About the author

Friederike Wolff

Friederike Wolff has always been interested in the exploration of the Solar System. That is why she studied aerospace engineering at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. For her master's degree, she moved to Kiruna in the north of Sweden. This place, unknown to most, is a household name in the space community. Sounding rockets and balloons are launched from the nearby Esrange Space Center launches, which also houses a frequently used ground station for satellite communications. As part of DLR's REXUS/BEXUS project, Friederike gained experience there operating sounding balloons.

Friederike has been working at DLR since 2015 and is involved in various missions that explore planets and other celestial bodies. At the Institute of System Dynamics and Control in Oberpfaffenhofen, she worked on the asteroid lander MASCOT. On the asteroid Ryugu, with a diameter of just under 900 metres, the gravity is so low that the lander's uprighting and reorientation required a special mechanism. This mechanism had to be controlled differently depending on the gravitational force and the surface conditions to enable the targeted movement of the lander. For the MASCOT project, Friederike developed models to simulate the movement of the lander in order to optimise the control of this system. In her TEDx Talk she addresses the challenges of this work.

Since 2019, she has been working at the Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, where she is a systems engineer with technical responsibility for the development of the JANUS camera. The camera will be launched in 2022 on board the JUICE mission to explore Jupiter and its moons. She is also actively involved in managing the assembly, integration and verification (AIV) of JUICE's GALA laser altimeter. As AIV manager, Friederike organises and oversees the thermal, structural and electronic tests of the instrument, The successful completion of which is a prerequisite for installation on the spacecraft and the subsequent rocket launch.

Posts from Friederike Wolff

Space | 24. September 2018

Moving around on an unfamiliar celestial body

Moving around on small bodies is difficult, because the gravitational pull and thus the friction between a lander and the ground is very small. Conventional means of transport, such as wheels or chains, are based on traction and are thus unsuitable for use on asteroids. Therefore, a mobility mechanism was developed for MASCOT in order to enable movement in such an environment: the lander is equipped with a swing arm that accelerates and decelerates an eccentrically mounted mass. read more