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The his­to­ry of DLR

Ludwig Prandtl by the water channel
Lud­wig Prandtl by the wa­ter chan­nel
Image 1/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Ludwig Prandtl by the water channel

Lud­wig Prandtl by the wa­ter chan­nel at the Han­nover Col­lege of Tech­nol­o­gy in 1904.
Model of the Bodensee airship in the small wind tunnel at the Aerodynamic Research Institute
Mod­el of the Bo­densee air­ship in the small wind tun­nel at the Aero­dy­nam­ic Re­search In­sti­tute
Image 2/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Model of the Bodensee airship in the small wind tunnel at the Aerodynamic Research Institute

Mod­el of the Bo­densee air­ship in the small wind tun­nel at the Aero­dy­nam­ic Re­search In­sti­tute of the Kaiser Wil­helm So­ci­ety (AVA), about 1920.
Carl Wieselsberger in the wind tunnel
Carl Wiesels­berg­er in the wind tun­nel
Image 3/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Carl Wieselsberger in the wind tunnel

Carl Wiesels­berg­er in the wind tun­nel of the Aero­dy­nam­ic Re­search In­sti­tute of the Kaiser Wil­helm So­ci­ety (AVA) in Göt­tin­gen, op­er­at­ing at a speed of 30 m/s, about 1921.
Rocket Test Rig D at the Trauen location
Rock­et Test Rig D at the Trauen lo­ca­tion
Image 4/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Rocket Test Rig D at the Trauen location

Rock­et Test Rig D at the Trauen lo­ca­tion of the Ger­man Re­search In­sti­tute for Avi­a­tion (DFL): test run on the up­per stage of the Eu­ropa rock­et, 1966.
The first German research satellite AZUR/GRS A
The first Ger­man re­search satel­lite AZUR/GRS A
Image 5/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The first German research satellite AZUR/GRS A

The first Ger­man re­search satel­lite AZUR/GRS A in an EMI cham­ber (elec­tro­mag­net­ic in­ter­fer­ence cham­ber), 1969.
Helios solar probe
He­lios so­lar probe
Image 6/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Helios solar probe

He­lios so­lar probe: struc­tural mod­el pri­or to the vi­bra­tion test, 1973.
Control centre at the Oberpfaffenhofen site
Con­trol cen­tre at the Oberp­faf­fen­hofen site
Image 7/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Control centre at the Oberpfaffenhofen site

Con­trol cen­tre at the Oberp­faf­fen­hofen site of the Ger­man Test and Re­search In­sti­tute for Avi­a­tion and Space Flight (DFVLR) as part of the D1 mis­sion/STS-61-A, 1985.
Astronauts in the MIR'97 (Soyuz TM-25) mission
As­tro­nauts in the MIR'97 (Soyuz TM-25) mis­sion
Image 8/8, Credit: DLR/NASA

Astronauts in the MIR'97 (Soyuz TM-25) mission

As­tro­nauts in the MIR'97 (Soyuz TM-25) mis­sion on board the Rus­sian space sta­tion MIR, 1997.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and its predecessor organisations have a history spanning over 110 years, including one of the world's first institutions dedicated to aviation research. Key research and countless inventions that now shape and improve modern life emerged within DLR and its forerunners, among them fundamental theories of flying and the modern swept wing that enabled today's cruise flight.

At the same time, however, some of DLR's forebearer organisations – like all the German research institutions operating in the 1930s and 40s – were brought under the Nazi process of Gleichschaltung and involved in the Third Reich's war effort. The research produced during this period helped to prepare for and unleash a war of aggression. Forced labourers were deployed in DLR's predecessors during the Second World War. The forerunner to the Institute of Aerospace Medicine was involved in human experiments in concentration camps. Ludwig Prandtl, the founding father of DLR’s earliest precursor, held a senior position in military research under the National Socialist regime.

DLR assists historians and journalists remembering and reflecting on its past. Moreover, it has set the goal of conducting its own research to address its history and present the results to the public.

In recent years, DLR has prepared and contributed to the creation of a large number of publications on the history of its predecessor organisations. A selection of these publications can be found here (link).

A scientific review charting the history of DLR and its predecessor organisations is currently in preparation.

Image gallery

You can access the Image gallery with historical images of DLR and its preceding organisations, here.

Contact
  • 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
    Contact
  • Jessika Wichner
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Cen­tral Archive
    Telephone: +49 551 709-2153
    Fax: +49 551 709-2948
    Bunsenstr. 10
    Göttingen
    Contact

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