Space | 16. August 2018 | posted by Freya Scheffler-Kayser

Everyday life on the ISS – part 2

Credit: ESA/NASA–A. Gerst
Sunrise seen from the ISS

How does Alexander Gerst spend his days on the ISS? After getting up, washing and breakfast, he attends the 07:30 – 07:45 early conference with the entire crew and the five control centres operated by the ISS partners, which are located in Houston (USA), Korolyov near Moscow (Russia), Saint-Hubert (Quebec, Canada), Tsukuba (Japan) and for Europe at the Columbus Control Centre at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, close to Munich. read more

Space | 09. August 2018 | posted by Philipp Burtscheidt

Immuno-2: Examining the immune system in microgravity to improve our quality of life on Earth

immuno_2_EN_2100_306
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Infographic Immuno-2: Examining the stress-related weakening of the immune system

All of us experience stress in our daily lives. This can affect the human immune system, leading to illnesses both on Earth and in space. Many astronauts return from missions in poor health due to the harsh conditions endured over prolonged periods in space.

On Earth, healthy and critically ill people, in particular, suffer from similar ailments caused by the same stress factors, having a considerable socioeconomic impact. In 2015, the economic losses caused by the incapacity to work – often due to mental illness – amounted to 113 billion euro for Germany alone. read more

Space | 07. August 2018 | posted by Freya Scheffler-Kayser

Always on Saturday... everyday life on the ISS

Astro_Alex auf Flickr: Image-ID: 362D5956; Credits: ESA/NASA
Credit: ESA/NASA
Saturdays on the ISS: ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during the weekly 'house cleaning' out in space
Visit Alexander Gerst's Flickr gallery for more photos

The International Space Station ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes, which means that the astronauts witness 16 sunrises and sunsets every single day. All the same, Alexander Gerst and his colleagues maintain virtually the same circadian rhythm as we do in Europe. They are awake when we are awake, and sleep when we sleep. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) applies on board the Space Station. During summer in Germany, we are two hours ahead of UCT, but only one hour ahead in winter. So the six astronauts living on the ISS are only just getting up while we are already on our way to work. read more

Space | 31. July 2018 | posted by Volker Schmid

From horizon to horizon - Alexander Gerst phones home

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Künzelsau residents say 'Hello Alex!' and greet the ISS

At about 16:30 on 26 July 2018, the main street of Künzelsau, Alexander Gerst's hometown, resembled a festival: around 5000 people were on their feet. The street was packed and everyone listened attentively to the stage announcements, waiting for the call from the ISS. The event had been underway since 11:00, starting with a press conference in the Town Hall. All that remained was to quickly integrate a few additional charts into the short presentation and then it would be underway. Following the official welcome and the opening address by the DLR press spokesperson, it was my turn, focusing on the experiments and benefits of research on the ISS. But just minutes earlier, I suddenly received an e-mail on my phone. read more

Space | 24. July 2018 | posted by Clemens Plank

SOFIA's record-breaking campaign in New Zealand

Das deutsche SOFIA- und GREAT-Team
Credit: © DLR
Although they worked in shifts, almost the entire German SOFIA and GREAT team in New Zealand made it onto the photo

Christchurch, New Zealand, 2 June 2018, 11:03 local time – the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) lands right on time for her fifth deployment 'down under'. We use the term deployment in connection with SOFIA to describe a temporary posting of the observatory with regular flight operations at a location other than its home base in Palmdale, California. Christchurch is the destination for June and July, when we get away from the short summer nights in California to take advantage of the benefits provided by New Zealand's winter. In addition to the longer winter nights, this is due in particular to the clear skies above the South Pacific. What is more, the Southern Hemisphere allows us to see a part of the sky that, from California, remains 'hidden' beneath the equator and is therefore simply invisible. This includes the centre of the Milky Way, as well as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which are of great interest to astronomers. read more

Space | 23. July 2018 | posted by Volker Schmid

Loss of power for the ISS MFX-2 experiment

Planetensimulator MFX-2 vom DLR auf der ISS
Image: NASA
DLR's MFX-2 experiment on the ISS

Time is a precious commodity – especially in a unique laboratory complex such as the International Space Station (ISS). When something fails to go to plan, the result is additional stress and strain for the planners, researchers and everyone downstream who is involved in experimentation – everyone is keenly waiting for his/her timeslot. Last week it was DLR's MFX-2 Planetary Simulator that was involved. This had to be rebooted following an unexpected loss of power and some data was lost. The loss of power possibly damaged the start-up file on the USB boot stick. It is possible that the USB boot drive suffered damage as a result of the additional radiation experienced at an altitude of 400 kilometres. read more

Space | 18. July 2018 | posted by Freya Scheffler-Kayser

Direct line to astronaut Alexander Gerst

Credit: © DLR
Students speak by radio with Alexander Gerst on the ISS

Working with the younger generation – getting children and young people interested in space, natural sciences and high-tech professions – is an important part of Alexander Gerst's 'horizons' mission. The ARISS calls – live radio contacts between selected schools and @Astro_Alex – are particularly popular. ARISS stands for 'Amateur Radio on the International Space Station' and is organised by Alexander Gerst, the mission team at the DLR Space Administration in Bonn and the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC). Each mission usually involves radio contact with three or four selected schools in Germany. But because it is such an unforgettable experience for the students, and demand far exceeds supply, Gerst made a personal effort to increase the number long before 'horizons' was underway. Ten ISS radio contacts have now been organised with 14 schools and three DLR_School_Labs in Germany, as well as with one school in St. Vith (Belgium). read more

Space | 13. July 2018 | posted by Christian Karrasch

CIMON – when science fiction becomes reality

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Picture-book launch of the SpaceX Falcon-9 from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA, on the morning of 29 June 2018. CIMON is on board in the Dragon capsule

Cape Canaveral, Florida – it is really thrilling – go CIMON, go! Accompanied by a thunderous roar, the SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher slowly rises from the launch pad above a dazzling stream of fire, delivering 7600 kilonewtons of thrust to thwart gravity painting a spectacular picture against the early morning skies over Florida. This 'dragon's tail' was even visible from the ISS itself. It takes the Dragon capsule for the SpaceX CRS-15 (Commercial Resupply Service) mission three days to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS), carrying a payload of precisely 2676 kilograms (provisions, equipment and scientific experiments) in the 'dragon's body'. What made this supply flight to the ISS so special was that it included a whole series of German experiments for Alexander Gerst's 'horizons' mission. Among them was CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion). read more

Space | 13. July 2018 | posted by Marta Cortesao

Monitoring microbes in spaceflight: the search for innovative antimicrobial surfaces

Marta Cortesao auf der ILA Berlin 2018 Science Slam, präsentiert, was Schimmel ist und wie er sich auf der ISS fühlt.
Credit: © DLR
Marta Cortesao at ILA Berlin 2018 Science Slam, presenting what mould is, and its presence on the ISS

The International Space Station (ISS) is more than just a laboratory. To astronauts, it is their home. To survive outside of Earth's protective atmosphere, astronauts depend on the station’s closed environment, where they have constant temperature and moisture, an atmosphere, and several life-support systems such as water recycling and waste management. When you are in such an isolated habitat, especially one surrounded by harsh space conditions, you want everything to go exactly as planned. So, what happens when your food, walls, windows and systems become colonised with unwelcome microbes? read more

Aeronautics | 11. July 2018 | posted by Johann Dauer

Unmanned helicopter superARTIS delivered humanitarian goods

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Preparation of the next flight

During the second week of the pilot operation in the Dominican Republic, the superARTIS team performed different humanitarian delivery missions together with Wings for Aid and the World Food Programme. The flights took place in an area called 'Bajo Yuna', which suffers from frequent flooding and related 'last mile' delivery problems. These flight tests are one of the founding stones to connect DLR's UAS projects with applications in humanitarian technology. read more