The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be at the Paris Air Show from 19 to 25 June 2017. This year, the focus will be on mobility and digitalisation. In Hall 2C at the German Community stand, DLR will showcase technological innovations for eco-efficient flying with lower carbon dioxide and noise emissions, as well as a pioneering mission for global monitoring of dynamic Earth systems on the ground and in the atmosphere, with ever larger quantities of data handled professionally. An asteroid mission and new technological developments for rocket engines complete the trade show appearance. The agreements of two future collaborations between DLR and ONERA and Airbus on the one hand, and Embraer on the other, will be signed on 21 June 2017.
"As an engineering and scientific research facility, DLR, as a partner to industry, is laying the technological foundations for new aerospace products," emphasises Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board. "Aerospace is an integral part of modern society. It is important to shape these technologies responsibly in the interest of society and to make lasting use of them – a task that DLR is dedicated to on behalf of the government."
The 52 Paris Air Show, one of the world's largest aviation trade shows, also provides a platform for new partnerships. Exhibitors from more than 50 countries and trade visitors from approximately 90 countries are attending this year's trade show in Le Bourget. One of the focal points is start-ups, more than 100 of which will be displaying their products. At the trade fair there will be a B2B meeting programme in which the exchange of knowledge and experience in combination with the search for solutions in the aerospace sector will take centre stage.
"With its presence at Le Bourget 2017 Air Show in Paris, the German aerospace industry is demonstrating its competitiveness for the mobility of the future. In the area of digitalisation in particular, which increasingly determines the entire lifecycle of the products, German enterprises are involved from development to operation," explains Wolfgang Scheremet, Director General of Industrial Policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. "The basis for the success of the industry is, in addition to the wealth of ideas offered by companies, the promotion of innovation through the aviation research programme (LuFo) and our space programmes at the national and European level. As a national research facility and space agency, DLR contributes significantly to this and to the strengthening of Germany as a scientific and economic location."
DLR will be showcasing the following aerospace topics at this year's air show in Paris:
CRISPmulti – Quiet and environment-friendly engines of the future
The efficiency of the thrust generation of an engine increases as the velocity of the exhaust airflow is reduced. This also decreases what is referred to as exhaust noise, as vortex formation on the boundary of the exhaust gas flow – one of the main sources of engine noise – declines. In the CRISPmulti project (Counter Rotating Integrated Shrouded Propfan), two counter-rotating, shrouded rotors form the fan. This concept offers the opportunity to make aircraft engines more efficient, more environmentally friendly and quieter, as well as to reduce the weight and the outside diameter of the engine.
ATRA research aircraft – Improved aerodynamics with active flow control
At the DLR stand, a highly detailed technical model of the largest DLR research aircraft, the Airbus A320 ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft), provides insights into current research on active flow control. On the modular functional model, consisting of 400 individual components, a side control unit with a simplified extraction system will illustrate the HLFC technology (Hybrid Laminar Flow Control) which, as part of the EU AFLoNext project (Active Flow Loads & Noise Control on Next Generation Wing), is to be tested for the first time this year in flight tests. Furthermore, an extremely efficient UHBR engine (Ultra High Bypass Ratio) will be shown on the model and will inform visitors about current activities in the EU Clean Sky 2 project on active flow control at the engine-wing transition.
ACCESS and ECLIF – Research for climate-friendly aviation fuels
Aircraft engines emit soot particles. These serve as condensation nuclei for small droplets and ice crystals, driving the formation of contrails. These can form so-called longer-lasting contrails, which today have a similar effect on Earth’s climate to that of all the aviation-related carbon dioxide emissions from air transport that have accumulated in the atmosphere for over a century. Biofuel blending reduces soot particle emissions of aircraft by 50 to 70 percent compared to conventional fuel, according to a study published in the scientific journal Nature. The findings are based on an international flight experiment between NASA, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. The results provide important information on how the use of biofuels in aviation can contribute to making air transport more environmentally friendly. In early 2018, NASA will participate with the DC-8 in a series of research flights in Germany conducted as part of DLR’s own project, ECLIF (Emission and Climate Impact of alternative Fuel).
Climate-optimised flight routes
In addition to the optimisation of aircraft and engines, reducing the climatic impact of air transport will require route changes. A detailed analysis of meteorological conditions at specific times of the day has revealed that the climatic impact of aviation emissions differs by a factor of 10, depending on the prevailing weather conditions. This means there is particular potential for reducing the climatic impact of aviation, especially by optimising non-carbon dioxide emissions – nitrogen oxides, contrails and soot particles – by preventing the formation of contrails and the greenhouse gas ozone. The findings of a one-day study of the North Atlantic Flight Corridor indicate that slight variations in the flight routes substantially reduce the effects of contrails and ozone. The reduction in environmental impact (approx. 25 percent) would be more than sufficient to justify the marginal increase in fuel consumption and operating costs (by around 0.5 percent).
The Franco-German MERLIN climate mission
After carbon dioxide (CO2), methane is the largest contributor to human-caused global warming. A committee of scientists appointed by the United Nations confirmed that methane outstrips the global warming potential of carbon dioxide by a factor of 25. Acquiring a better understanding of the methane cycle is essential in order to introduce effective climate protection. Highly precise, global measurement of methane content in Earth’s atmosphere can only be performed from space. Particular key regions like tropical wetlands, rainforests and expanses of permafrost are difficult to access without satellites. Starting in 2021, the minisatellite MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission) will be tasked with detecting and monitoring methane from an altitude of approximately 500 kilometres using a LIDAR instrument (Light Detecting and Ranging). The aim of the three-year DLR and French space agency CNES mission is the creation of a global world map of methane concentrations.
Tandem-L – Mapping dynamic processes on the Earth's surface
Tandem-L is a proposal for a highly innovative satellite mission for the global ob¬servation of dynamic processes unfolding on the Earth’s surface in hitherto unparalleled quality and resolution. Because of its novel imaging techniques and its enormous recording capacity by means of two radar satellites using the eponymous L-band, Tandem-L will provide much-needed information in terms of the biosphere, geosphere, cryosphere and hydrosphere. Important mission objectives include global measurement of forest biomass for a greater understanding of the carbon cycle; the systematic mapping of deformation on the Earth’s surface in a millimetre range for the research of earthquakes and the performance of risk analysis; the quantification of glacier movements and melting processes in the polar regions; the expansive observation of ocean currents; as well as scaled measurements of variations in soil humidity close to ground level. Tandem-L will hence make a decisive contribution to increasing our understanding of the dynamic processes on the Earth's surface and will provide important information regarding the impact and extent of climate change that has not been available thus far.
FireBIRD – Fire detection by satellite
FireBIRD is an Earth observation mission with the primary goal of monitoring fires from a remote location in space. It involves the detection and measurement of so-called high temperature events and the provision of remote sensing data for research at DLR and for external partners. The mission has purely scientific objectives, and all segments of this Earth observation mission are controlled by DLR. The space segment consists of the two satellites TET-1 (Technology Experiment Carrier) and BIROS (Berlin InfraRed Optical System). The TET-1 satellite has been circling Earth in a polar orbit since July 2012 and has successfully concluded the first part of its mission as a technology testing platform. The BIROS satellite has the same bus as TET-1, but is additionally equipped with a propulsion system for active attitude and orbit control. BIROS was launched on 22 June 2016 at 05:55 CEST. The main payload of both satellites is a multispectral camera system, which operates in the middle and far infrared ranges. The mid-infrared range is ideal for fire detection, while the far infrared system mainly records the background temperature as a benchmark.
Laser Communications Terminal – Technology for the European data highway in space
Global networking in our information society requires increasingly large data transmission rates. Satellite communications presents an excellent opportunity as an addition to terrestrial networks. The technology used for this groundbreaking datalink comes from Germany: the Laser Communications Terminal (LCT) was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Administration under the aegis of Tesat-Spacecom GmbH, using funds provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Laser Communications Terminals are core parts of the emerging, satellite-assisted European data highway EDRS (European Data Relay System): within EDRS, satellites use laser to transmit real-time data to relay nodes in space, which send them to ground stations on Earth in real time.
Cost-efficient, powerful rocket engines
The French national space agency CNES, Airbus Safran Launchers/Ariane Group and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are collaborating within the Prometheus project to develop a cost-efficient, high-thrust and reusable rocket engine powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and methane.
A fuel mixture of methane and liquid oxygen has an auspicious role to play in the development of new liquid rocket fuels. Methane's potential extends from its addition to the current rocket fuels used in the Ariane launchers, to a complete replacement of liquid hydrogen. A 12-month test campaign at the P3 test rig at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen yielded important findings for the continued development of necessary, crucial technologies such as the combustion chamber. The next objective is to test a LOX/methane technology demonstrator with 100 tons of thrust under representative conditions. This engine has the potential to reduce the costs of the Vulcain main stage propulsion system by a factor of 10. Research and technology development in the Prometheus project have been a part of the Future Launchers Preparatory Programme by the European Space Agency ESA since 2016.
MASCOT – Landing on an asteroid
The MASCOT asteroid lander, developed by DLR together with the French space agency CNES, is en route to the asteroid Ryugu (1999 JU3). On 3 December 2014, the ‘Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout’ began its journey on board the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft. It will reach its target in the summer of 2018. While the Hayabusa2 orbiter will collect material from its surface during its close-proximity flight over the asteroid and bring it back to Earth, MASCOT will touch down on Ryugu and, for the first time in the history of space travel, carry out in situ measurements at multiple locations on an asteroid.