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

Space | 19. October 2016 | posted by Bernadette Jung

How researchers use the latest Earth observation data – Part two

Credit: DLR/NASA GSFC/Lee
Elevation model of the mangrove forest region in the Sundarbans

In the second part of the series on the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Science Meeting in Oberpfaffenhofen, we present further applications for satellite data. This time, for example, biomass is determined with the help of 'Earth observers from space'. Up until Thursday, 20 October 2016, international scientists will use the congress to show their research results on satellite-based Earth observation and to exchange ideas.

High above the swamp

Wet, warm and salty – the perfect habitat for mangroves. These tropical trees only feel at home in seawater or the brackish water of rivers. Together with other water-loving plants and shrubs, they can spread across entire forests or swamps. They offer protection against land loss through coastal erosion along seaboards and act as buffers to block storm surges and tsunamis. Around the world, mangrove forests account for an expanse of roughly 150,000 square kilometres. This equates to an enormous quantity of biomass – plant constituents that act as natural carbon reservoirs and that influence the climate. But exactly how much biomass is stored in these forests? And what about the inaccessible areas? read more

Space | 19. October 2016 | posted by Bernadette Jung | 2 Comments

How researchers use the latest Earth observation data - Part one

KIOST inertial DEM
Quelle: DLR/KIOST/NASA GSFC
Elevation model of coastal area

Researchers from across the globe are in Oberpfaffenhofen for the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Science Meeting. For four days, from 17 to 20 October 2016, they have the opportunity to present their results from the data acquired by the two Earth observation satellite missions and exchange information. Here, approximately 200 presentations give an overview of the latest research in satellite-based Earth observation. The radar data are used in various scientific fields, from climate research to geosciences to forestry, infrastructure planning and remote sensing methodology.

Covering the Science Meeting, the Space Blog presents some of the work presented. The short examples provided outline how the data of the German radar satellites support researchers worldwide. read more