Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, visited the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Oberpfaffenhofen on 5 March 2019.
“We are delighted that the EU Commissioner was able to get a first-hand impression of our space activities. As one of Europe’s largest space research facility, DLR is an important partner of the EU Copernicus and Galileo programmes as well as the Framework Programmes for Research,” said Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board.
The EU Commissioner visited the Robotics and Mechatronics Center (RMC). The RMC brings together the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, the Institute of System Dynamics and Control and the Institute of Optical Sensor Systems (Berlin). The RMC is one of the largest and most successful facilities of its kind in Europe. The long-term objective of its work in the field of robotics has always been to support people and relieve them of the need to perform dangerous tasks.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska was particularly interested in the Centre for Satellite-Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at the Earth Observation Center (EOC). The EOC conducts research in the field of remote sensing. EOC scientists are working on finding answers to pressing societal questions relating to the environment and climate, mobility and planning, prevention and management of natural disasters, and civilian security. The EOC comprises the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) and the Remote Sensing Technology Institute, with sites in Oberpfaffenhofen, Neustrelitz and Berlin-Adlershof, and the Maritime Safety and Security Lab in Bremen. The ZKI acquires and analyses Earth observation data, such as satellite and aerial images and other geodata. Scientists use this to information to generate up-to-date situational awareness before, during and after disaster and crisis situations, or for major planned events. ZKI users within Germany and further afield include government decision-makers, situation centres and relief organisations. The ground-based, airborne and satellite-based sensors used for remote sensing are designed and continuously developed at the Microwaves and Radar Technology Institute – and this institute was the next stop on the commissioner’s itinerary. One key area of focus for the scientists here is the conception and creation of high-resolution imaging radar systems based on the principle of synthetic aperture radar (SAR).
The Polish government official then visited the Institute of Communications and Navigation. Here, the focus is on security-critical applications, which require highly reliable positioning and time information in the field of satellite navigation, as well as tracking capabilities within street canyons and buildings.
The last port of call was the Galileo Control Centre. Located in Oberpfaffenhofen, this DLR facility is setting ambitious objectives for the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system. The Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR ) mbH is a DLR company. Since 2008 it has been carrying out aerospace projects under industrial conditions, with an emphasis on satellite-based navigation. The heart of the Galileo project – the Galileo Control Centre – is located in Oberpfaffenhofen.