Articles from "2011"

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Space | 22. July 2011

STS-135 Atlantis – the final episode

The Space Shuttle Atlantis announced its arrival at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the early morning hours of 21 July 2011 with a double sonic boom. Just over three minutes later, the spaceship touched down on the runway and at 05:57:54 local time "wheels stop" was called for the last time. Atlantis and its crew had safely returned to Earth. NASA's space shuttles have travelled into orbit 135 times; this era ended today. The space shuttles have shaped US space policy for the last 30 years and have stood as an icon of human spaceflight for a whole generation. read more

Other | 12. July 2011 | posted by Andrea Schaub | 9 Comments

Redesigned DLR web portal online

DLR-Webportal im neuen Glanz online

Finished at last! The redesigned web portal for the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is ready to receive the first of its close to 500,000 visitors per month. We have been working on the redesign for some time now, and are more than pleased with the result. read more

Space | 22. June 2011

Chasing Pluto's shadow

Pluto-Okkultation

Astronomers on board SOFIA fly over most of the water vapour in the atmosphere; it is precisely this that makes the desired infrared observations possible. But the fact that SOFIA flies has another major advantage: it is a mobile observatory. In contrast to ground-based observatories, it can be used at different locations around the globe. This can be very useful, for example, for the Pluto occultation that will take place these days. read more

Space | 16. June 2011 | posted by Jan Wörner

One more time!

In my last blog entry, I focussed on a farewell to the shuttle fleet and some observations on the paradigm shift occurring in the space sector. Space Shuttle Endeavour has now landed safely and Atlantis is being prepared for launch. Images of the International Space Station (ISS) with Space Shuttle Endeavour and docked with the European space transporter ATV 'Johannes Kepler', taken from a Soyuz capsule as it was departing, already have historical value. This time, I would like to focus on my reappointment as Chairman of the DLR Executive Board and on the aspects that will be of central importance in my ongoing work. read more

Space | 06. June 2011 | posted by Dietmar Lilienthal | 4 Comments

'Live' airborne astronomy

SOFIA: Teleskop

I had already been working on the SOFIA project for some years, when back in 1998, a consortium of German research institutes (Max-Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Bonn, University of Cologne, Max-Planck Institute of Solar System Research and the DLR Institute of Planetary Research) decided to develop the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) as the Principal Investigator-class Science Instrument for the first generation at the SOFIA Observatory. At this time, the aim was for the observatory to be operational by the end of 2001. It was not only the optimists who were expecting the GREAT spectrometer to soon enter operational service. Back then, who could have thought that it would take 13 years for GREAT to fly on SOFIA for the first time? read more

Space | 16. May 2011 | posted by Jan Wörner

Reflections on parting

On 16 May, the Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched en route to the International Space Station (ISS). On board was the large science experiment, AMS, designed to look for evidence of dark matter and antimatter. The flight is Endeavour's last, and it heralds the end of the shuttle era. In parallel with this somewhat technical farewell, we have also had to say goodbye to Thomas Reiter, who has been Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations for the European Space Agency (ESA)since mid-April. Two departures in the area of space exploration were sufficient reason for me to start reflecting on fundamental issues in spaceflight. read more

Space | 29. April 2011

A long farewell

Endeavour on the launch pad

The small space shop on site at the Kennedy Space Center gives an indication of the fast-approaching end of space shuttle flights from the cape; everything is reduced in price. Although many people here on the ‘Space Coast’ are unsure about the coming months and years, the spirit needed to carry this historic space location into the future of spaceflight is unbroken. The day before the launch of STS-134, the press conferences were not just looking forward to the imminent mission. read more

Space | 29. April 2011

AFF Completion of experiments

SSC (Swedish Space Corporation) performed a remarkable autonomous close approached to bring MANGO and TANGO to a distance of less than 15 m. The maneuvers needed for that approach were computed by their autonomous formation flying (AFF) software on-board of MANGO. During an experiment of 8 days duration SSC performed numerous formation keeping and formation configuration maneuvers to verify the handling of different formation scenarios. read more

Space | 28. April 2011 | posted by Marco Trovatello

STS-134 Launch -1: 1500 journalists and more than half a million visitors expected

The alarm clock goes off at 04:45 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). At 05:30, breakfast. At 06:00, the ESA-DLR media delegation, consisting of a dozen journalists and a number of 'Public Affairs Officers' (as NASA calls them) is on the move. At 08:40, after obtaining additional accreditation at two badging stations, we finally arrive at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) press site. read more