Space | 02. October 2018 | posted by Tra-Mi Ho

MASCOT – Just hours before separation

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Ready for #asteroidlanding - MASCOT Control Center at the DLR site in Cologne

About 7 years ago, when the MASCOT lander took its 'first steps' in the form of a CAD drawing was – at least for some of us – an unimaginable moment. Today, we are in the control room, following the slow descent of the Hayabusa2 spacecraft carrying our small landing package through the returned housekeeping data. We are ready to go. read more

Space | 23. August 2018 | posted by Johannes Weppler

Nocturnal thrills – a tale of an EVA, live from Moscow

Credit: DLR, MPO, Roskosmos
The ICARUS team in the Russian control centre on the evening of the launch of the antenna to the ISS

It is 01:28 on 16 August 2018, and applause has suddenly broken out in the MCC-M, the Russian control centre for the International Space Station (ISS). The room is full of happy faces. The ICARUS antenna, which will be used to track animals from space, has just been successfully installed on the exterior of the Russian Zvezda module on the ISS. read more

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 | 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 | 28. June 2018 | posted by Johannes Weppler

From Stuttgart to the ISS – the arduous journey of a student experiment

Credit: KSat e.V./Sandro Schönhoff
PAPELL experiment team with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (centre)

The 'horizons' mission is very exciting – not just for us, the members of the DLR mission team. It is also a fascinating time for student groups from the universities of Stuttgart, Duisburg-Essen and Frankfurt – all of them winners of the ‘High-flyers’ competition, which was organised by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Physical Society (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft; DPG) in 2016. read more

Space | 15. June 2018 | posted by Elke Heinemann

Hayabusa2 and MASCOT lander nearing Ryugu

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Hayabusa2, JAXA's asteroid explorer, and the MASCOT lander, developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the French space agency (CNES) have been travelling through space since December 2014.

They are finally closing in on their destination asteroid – Ryugu. As of 14 June 2018, the distance between Hayabusa2 and Ryugu is less than 770 kilometres and the closing speed is 2.1 metres per second. read more

Space | 24. August 2017 | posted by Daniel Leidner | 2 Comments

Beaming instructions from space: robot experiment between the ISS and Oberpfaffenhofen

Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Rollin 'Justin and the solar panels he will inspect during the SUPVIS Justin experiment.

The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has long been a forerunner in the remote control of robot technology for space applications. In 1993, the ROTEX experiment was the first ever in which a robot was remotely controlled from the ground and actually caught a free-floating object in space. In a more recent experiment in December 2015, cosmonaut Sergei Volkov used technology that built on this experiment to operate a ground-based robot from the International Space Station (ISS). At the time, a finely-tuned joystick allowed the cosmonaut to shake hands with institute director Alin Albu-Schäffer and even raise a glass on the success of the Kontur-2 mission. read more

Space | 26. April 2017 | posted by Heinz-Theo Hammes

Double anniversary for SOFIA

SOFIA Take-off
Credit: NASA
SOFIA during take-off for the Functional Check Flight on 26 April 2007

The coming week will bring two occasions to celebrate with SOFIA. Just yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the virgin flight by SOFIA's 'flying base' on 25 April 1977: operating under the registration N536PA, the Boeing 747 SP flew for the former airline PAN AM, mainly on long-haul routes to Asia or South America. There are images of the aircraft in its original livery and a detailed history of the 21441-306 airframe.

And it was 10 years ago today, on 26 April 2007, that the Boeing took off for the first time with the SOFIA observatory on board, following extensive modification of the aircraft and the installation of a telescope and door system. read more