Articles from "2011"

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Space | 28. April 2011 | posted by Rolf Hempel | 3 Comments

Is the Moon unchanging?

Mond TLP

Ever since the discovery of the telescope, man has been fascinated by the observation of the surface of the Moon. The constantly changing light coming from the Sun causes craters, mountains, valleys and plains to take on continuously varying appearances. Yet, as we look at this atmosphereless natural satellite, we get the impression that the Moon has not changed, even over the span of a human lifetime. But is this really the case? read more

Space | 21. April 2011

PRISMA Experiment Operations at GSOC

The goal of PRISMA is to demonstrate sensors and flight software needed to perform formation flight and rendezvous missions. With respect to future on-orbit servicing missions, PRISMA is a milestone in developing and demonstrating the required technologies in orbit. The experiment operations started after commissioning and separation of the two spacecraft, Mango and Tango, in August 2010 . The basic experiment programme is planned to last ten months, with an additional two months for an extended campaign. The first half of this timeline was successfully executed by the Swedish Space Corporation, and after the transfer of operations on 14 March it is now GSOC's turn to conclude the nominal first year of operations. Let's have a closer look at the project structure, the experimenter's contributions and the experiment operations to be conducted at GSOC. read more

Space | 20. April 2011 | posted by Marco Trovatello

STS-134: Ready to blog

Image Credit: NASA.

Since yesterday's Flight Readiness Review (FRR) confirmed a "Go" for Endeavour's Launch on 29 April it's now certain that we (me, that is) will continue blogging here starting next Thursday, 28 April, where there will be first photo opportunities at Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately my DLR colleague Thilo Kranz, fellow blogger and excellent shuttle photographer, will not be there this time. read more

Space | 05. April 2011

PRISMA – Mango and Tango in mission operations mode

On 14 March 2011, the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) took over operations of PRISMA. Despite my 20 years of service, I must say that even though every mission launch is special, the transfer of operations for an ongoing mission has a very new ‘feel’ about it. PRISMA has been different in many ways. The aim of this mission is to demonstrate various formation flying and rendezvous scenarios at separations of as little as a few metres with satellites Tango and Mango. read more

Security | 31. March 2011

The final stage in the construction of the German-Indonesian tsunami early warning system

On 26 December 2004, a devastating tsunami destroyed large parts of the coastline of the Indian Ocean. It is estimated that 250,000 people lost their lives because there was no early warning system. Shortly afterwards, the German government decided to spend 50 million Euros to develop a tsunami early warning system in Indonesia, the most severely affected country. Scientists from major German research centres presented innovative concepts for such a system to the political decision makers. Convinced of the feasibility of the proposal, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) decided to support the project, now named the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS), as a joint development led by the German Research Centre for Geosciences (Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum; GFZ) in Potsdam. read more

Space | 25. March 2011 | posted by Rolf Hempel | 4 Comments

Biggest full Moon in over 18 years

On 19 March 2011 everything came together perfectly – in a completely clear sky there was a full Moon and, what is more, at almost the exact time, the Moon passed through the point of closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit. This meant we were able to admire an unusually large and bright full Moon. Not wanting to let this opportunity pass, I photographed the Moon through my telescope. read more

Space | 18. March 2011 | posted by Jan Wörner | 1 Comment

ESA Council meeting and a reception at the German Ambassador's in Paris

An important meeting of the ESA Council took place on 16 and 17 March in Paris. Among other matters, it dealt with the International Space Station (ISS), ensuring European access to space, and the appointment of ESA Directors. On the first evening of the Council meeting, I was invited by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Paris, Reinhard Schäfers, to visit his official residence. It was a good opportunity to speak, not only about German space strategy in general, but also about the coordination of space activities at a time when we are all concerned regarding the news about the events in Japan. read more

Space | 17. March 2011

Interview with Tom Speer on SOFIA

SOIFA

NASA's Tom Speer used to be a pilot for commercial aircraft. He now works in the SOFIA project, training new SOFIA crew members on aircraft operations. I asked Tom for an interview and he was kind enough as to answer my questions. read more

Space | 03. March 2011 | 46 Comments

Captured from ground: ATV Johannes Kepler and Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the ISS

On Tuesday, 1 March 2011, Dirk Ewers, one of our readers, caught the International Space Station (ISS) on camera, as it was passing overhead in the evening sky near Kassel in central Germany. Ewers has sent in the fantastic images that show ATV-2 Johannes Kepler and Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the ISS. Using almost 2000 of these individual images, he has put together a video sequence of the docked spacecraft passing almost directly overhead. read more