About the author
Manuela Braun

Manuela Braun has been doing public relations for DLR since 2010. As a trained journalist in print and online, she loves to be on site where research topics are within reach. In Baikonur, she followed Alexander Gerst's launches to the International Space Station ISS. When the lander Philae made its spectacular landing on the comet Churuymov-Gerasimenko 500 million kilometres from Earth, she followed the events in the lander control room in Cologne. She is also present at rocket launches in Sweden or on board DLR research aircraft and looks over the scientists' shoulders as they work. But she also finds the work in DLR's laboratories exciting: when vehicles are tested or instruments are assembled. When test subjects lie on the centrifuge for studies or robots learn the next moves. With her reports, portraits and interviews, she provides insights into DLR's working world and projects.

Posts by Manuela Braun
19. April 2023
Manuela Braun
In the service of human rights
Harald Schneider is the Human Rights Officer at DLR and Catherine Sinner is a Human Rights Expert. These are two official functions that you probably would not expect to find in a German research institution. Fair wages, occupational health and safety for all employees, workers’ councils and, of course, neither child nor forced labour – for DLR this is all a matter of course. And yet, DLR works with around 10,000 suppliers. Every day, thousands of products and services are ordered so that the scientists can, for example, launch experiments on rockets, develop robots, operate solar towers or research the vehicles of the future. And things might be different for these suppliers. Our blog post shows what the work of our two human rights experts looks like. read more
13. February 2023
Manuela Braun
The life of a DLR pilot: a combination of campaign assignments and regular day-to-day tasks
Thomas Kalfas is a pilot at DLR. He has flown our HALO research aircraft over the Amazon rainforest in Brazil for the CAFE-Brazil research campaign. As he soared over the endless rainforest, the team of researchers in the cabin behind him used their instruments to study the atmospheric composition. Thomas’ day-to-day life consists of measurement flights and securing approvals, but he also carries out engineering tasks on the computer. As far as he is concerned, this variety of campaign assignments in places like Manaus and desk-based tasks in Oberpfaffenhofen are what make his job so appealing. Thomas explains how he first joined DLR’s Flight Experiments facility as a pilot and how he is currently faring in terms of work-life balance now that he is a father. read more
02. February 2023
Manuela Braun
Gathering airborne data, even with a blocked nose
During climate research campaigns like CAFE-Brazil, Christian Mallaun is always running out of time: immediately after each flight, he provides vital data on the temperature, humidity, aircraft position and wind speeds recorded during the measurement flights. The science teams researching the chemical processes in the atmosphere above the Amazon rainforest in Brazil require this information to be able to evaluate the data collected by their own on-board instruments. That’s why Christian takes turns with his colleagues from the Measurement and Sensor Technology group at DLR's Flight Experiments facility to accompany the deployment of the HALO research aircraft. It's a job that requires both accuracy and speed but is never boring. Back at the desk at home, it's time for the detailed analysis. read more
25. January 2023
Manuela Braun
Checking HALO to fly safely over Brazil's rainforest
Sandrine Battesti is a very precise person. And at DLR, she has the power to say no. Although such sticklers for detail could be called pedantic, in Sandrine's case it is immensely important that she is as precise as possible. After all, it is her job to check the modifications and equipment installed on our research aircraft, HALO. She is responsible for ensuring that HALO, with its pilots, scientists and all instruments, safely completes its flights over the Amazon. Without her careful scrutiny, there is no approval. If she doesn't give the green light, the plane stays on the ground. In our latest blog post, we show why her work involves copious paperwork and a great deal of responsibility. read more
18. January 2023
Manuela Braun
Wings over the Amazon: project management for climate research
These days, Thomas Sprünken’s daily commute takes him through the urban traffic of Manaus. Outside, the temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius and humidity is over 80 percent. The project manager is on his way to the aircraft hangar at the Eduardo Gomes airport that currently houses HALO, the High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft designed to carry 16 climate research instruments over the tropical rainforest. Thomas is on site with a team of technicians, engineers and pilots from our Flight Experiments facility to get the CAFE-Brazil campaign off the ground. But his work – planning the HALO measurement campaign – started much earlier: read our blog post to find out how the project manager makes it all happen. read more
03. January 2023
Manuela Braun
Learning from mice, naked mole rats and humans
Titiaan Post is a doctoral student at our Institute of Aerospace Medicine. The 32-year-old moved to DLR from the Netherlands to conduct research for his doctorate with us. Since then he has conducted several studies with test participants - always on the trail of the effects of oxygen deficiency on the human body and its performance. His role models: Mice and naked mole rats, which react and adapt to oxygen deficiency. A portrait introduces our doctoral student. read more
25. November 2022
Manuela Braun
International exchange: across the big pond for networking
Different working cultures, collaboration with PhD students from a variety of nationalities and insights into the latest research currently underway at the University of Michigan and the Glenn Research Center of the U.S. space agency NASA - when Thomas Backhaus returned to DLR in Dresden from his six-week research stay in the USA, his head was full of new impressions and experiences. Our blog post reports on his experience. read more
23. November 2022
Manuela Braun
Finding the right candidates using psychology
When humans set foot on the Moon again in the next few decades, it is very likely that Viktor Oubaid will have already met the European astronaut. Chances are that he knows how this person works in a team, how good his or her memory and concentration skills are, as well as the astronaut's motivation for applying for this somewhat special profession. Oubaid is a psychologist at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine and was part of the selection team for both the astronaut class of 2008 and the new astronaut class of 2022. - He tells us what brought him into aerospace psychology and how to test objectively. read more
14. November 2022
Manuela Braun
The Moon’s terrestrial outpost - the LUNA facility
Seven hundred square metres and nine meters high – these are the dimensions of the hall in which the Moon will have its earthly outpost from 2024. It is a small outpost when you consider that the Moon has a surface area of almost 38,000,000 square kilometres, and yet the LUNA facility will be the only place in Europe where researchers, astronauts and rovers can ‘travel’ to Earth's satellite in the future and conduct comprehensive mission training. - A report on the research facility that will bring the Moon to Earth. read more
05. September 2022
Manuela Braun
Living with half a heart
Megan’s feet are resting on the pedals of the exercise bicycle. She has avoided what she is about to do all her life, out of concern for her heart, but in the coming minutes she will push herself to her physical limits. The 29-year-old is a Fontan patient – she was born with a complex heart defect, where the dividing wall between her two ventricles is incomplete. When she exerts herself, her heart is only able to supply her body with the vital oxygen it needs to a limited extent. - A visit to the Hypofon heart study in our research facility :envihab. read more
10. August 2022
Manuela Braun
Harnessing atmospheric research and physics to combat sunburn
There are three things you should know about Julian Meyer-Arnek: he loves being outdoors, he has a young daughter, and he is a theoretical physicist and atmospheric researcher. Three years ago, with support from DLR Technology Marketing, the combination of these factors led him to develop and market the UV-Bodyguard, a product that measures UV radiation and warns the user via an app if they are at risk of sunburn. This work saw Julian take on new responsibilities and go on to found the company ajuma GmbH, where he continues to work on improving the product. -
In this interview, the physicist, who works at the German Remote Sensing Data Center, reveals what it needs to develop the UV-Bodyguard. read more
01. August 2022
Manuela Braun
LDACS – radio communications for future air transport
We’re travelling at 700 kilometres per hour, more than 10,000 metres above the ground. Munich’s Theresienwiese, a large area dotted with white tent structures, stretches out below. Again and again, one of the many lakes around Oberpfaffenhofen comes into view. The Falcon aircraft operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) flies in a large loop past Munich before returning to the Oberpfaffenhofen site. - A ride in the test campaign LDACS for digital communication between air and ground. read more
18. July 2022
Manuela Braun
Remote-controlled sailing through a dock with ‘Josephine’
‘Josephine’ sails slowly through Jarßum harbour towards the quay wall. Arne Lamm and Christian Steger from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of Systems Engineering for Future Mobility are on board the research boat, but neither of them has their hand on the steering wheel or throttle. Instead, the eight-metre-long boat is being steered from the shore, where – from a shipping container equipped as a ship’s bridge – DLR’s Matthias Steidel maintains contact with the crew, while research assistant Janusz Piotrowski of the University of Oldenburg controls the boat. - On board the research vessel "Josephine" and in the control station for the AMISIA project. read more
20. June 2022
Manuela Braun
Sensitive robotic assistance systems
Imagine picking up a jug, pouring the liquid into a cup and bringing it to your lips. You would make those movements intuitively, without having to give them much thought. You simply hold the jug over the cup, tilt it gently and watch the coffee run into it. The gestures required to drink from the cup happen almost automatically, too. Yet these and other everyday activities, such as opening doors, can be extremely difficult for people with motor impairments. - In the laboratory of our Medical and Healthcare Robotics team. read more
28. March 2022
Manuela Braun
Icebreaker voyage to the wreck of the Endurance
Thomas Busche can still picture that climactic moment in perfect detail. Over the last few days, the research ship S.A.Agulhas II had pushed its way through the mighty pack ice of the Antarctic Weddell Sea. The constant, omnipresent rumble could be heard on all of the decks as the ice floes scraped along the ship’s sides. The search for Endurance, the expedition ship of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton that sank in 1915, had been going on around the clock for days. - Thomas Busche talks about his work and life on board the polar ship. read more
20. December 2021
Manuela Braun
Driverless and on-call
It is a staple of science fiction films: a futuristic, driverless car pulls up at the curb, the passenger gets in and is whisked away to their destination as the self-driving vehicle passes smoothly and effortlessly through the flowing city traffic. This is a vision of on-demand public transport tailored to the customer's indivual requirements. In today's reality, however, it is not that simple with autonomous driving systems. - A report on the journeys of the two mini-buses that drove almost autonomously through Hamburg's residential districts for the "emoin" project. read more