On 14 February 2019, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) presented some of its planned research and management activities for 2019 at its annual press conference in Berlin. Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board addressed the challenges and goals for the coming year.
The onset of winter at the airport – heavy snowfall is forecast, so restricted operations can be expected for several hours. To ensure that the processes continue to run smoothly even during severe weather events in winter, close coordination and cooperation between all key players at the airport are essential.
Winter has arrived, and aircraft are suffering in the biting cold. As is the case with cars, ice can form on aircraft flight deck windows and flight instrument sensors. The wings are also among the critical points of aircraft, and icing can lead to significant aerodynamic penalties.
Fewer soot particles in the exhaust stream of aircraft reduces the formation of ice crystals and therefore the climate impact of the resulting contrail cirrus. Halving the ice particles that form in the contrail decreases the climate-warming effect of the contrail cirrus by 20 percent.
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.
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).
Representatives from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (UBC) came together in Augsburg to sign a cooperation agreement for the DLR@UBC research initiative.
Prices for low-cost flights stagnated during the 2018 summer season, then again showing some slight increases, accompanied by another massive expansion of low-cost airlines in Germany. Eurowings and Easyjet expanded their network with the acquisition of numerous aircraft and routes from the bankrupt Air Berlin, while meanwhile Ryanair expanded its operations at Frankfurt Airport into one of its biggest bases in Germany.
Global maritime routes are the backbone of worldwide trade, yet at the same time constitute highly sensitive infrastructure. Ships are exposed to a multitude of risks, be it extreme weather, accidents or criminal activities. Being able to quickly get an overview of any potentially dangerous situation is vital.
The Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems, the Institute of Structures and Design, the Institute of Materials Research and the Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP) – at its locations in Stade and Augsburg – of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have teamed up to develop automated processes for the production of components made of high-performance fibre metal laminates.
The aircraft manufacturer Embraer, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) and German–Dutch Wind Tunnels (DNW) have succeeded in testing an innovative method for examining the safety of future aircraft. In another first, they have been able to analyse the flutter behaviour of a wing in real time.
The DLR/NASA Design Challenge has just been held for the second time. This year, the partners awarded the prizes for the winning concepts at a joint symposium held at the NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. Present was the winning German team from the Technical University of Munich with their ultra-efficient aircraft design, the 'eRay' aircraft concept, which has no windows and only one main turbofan engine supplemented with an arrangement of smaller electric motors.
Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; FDLR) Microwaves and Radar Institute are developing special radar technologies and analytical methods that enable the highly accurate observation of permafrost. As part of DLR's Permafrost Airborne SAR Experiment (PermASAR), they are carrying out extensive measurement flights over the permafrost region of Canada.
A buzzing noise fills the summer air above the Heilbronn Weingenossenschaft vineyards. The source – a small remote-controlled hexacopter hovering a few metres above the vines. Hanging below it is a black box – slightly larger than a shoebox – that contains a laser-based detection system.
The operating conditions might be unconventional, and the means of transport is certainly far from common, but a modular aerial camera system (MACS) developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been installed on board the POLAR 5 research aircraft of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).
Alternative propulsion and low energy consumption, framed in revolutionary forms. German students are displaying immense creativity and technical skill to design the quiet and eco-friendly aircraft of the future. In Braunschweig, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) recently announced the national winners of a competition that was jointly organised with NASA to identify the best ideas for the future of airborne vehicles.
How can large amounts of energy be stored quickly, cost-effectively and over longer periods of time, where required? In the cross-sectoral GigaStore project, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is working on the further development of power and heat storage for all areas of application.
Transporting humanitarian supplies with an unmanned helicopter to hard-to-reach areas was the goal of a two-week mission by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luf- und Raumfaht; DLR) in the Dominican Republic. Together with the Dutch organisation Wings for Aid and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the researchers carried out various missions under realistic operating conditions.
How can ever-larger volumes of scientific data be processed and evaluated? And how can Earth observation data be meaningfully combined with ground measurements, thereby opening up new sources of information? In the cross-sectoral Big Data Platform project, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are devising new methods for the future-oriented field of Big Data Science. The interdisciplinary research project involves 21 DLR institutes from the research fields of spaceflight, aeronautics, transport, energy, digitalisation and security – all working together. The project is set to run for four years and has received more than 21 million euro of funding.
Flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters can isolate people. These people have to be provided with essential humanitarian supplies as quickly as possible. In a new coalition for innovation, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is cooperating with the Dutch Wings for Aid Foundation and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to develop new assistance scenarios in which Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are used to deliver the necessary supplies.