The TanDEM-X mission (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) is based on two nearly identical Earth observation satellites, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X.
Radar satellites emit microwave pulses from an on-board antenna which, scattered back from the Earth's surface, are received again by the satellite. The runtime of these pulses is used to compute distances to the surface, which may be developed into a terrain model.
Remote sensing data from Earth observation satellites are essential for many geoscientific questions. They document, for example, degrees of urbanisation and industrialisation, traffic loads, air pollution, and areas that are used for agriculture and forestry.
K2 in the Himalayas is commonly regarded as one of the world's most beautiful mountains, but also as the eight-thousand-metre peak that is most difficult to climb.
Earth's outer neighbour is a desert planet. Its diameter is only half that of Earth, but its surface area is nevertheless as large as that of all terrestrial continents put together.
The flow of heat from the interior of a planet tells us about its structure, composition, and – most importantly – its thermal evolution. Despite the large number of planetary probes on the job already, these investigations are only beginning.
ESA's Mars Express space probe bears some resemblance to the legendary VW beetle: it goes on and on and on. Europe's first planetary probe has been exploring Mars since 2003, having encircled the planet more than eleven thousand times.
The most thrilling event that recently occurred in international planetary research was the mission of NASA's Dawn space probe to the asteroid Vesta. In 2011 and 2012, the orbiter explored the third-largest and second-heaviest body between Mars and Jupiter.
How great is the danger of Earth colliding with an asteroid? And what could we do if we found that an asteroid crossing the Earth's orbit, one of the more than 8,000 known Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), is on a collision course with our cosmic home?
Is there life under the icy armour of Saturn's moon Enceladus? Active surface fissures that spew ice – the so-called cryovolcanoes – throw enormous jets of water ice into space, jets that harbour organic compounds and thus a chance of life.
Jupiter and its 67 moons might be regarded as a miniature Solar System. Knowing more about this gas giant, its powerful magnetic field and, most importantly, its four large 'Galilean' satellites is important for our understanding of certain fundamental processes in the Solar System.
Growing steadily, our need for information characterises our modern communication-based society. Internet, mail, and text messages ensure that we can be reached everywhere and at any time via mobile phone, tablet PC, or notebook.
'Bring me a handful of moon dust, and I will explain the universe to you' – thus the claim made by Harold Urey, a Nobel laureate, even before humans had arrived on the moon.
Several tons of extra-terrestrial material hit the Earth's atmosphere every day. Most of the particles are so tiny that they burn up entirely, becoming visible only as meteors, if at all. Most of what is left drops into the oceans or on uninhabited country.
In 2008, a group of German researchers better known as Part-Time Scientists (PTS) joined efforts to build their own lunar rover as a competition entry for the 'Google Lunar X PRIZE'. The award offered to the winning entry - a safe landing on the Moon by the end of 2015.
MASCOT (mobile asteroid surface scout) is a highly-integrated asteroid lander whose development was co-ordinated by DLR scientists collaborating with the French space agency CNES and the Japanese space authority JAXA.
Developed by DLR, the RoboMobil (ROMO) embodies a two-seater electro-mobility concept derived from robotics and planetary rover technology.
The DLR MIRO is the second generation of a versatile robot arm for surgical applications, developed at the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics.
Located at Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich, the German Space Operations Centre (GSOC) is part of DLRs space operations and astronaut training division, the key institution for implementing space missions in Germany.
Among other things, weightlessness affects the human cardiovascular system, the consequence being that astronauts who have just returned to Earth after a prolonged stay in space are able to stand upright only within limits.
DLR is researching a special biofilter system (combined regenerative organic-food production, CROP) for reducing organic waste.
For ten years, DLR has been developing return technology under the SHEFEX programme that will enable flying objects to enter the atmosphere and land safely after a flight in space.
ESA's EXPERT nose cap relates to the re-entry of spacecraft into the Earth's atmosphere. Developed by the German Aerospace Centre, EXPERT's fibre-ceramic nose cap must withstand extreme surface temperatures of about 2,100 degrees Celsius.
The continuously increasing number of space debris endangers space faring especially in low earth orbits.
DLR's competence in the development and operation of engine test stands are unique in Europe. For more than 50 years now, rocket and space-system propulsion units have been tested and developed at the Lampoldshausen site.
Thrust-chamber pressure is one of the most important performance parameters of all modern rocket engines. The higher the pressure, the greater the efficiency with which the engine converts the chemical energy of the fuel into thrust.
Electric thrusters are much more efficient than chemical drives in controlling the orbit and attitude of a satellite. Specific impulse is the yardstick of efficiency. A high specific impulse reduces fuel consumption and prolongs the duration of a mission.