better the resolution achieved. Each image point on the ground is observed several times at different angles along the direction of flight of the radar. A comparison of all these observations, which belong to the same image point, leads to an effective improvement in the resolution of the radar image compared to conventional radar systems.

  • TanDEM-X mission

    The objective of the TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement mission is to provide a highly accurate, three-dimensional elevation model of Earth in uniform quality and unprecedented precision. For this purpose, two almost identical satellites orbit Earth at an altitude of around 500 kilometres and scan the surface with radar equipment: TerraSAR-X (since 2007) and TanDEM-X (since 2009).


    Joint research project with the task of compiling, comparing and evaluating structural construction concepts and design principles for certain critical area of aircraft fuselages.


    Technology Satellite. Satellite for demonstrating and verifying space systems. The goal of the project is to develop and trial a system such that it uses key technologies from the area of robotics – hardware and software elements – to enable unmanned maintenance and repair work to be carried out on satellites.


    Crucible-free electromagnetic positioning under zero gravity conditions (Tiegelfreies Elektromagnetisches Positionieren unter Schwerelosigkeit). The TEMPUS parabolic flight facility is a scientific experimental facility for researching fusible and supercooled metals and alloys.

  • Terabyte

    A terabyte (TB) corresponds to the size of 1000 gigabytes (GB) or 1 million megabytes (MB).

  • TerraSAR-X

    TerraSAR-X is the first German satellite to be built within the framework of a so-called public private partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and EADS Astrium GmbH. The satellite circles the Earth in a polar orbit. While doing so it uses its active antenna to gather new and high-quality X-band radar data from the entire Earth. TerraSAR-X operates independently of weather conditions, cloud cover and daylight and is able to provide radar data with a resolution of down to one metre. DLR is responsible for the scientific use of the TerraSAR-X data and is also responsible for planning and carrying out the mission and for controlling the satellite. Astrium built the satellite and is sharing the costs for its development and use. Infoterra GmbH, a subsidiary company founded specifically for this purpose by Astrium, is responsible for marketing the TerraSAR-X data commercially.


    Technological experiments under zero gravity conditions (Technologische Experimente unter Schwerelosigkeit). Scientific programme in which biological, materials science-related and physical experiments can be carried out under space conditions using research rockets.

  • TRAC

    German-Canadian collaborative project in which the ability of astronauts to respond and adapt is being tested.


    Turbo Machinery Research Aerodynamic Computational Environment. Programming system for calculating the three-dimensional non-stationary flows in multi-stage compressor and turbine components.

  • Traffic Tower

    Virtual traffic management headquarters of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Whether it is traffic monitoring at large events or evaluating traffic control algorithms - the Traffic Tower supports research through virtual imaging and simulation of road traffic and equipment that affects traffic.

  • Trajectory

    The physical term trajectory (also called trajectory curve or path) describes a space curve along which a point moves.


    Trans-Mediterranean interconnection for Concentrating Solar Power. This study concerns linking the European power networks with the networks in the Near East and North Africa. The goal is to cover up to 15% of the European requirement by solar energy from the south by 2050.

  • Transients

    … are fluid (air) flows that fluctuate over time caused by separation from the surface of the body around which the flow is moving or movements or distortions of the surface; see Aeroelastics.

  • Transonic

    … is a flow below the speed of sound when, at some point on the aircraft, supersonic flow and perhaps also shocks are already occurring (Airbus A300 flies at up to Mach 0.84).


    Tropical Convection, Cirrus and Nitrogen Oxides Experiment. Project for the research into nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere.

  • Turbulent

    … is a flow, in particular in the boundary layer, which causes the flowing medium to intermix (opposite: laminar).

  • U-Space

    U-Space describes the framework for integrating drones into current airspace management systems.

  • UAS

    Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) DLR specialist group that researches technologies for uncrewed flight in aviation.

  • Ulysses

    Joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the US space agency NASA, designed to study the heliosphere – the region of space influenced by the Sun and its magnetic field. The primary scientific goal was to make the first-ever measurements of the unexplored region of space above the Sun's poles. The launch of the spacecraft took place on 6 October 1990. During the course of its mission Ulysses observed an almost complete magnetic sunspot cycle and thus unlocked the spatial structure of the inner heliosphere along with the Sun’s magnetic field. The mission ended on 30 June 2009.

  • UniTaS

    Support programme for industrial activities and technology transfer in the area of applied satellite navigation for aviation.

  • Urban Aeronautics

    Urban Aeronautics is an Israeli aircraft manufacturer.

  • Vega

    Launch vehicle system for small satellites.

  • VerDeMod

    Research project for compressor design and modelling for Vision 10 engine concepts.

  • VFF

    Airport apron vehicle with fuel cell drive.

  • vICERP

    Virtual Institute of Central Receiver Power Plants. Virtual institute for solar-tower power stations. Since January 2008 the institute has for the first time jointly combined the facilities of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), RWTH Aachen University (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen), the Aachen University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule Aachen; FH) and the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and their capacities on the topic ‘solar-tower power stations’ for the future.

  • ViewCar

    Measuring vehicle for analysing perception processes and the behaviour of drivers in road traffic. It is equipped with sensors for measuring and recording the traffic environment, the operation of the vehicle and the resulting vehicle behaviour.

  • VPN Seat

    Wireless network communication in aeroplanes, innovative cabin technology.

  • VR Lab

    The Virtual Reality Lab is used to evaluate new driver assistance systems and functions quickly and flexibly with respect to usability and acceptance (like in the HMI Lab - Human Machine Interface Laboratory). A seat with a steering wheel and pedals is used to control the virtual vehicle, and a centre console with a touchscreen can be added to the simulation if required; the rest of the interior of the vehicle is only simulated.

  • 'Well Clear'

    ‘Well clear’ in aviation describes a status in which a pilot declares the situation of his aircraft vehicle as safe in relation to its surrounding traffic.

  • Wingtip-mounted propellers

    The drag of an aircraft plays an enormous role in its energy efficiency. Approximately 40 per cent of the total drag is caused by pressure equalisation at the ends of the wings. This leads to rotating airflows at the wingtips, referred to as tip vortices. A propeller also causes the flow behind it to rotate. If a propeller is placed at the end of a wing, the rotation of the propeller wake can counteract the wingtip vortex – ideally, the rotations cancel one another out, so the drag decreases.

  • X-38

    Experimental vehicle for re-entry technologies.

  • XMM-Newton

    European X-ray telescope. Launch: 10 December 1999, mission currently scheduled to last until 31 December 2012.

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