A week of recharging on an island – away, but still present
This entry doesn’t deal with the usual bustle in and around DLR; it is quite simply about a few days of vacation on an East Frisian island and the special opportunity it provided to harmonise relaxation and work.
Since Easter Monday I have been on my favourite East Frisian Island, Spiekeroog. The journey across is always an adventure, as the ferry connections depend on the tide and therefore operate infrequently. This trivial fact means that the holiday begins as soon as you step on board. At the same time, it is where you start thinking about when you have to return to the daily hustle and bustle and the requirements and expectations that have to be met then.
Modern communications technology has now reached the island, so the freedom that came with being unreachable has given way to the demands of being permanently connected. On this occasion, I received some emails that demanded immediate action. The special function of DLR as both a research centre and a national space agency is the reason for various national and international queries and contacts in such situations. On the other hand, the media allows us to follow and comment on the most important activities globally (for example, the launches of STS-131, CryoSat-2 and ComSatBw). The connection to DLR can be maintained without interruption. As is unfortunately often the case, it is not only substantive, strategic matters that need to be dealt with quickly, but also internal and external organisational issues.
On a small scale, the island reflects the various issues and activities relevant to DLR: renewable power generation, the possibilities and limits of electric mobility, multi-mode transport and satellite-based communications infrastructure. Here, aviation can only be observed in the form of the condensation trails from high-flying passenger aircraft and defence-related security as air force planes come in to land at Wittmund air base. Time spent on the island also provides the perfect opportunity to clear my mind by watching the weather – the Sun, rain, storms and the omnipresent force of the ocean – and to start considering strategic issues that must often bow to time pressure during one’s everyday routine. The positioning of DLR, optimum organisation of the Executive Board, strategic development and promised technical contributions (on the topics of energy and structural engineering, in particular) were on the agenda during my relaxation, and these items were dealt with under the special influence of the island’s natural beauty.
Translated from the German original.
Large image: Huebi (CC-BY-SA 3.0). Images above: Jan Wörner.