23. December 2016

2016 at DLR - A time­ly dis­cov­ery, pop­corn float­ing in the sea and a vis­it by the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor

HALO research aircraft at Kiruna in northern Sweden
HA­LO re­search air­craft at Kiruna in north­ern Swe­den
Image 1/19, Credit: DLR/Andreas Minikin .

HALO research aircraft at Kiruna in northern Sweden

At the end of Jan­uary 2016, at­mo­spher­ic re­searchers used the High Al­ti­tude Long Range Re­search Air­craft (HA­LO) and the Fal­con 20E re­search air­craft to con­duct co­or­di­nat­ed cli­mate re­search mea­sure­ment flights. For the first time, they suc­ceed­ed in mea­sur­ing grav­i­ty waves and air­glow al­most in their en­tire­ty.
Launch of Eu­rope's ‘Da­ta High­way in Space’
Image 2/19, Credit: International Launch Services.

Launch of Europe's ‘Data Highway in Space’

On 29 Jan­uary 2016, the ini­tial node of the EDRS (Eu­ro­pean Da­ta Re­lay Sys­tem) was launched in­to space. In geo­sta­tion­ary or­bit 36,000 kilo­me­tres above Earth, the sys­tem will in fu­ture send very large quan­ti­ties of da­ta from Earth ob­ser­va­tion satel­lites to Earth in re­al-time.
Ships sail­ing in wind and poor weath­er off He­ligoland
Image 3/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Ships sailing in wind and poor weather off Heligoland

In mid Febru­ary 2016, DLR used two ships to in­ves­ti­gate dig­i­tal trans­mis­sion chan­nels at broad­band fre­quen­cies in the North Sea. The aim of the re­search was broad­band com­mu­ni­ca­tion that al­lows res­cue ves­sels to pro­vide ini­tial med­i­cal in­struc­tions while trav­el­ling to the scene of a dis­as­ter, for ex­am­ple.
1978: Eu­rope's first hy­dro­gen car
Image 4/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

1978: Europe's first hydrogen car

In 2016, DLR cel­e­brat­ed 40 years of en­er­gy re­search and re­flect­ed on some of its ma­jor mile­stones and key suc­cess­es – such as the first car in Eu­rope to be fu­elled by hy­dro­gen, which was de­vel­oped by DLR in Stuttgart.
Pursuit in a high-speed train
Pur­suit in a high-speed train
Image 5/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Pursuit in a high-speed train

Da­ta trans­mis­sion be­tween two high-speed trains was in­ves­ti­gat­ed dur­ing a mea­sure­ment cam­paign on a rail route be­tween Naples and Rome in mid April 2016. Se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems are im­por­tant to en­sure that in fu­ture trains can au­tonomous­ly con­nect – and if nec­es­sary dis­con­nect –whilst in mo­tion, for ex­am­ple.
Eu­ro­pean en­vi­ron­men­tal satel­lites in space
Image 6/19, Credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

European environmental satellites in space

On 25 April 2016, the Sen­tinel-1B Earth ob­ser­va­tion satel­lite lift­ed off in­to space to sup­port its twin satel­lite, Sen­tinel-1A, at an al­ti­tude of 693 kilo­me­tres. Both satel­lites will fol­low the same or­bit, 180 de­grees apart, in or­der to mon­i­tor Earth's ter­res­tri­al and ma­rine ecosys­tems dur­ing the day and night.
Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel vis­its DLR and ESA in Cologne
Image 7/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Chancellor Angela Merkel visits DLR and ESA in Cologne

On 18 May 2016, Chan­cel­lor Merkel vis­it­ed DLR and the Eu­ro­pean As­tro­naut Cen­tre (EAC), at the in­vi­ta­tion of Ger­man ESA as­tro­naut Alexan­der Gerst.
New rock­et test rig for safe Ar­i­ane 6 launch­es
Image 8/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

New rocket test rig for safe Ariane 6 launches

The fu­ture Eu­ro­pean launch­er, Ar­i­ane 6, will launch in­to space in 2020. In or­der for it to bring all its pay­loads safe­ly to their or­bits, its en­gines must first be thor­ough­ly test­ed. A test rig is there­fore sched­uled to be com­mis­sioned at Lam­pold­shausen in 2018.
Repli­ca of the first Lilien­thal glid­er
Image 9/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Replica of the first Lilienthal glider

DLR has re­pro­duced Ot­to Lilien­thal's ‘nor­mal glid­er’ ac­cord­ing to his orig­i­nal plans, us­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ma­te­ri­als, and sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly test­ed the aero­dy­nam­ic qual­i­ties of the 20-kilo­gram glid­er, which has a wingspan of 6.70 me­tres. The re­sult: an un­favourable ther­mal and not a con­struc­tion de­fect may have led to Lilien­thal's fa­tal ac­ci­dent.
Ear­ly for­est fire de­tec­tion by BIROS fire de­tec­tion satel­lite
Image 10/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Early forest fire detection by BIROS fire detection satellite

On 22 June 2016, the re­frig­er­a­tor-sized BIROS mi­crosatel­lite launched in­to space and has since been or­bit­ing Earth at an al­ti­tude of 515 kilo­me­tres. As well as for­est fires, BIROS can al­so de­tect vol­canic ac­tiv­i­ty, gas flares and in­dus­tri­al hotspots.
A new kind of rail crash concept for improved future safety
A new kind of rail crash con­cept for im­proved fu­ture safe­ty
Image 11/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

A new kind of rail crash concept for improved future safety

In or­der to pro­tect pas­sen­gers and crew from rail col­li­sions and min­imise the con­se­quences of ac­ci­dents, an in­no­va­tive crash con­cept was test­ed in ear­ly Au­gust 2016. This crash con­cept was de­vel­oped as part of the ex­ten­sive re­search work of the Next Gen­er­a­tion Train (NGT) project.
Al­ti­tude sick­ness study at an al­ti­tude of over 4500 me­tres
Image 12/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Altitude sickness study at an altitude of over 4500 metres

Ten test sub­jects took part in a week-long aerospace-med­i­cal study of al­ti­tude sick­ness in a moun­tain hut in the Valais Alps in late Au­gust 2016. The aim was to find out whether al­ti­tude sick­ness ac­tu­al­ly makes the ves­sel walls per­me­able to flu­id and pro­tein.
Dis­cov­ery of and farewell to Phi­lae
Image 13/19, Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA.

Discovery of and farewell to Philae

Af­ter a 10-year jour­ney through space, the Roset­ta comet or­biter reached the or­bit of the 67P/Churyu­mov-Gerasi­menko comet in Au­gust 2014. In Novem­ber 2014, the wash­ing ma­chine-sized Phi­lae probe land­ed on the comet and sent da­ta from its sur­face. As Phi­lae had even­tu­al­ly land­ed some dis­tance from its orig­i­nal land­ing site, sci­en­tists had long been un­able to de­ter­mine the probe's ex­act lo­ca­tion. They on­ly re­cent­ly dis­cov­ered the land­ing craft, dur­ing the run up to the end of the mis­sion in Septem­ber 2016.
Pop­corn at sea
Image 14/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Popcorn at sea

Hi­jacked fer­ries, peo­ple over­board – in ear­ly Septem­ber 2016, DLR re­searchers and their project part­ner, EM­Sec (Re­al-Time Ser­vices for Mar­itime Se­cu­ri­ty) spent a week re­hears­ing var­i­ous mar­itime se­cu­ri­ty sce­nar­ios in the Ger­man Bight near He­ligoland. A blan­ket of pop­corn was used to sim­u­late a dan­ger­ous sub­stance in the sea, such as an oil slick, for ex­am­ple.
Bet­ter weath­er fore­casts
Image 15/19, Credit: KIT, Florian Pantillon.

Better weather forecasts

In Septem­ber 2016, re­searchers used the DLR's HA­LO re­search air­craft to study the at­mo­sphere in the weath­er kitchen over the North At­lantic. The da­ta is in­tend­ed to help pro­vide bet­ter weath­er fore­casts from the com­pli­cat­ed con­di­tions.
First flight of four-passenger fuel cell aircraft
First flight of four-pas­sen­ger fu­el cell air­craft
Image 16/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

First flight of four-passenger fuel cell aircraft

In Septem­ber 2016, Hy4, the first four-seater pas­sen­ger air­craft pow­ered sole­ly by a fu­el cell sys­tem, em­barked on its first flight from Stuttgart air­port.
Ok­to­ber­fest from above
Image 17/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Oktoberfest from above

With the help of a DLR cam­era sys­tem, re­searchers ob­served the 2016 Ok­to­ber­fest from above dur­ing a flight over the event. The da­ta col­lect­ed is in­tend­ed to help emer­gen­cy and res­cue crews ef­fec­tive­ly man­age vis­i­tor flows and guar­an­tee res­cue lo­gis­tics.
Tow­er pow­er plant in Neva­da/USA
Image 18/19, Credit: SolarReserve.

Tower power plant in Nevada/USA

A DLR study pub­lished in Oc­to­ber 2016 shows that un­der to­day's con­di­tions, the com­bi­na­tion of so­lar ther­mal pow­er plants and pho­to­volta­ic plants is usu­al­ly more cost-ef­fec­tive than the use of just one of the two tech­nolo­gies.
Soft­er land­ing
Image 19/19, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Softer landing

In Novem­ber, soft­er land­ing ap­proach­es as a re­sult of a new­ly de­vel­oped pi­lot as­sis­tance sys­tem were test­ed in Frank­furt, us­ing the A320 ATRA (Ad­vanced Tech­nol­o­gy Re­search Air­craft) re­search air­craft.

A test simulating crashes between high-speed trains, hunting for clouds in West Africa, the maiden flight of a four-passenger fuel cell aircraft – 2016 at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been a year of numerous research highlights. Visit our photo gallery to view a selection of these highlights as well as our DLR year in review film.

Discovery of the missing lander Philae

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited DLR and ESA in May, where she announced that the German astronaut Alexander Gerst will embark on a second space mission to the International Space Station in 2018. The German fire detection satellite BIROS was launched in June, and now orbits Earth at an altitude of 515 kilometres, where it detects forest fires and other high temperature events. In the days that preceded the end of the Rosetta mission in September 2016, scientists spotted the landing craft Philae in a picture acquired by Rosetta. Due to Philae's 'unexpected' landing site in November 2014, moved away from the originally planned site, the scientists had not been able to pin down its exact location. Knowing the landing site, the researchers can better classify the data of the landing device. More events and highlights from the past year can be found on our space page.

In the steps of Otto Lilienthal

DLR scientists tested a full-scale replica of Otto Lilienthal's flying machine in the wind tunnel and were therefore able to acquire new insight into the causes of the aviation pioneer's crash more than one century ago. DLR's High Altitude Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO) and Falcon travelled the world in 2016, conducting atmospheric measurements, for example above West Africa where the air is polluted by forest fires. The A320 ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) was in Frankfurt in November, where it carried out tests on quieter landing approaches. All of the highlights of DLR's aeronautics research can be found on our aeronautics page.

Electric flight

The Hy4, the world's first four-passenger aircraft powered solely by a hydrogen fuel cell battery system, took off on its maiden flight from Stuttgart Airport in September. Hydrogen was, already in the 1970s, an important alternative fuel for DLR research, and Europe's first car was fuelled by hydrogen at DLR, where the first car in Europe was refuelled. For 40 years now, DLR has been conducting research into the issues of energy and energy efficiency, and last year looked back on the milestones in DLR energy research and the impetus it has given to energy policy. More events and highlights from the past year can be found on our energy page.

Crash test for trains

In August, DLR scientists demonstrated during a crash test for high-speed trains that an innovative lightweight wagon design, with a new crash concept, is able to absorb a large proportion of the impact energy. New communication systems between high-speed train were also tested by DLR researchers during night trips by rail in Italy. Visit our transport page for additional highlights.

Popcorn on the sea

Hijacked ferries and the hunt for a man overboard – for one week at the beginning of September, DLR scientists and their partners in the EM­Sec project (Re­al-time Ser­vices for Mar­itime Se­cu­ri­ty) travelled to the German Bight off the island of Heligoland to test, in a variety of scenarios, how maritime security can be preserved. In the PHAROS Project (Project on a Multi-Hazard Open Platform for Satellite Based Downstream Services), DLR pilots and scientists in Catalonia showed how remote sensing images can be used successfully in disaster management during forest fires. Visit our security page for additional highlights.

Pictures of the year 2016
Video Pictures of the year 2016
Credit: DLR

  • Andreas Schütz
    DLR Spokesper­son, Head of Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-2474
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
  • Dorothee Bürkle
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Me­dia Re­la­tions, En­er­gy and Trans­port Re­search
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-3492
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

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