The DLR site at Lampoldshausen, which employs some 230 staff, was founded in 1959 by space pioneer Professor Eugen Sänger to act as a test site for liquid rocket engines. The site went into operation in 1962.
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.