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.
The Ariane launch vehicle family and the Vega launcher guarantee Europe's independent access to space. With an eye on the now rapidly changing situation in the launch market, the question is being asked – how can this successful portfolio of space launchers be expanded in the future? Additionally, what is the outlook in this for new and unconventional ideas?