On 16 September 2019 at 04:14 CEST, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is expected to land at Stuttgart Airport. The airborne observatory is a joint project by the US space agency NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
The Kangerlussuaq Glacier is the largest glacier on the southeast coast of Greenland and flows into the fjord of the same name. The glacier front, which in the past was protected by an ice mélange – a mixture of sea ice and calved icebergs – is retreating at an increasing rate. The glacier calves approximately 24 cubic kilometres of ice into the ocean every year. This corresponds to about five percent of the amount of ice lost annually by the entire Greenland ice sheet. Using a time series of 150 TanDEM-X elevation models of the Kangerlugssuaq Glacier, scientists from Swansea University in the United Kingdom have measured the decrease in the glacier’s surface height.
The German High Altitude and Long Range (HALO) research aircraft will be exploring the atmosphere in the southern hemisphere and its impact on climate change during September and November 2019 as part of the SOUTHTRAC (Transport and Composition of the Southern Hemisphere UTLS) mission. The main objective of the first phase of the campaign is to investigate gravity waves at the southern tip of South America and over Antarctica.
Approach and landing are among the most labour-intensive flight phases. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has developed the Low Noise Augmentation System (LNAS) in order to support pilots as they perform the complex procedures required for a low-noise approach.
From 10 to 15 September 2019 at the IAA New Mobility World in Frankfurt, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will be exhibiting the prototype of its Urban Modular Vehicle (UMV) for the first time. This intelligent, modular electric city car brings together DLR research in the fields of automated and networked driving, propulsion technology, vehicle design and structure, energy management and chassis mechatronics. Further exhibits at the DLR stand (Hall 5, D04) will explain how automated driving can be tested using a high-tech test infrastructure and how mobility behaviour can be recorded quickly and efficiently using smartphones.
The prototype of an intelligent, modular electric urban car, infrastructure with high-tech sensors for testing automated and networked vehicles, and measuring mobility behaviour with smartphones – at IAA New Mobility World in Frankfurt, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be presenting forward-looking technologies and projects for tomorrow’s mobility.
The Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON (CIMON) mobile astronaut assistant, which is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), returned to Earth on 27 August 2019. The SpaceX CRS-18 Dragon spacecraft carrying CIMON was undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 16:59 CEST; the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean approximately 480 kilometres southwest of Los Angeles and was recovered at 22:21 CEST.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has traditionally attended the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS, Russia's national aerospace show, which takes place every two years in Zhukovsky, Moscow. This year the event will take place from 27 August to 1 September 2019 and will be DLR's eighth appearance.
Future food production in deserts and cold regions, as well as under the inhospitable conditions of future space missions to the Moon and Mars, is providing the stimulus for research in the Antarctic greenhouse project EDEN ISS, which is led by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
In the summer of 2018, the asteroid Ryugu, which measures only approximately 850 metres across, was visited by the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft. On board was the 10-kilogram German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) – a lander no bigger than a microwave oven and equipped with four instruments.
The EDRS-C satellite was successfully launched at 21:30 CEST on 6 August 2019. After receiving the first telemetry data, the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) took over operation of the satellite. Now that the first critical launch phase with several orbital manoeuvres has been completed EDRS-C can enter the test phase. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) project manager in charge is Mission Operations Director Ralf Faller.
Against the backdrop of climate change, the aviation industry is increasingly becoming the focus of debate in wider society. Innovations geared towards more environment-friendly air transport are becoming more prevalent.
Sand, dust and rocks of different colours cover extensive areas of the Terra Cimmeria highland region, one of the oldest landscapes on Mars. The variations in colour are due to differences in the mineralogy as well as the texture of the surface material and are typical of the ancient Mars highlands.
With the launch of the first EDRS-C communications satellite on 6 August 2019, a milestone has been reached for the EDRS system. EDRS is a globally unique network of geostationary relay satellites that can deliver data volumes of up to 1.8 gigabits per second to Earth with minimal delay using laser communications.
The final preparations for the launch of the EDRS-C satellite are currently underway at the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen. The communications satellite is scheduled to lift off from the European Spaceport in French Guiana on 6 August 2019 and will be a core component of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) – the 'space data highway'.
A team from the University of Stuttgart won the German part of this year's NASA/DLR Design Challenge for their HyBird design on 1 August 2019. This year is the third in which the student competition has taken place, and was dedicated to connecting remote regions of the Earth with major metropolises.
The ESA BioRock space experiment was carried into orbit, bound for the International Space Station (ISS), on 25 July 2019 as part of the SpaceX CRS-18 mission. CRS-18 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, aboard a Falcon 9 launcher.
In a globalised world, logistics and networking are becoming increasingly important. Airborne parcel deliveries are a key area of interest for the future, and have considerable potential in a number of applications. As part of the ALAADy (Automated Low Altitude Air Delivery) system and ALAADy Demonstrator projects, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is conducting research into automated, uncrewed air transport at low altitudes.
After many years of continued growth in global air traffic, with more and more flights, passengers and flight connections, a slowdown is now becoming apparent. The number of passenger aircraft movements worldwide increased by only 1.5 percent in June – from 3.3 million in June 2018 to just under 3.4 million in June of this year.
The Initial Services provided by the European satellite navigation system – Galileo – have been successfully restored. Galileo was affected by a technical incident related to its ground infrastructure. This event led to a temporary interruption of the globally available Galileo navigation and timing services, with the exception of the Galileo Search and Rescue Service. The Search and Rescue Service, which is used to locate and assist people in emergency situations, for example, at sea or in remote, mountainous areas, was not affected and remained operational. The navigation service impact was caused by a malfunction of some equipment in the Galileo control centres, which generate the system time and calculate orbit predictions; these data are used to produce the navigation messages. The disruption affected various elements at the control centres in Fucino (Italy) and at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen.