Fifteen years ago, early on the evening of Saturday 10 January 2004, over a dozen scientists crammed into a tiny, somewhat austere room at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) research centre in Berlin Adlershof to stare intently at two monitors. They were awaiting the first images from 'their' experiment, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC).
Paul Zabel spent some 365 days in Antarctica – 257 of them isolated from the outside world – relying only on himself and his comrades in the overwintering crew. The Antarctic gardener, who works at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), has tested the cultivation of vegetables for missions to the Moon and Mars in the EDEN ISS greenhouse, and has succeeded in growing paprikas, tomatoes, cucumbers and different varieties of lettuce and herbs under artificial light.
A very special encounter is set to take place in the Kuiper Belt, six and a half billion kilometres from Earth, right at the beginning of the New Year. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will visit object 2014 MU69, better known as Ultima Thule. At 06:33 CET, New Horizons will fly past Ultima Thule and use its measuring equipment to examine the object from a distance of just 3500 kilometres. New Horizons was launched to space approximately 13 years ago to investigate the dwarf planet Pluto. This is the first close-up exploration of a body beyond Pluto.
Chasing emissions from alternative aircraft fuels with NASA. Successfully setting down a lander on the asteroid Ryugu and collecting data from the surface. Obtaining the first research findings for the autonomous and cooperative driving systems of tomorrow in the Next Generation Car project.
It was a task that required centimetre precision. Over the last few weeks, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have measured every rock shown in the images of the InSight landing site and used the radiometer that is part of the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP³) experiment to analyse the dust on the surface of Mars, in order to determine the ideal point for deploying the InSight mission's instruments.
This image mosaic made up of images acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft shows the well-preserved Korolev Crater on Mars, which is filled with water ice all year round. The crater was named after the renowned Russian rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Pavlovich Korolev.
Alexander Gerst returned to Earth safely in the early hours of 20 December 2018 after 197 days in space, 195 of them on board the International Space Station ISS. The Soyuz MS-09 touched down close to Karaganda in the Kazakh steppe right on schedule at 06:02 Central European Time.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have made an agreement to pool their expertise in space operations. The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt and the German Space Operations Centre (GSOC) in Obepfaffenhofen near Munich have agreed to exploit shared know-how in the fields of mission operations and ground-based infrastructure, jointly developing new concepts, technologies and procedures.
Scenarios for the application of civilian unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are becoming increasingly wide-ranging and diverse. In addition to initial tests of parcel deliveries from the air, the first applications in agriculture and the energy sector are already in use, with inspections carried out using unmanned aerial vehicles.
Three innovative 20-metre-long rotor blades that were developed within the context of the SmartBlades2 project will be assessed under natural weather and wind conditions in Boulder, Colorado (USA) over the next four months.
+++ Update: The Eu:CROPIS mission of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) was successfully launched to space. Following the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 3 December 2018 at 19:34 CET (10:34 Pacific Standard Time), the DLR satellite was successfully placed in orbit at an altitude of 600 kilometres. First radio contact of the approximately refrigerator-sized satellite to the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen took place about one hour and 15 minutes after the launch. In the next two weeks, GSOC will commission the satellite in space and test all functions. In about seven weeks, the researchers will be able to put the first of two greenhouses into operation. Shortly thereafter, the first tomatoes will be cultivated. +++
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has designated three global space weather service centres to assist aviation with observations and forecasts of near-Earth space and atmospheric conditions during strong solar storms. One of these centres will be set up by the Pan-European Consortium for Aviation Space Weather User Services (PECASUS) under the leadership of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).
Just a few weeks from now, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) HP3 Mole will start hammering its way automatically into the subsoil of the Red Planet to measure its inner heat.
On 26 November 2018, NASA's InSight probe is expected to land on Mars' Elysium Planitia plain at a 4.5 degrees north and135.9 degrees east. This video shows a flight over the landing site and surrounding area. It was produced based on a digital terrain model calculated using stereo image data from DLR's High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC).
These images, acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), show a region close to the Nili Fossae. The Nili Fossae are located at the border between the southern highlands and the northern lowlands of Mars.
Twenty years ago today, on 20 November 1998, a Russian Proton rocket took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and carried the first component of the International Space Station, the Zarya module (Zarya is Russian for sunrise), into Earth orbit. Sixteen days later, on 6 December 1998, the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour joined the Russian Zarya module together with the US Unity connecting node.
It will be the deepest hole ever hammered into another celestial body using manmade technology. During the NASA InSight mission, the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), the Mole, which was developed and built by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will penetrate up to five metres deep into the Martian soil to measure the temperature and thermal conductivity of the substrate materials there. This glimpse of the interior of the Red Planet will help us to better understand the formation and evolution of Earth-like bodies.
It is a small piece of cargo – not even half the size of a shoebox – but a group of students from Frankfurt are still tracking its progress with breathless anticipation. After all, the delivery address is none other than the International Space Station (ISS). The contents of the 10 x 10 x 15 centimetre container? An experiment that is set to be performed on the ISS.
On 15 November 2018 at 11:40 CET, the mission team in the Biotechnology Space Support Center (BIOTESC) at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts watched with baited breath. After two-and-a-half years of highly intensive preparations, as well as countless testing and training sessions with CIMON on Earth, you could hear a pin drop – there was an atmosphere of total concentration and thrilled anticipation.
Cosmic radiation poses a major health risk to people in space. Its effect on the human body is a crucial and potentially limiting factor for planned future long-term manned missions in space.