Space travel is not possible without launchers. Every space activity is based on this simple fact. Launcher systems connect Earth to space. They transport people and materials into space and deliver research and commercial satellites to orbit. Launchers provide the only way to conduct scientific research and ensure commercial utilisation of space.
The German 'Heinrich Hertz' satellite communications mission has now reached its final phase: on 28 June 2017, Gerd Gruppe, member of the DLR Executive Board for the Space Administration at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt; DLR), and Marco Fuchs, the Chief Executive Officer of the company OHB System AG, signed a contract to manufacture, test and launch the German satellite.
The 2017 Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement with Planetary Science has been awarded to the team behind the outstandingly successful exhibition, ‘Comets – The Rosetta Mission: Journey to the Origins of the Solar System’, at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin. Ulrich Köhler, Barbara Stracke and Ekkehard Kührt, of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, will accept the award on behalf of the exhibition’s curation team.
Kia ora is how the Māori, New Zealand's indigenous people, traditionally welcome their guests – even when said guest is a flying observatory. At 01:05 Central European Summer Time (11:05 local time) on 23 June 2017, SOFIA was greeted with Kia ora when it touched 'down under' at Christchurch Airport.
Designed to return unique images of the Earth for five years, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X has outdone itself. The satellite has been in operation for twice that time – and there is still no end in sight to its service.
'Horizons' is the name of German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst's next mission. The 41-year-old geophysicist will take part in expedition 56/57, his second 'research voyage' to the International Space Station ISS, at the end of April 2018, just under a year from now. After the Belgian ESA astronaut, Frank de Winne, Gerst will be the second European to be commander of the ISS. Gerst will remain in orbit, at an altitude of almost 400 kilometres, for six months – until the end of October 2018. The name 'Horizons' symbolises the curiosity and fascination of exploring and researching the unknown.
The three winning teams in the High-flyer competition have now been selected: students from the universities of Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Duisburg-Essen will send their experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) during German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst's upcoming mission in summer 2018.
795 million people worldwide – or one in nine – do not have enough to eat. And the consequences of climate change continue to exacerbate this already precarious situation, with failed crops due to extreme periods of drought or flooding being just one example.
On 15 February 2017, an Indian rocket released a record number of 104 satellites into space simultaneously. In addition to one 714-kilogram Earth observation satellite and two smaller technology experimentation satellites, the payload consisted of 101 microsatellites weighing between one and four kilograms.
The importance of global networks for the aerospace sector has grown enormously. Increasingly widespread digitalisation and the spiralling volume of data generated are redefining the requirements for the space sector. Plans for a long-term expansion of large satellite networks as the basis for a global communication system are becoming more and more apparent.
Our information society is facing a challenge – steadily growing data volumes must be transferred across the globe at faster and faster speeds in order to keep up with the technical advancements of our time.
On 19 March 1992, almost 25 years to the day, Klaus-Dietrich Flade became the first German to float into the Russian Mir space station as a cosmonaut. Flade, a trained test pilot and aerospace engineer, spent six days as a scientific cosmonaut on what was at the time the only human outpost in space, as part of the MIR' 92 mission.
How can space debris be captured? How can students reduce the rotation of research rockets in microgravity? The REXUS 22 research rocket was launched from the Esrange Space Center near Kiruna in northern Sweden, at 14:00 Central European Time (CET) on 16 March 2017. On board were student experiments to try and answer these and other questions.
Just two years after its 'twin satellite' was launched on 7 March 2017 at 02:49 CET (6 March at 22:49 local time), the European Earth observation satellite Sentinel-2B set off on its mission on board a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
Only three female European astronauts have so far been into space. Numerous effects of microgravity on the functioning of the female body must still be researched and understood for future missions to Mars or tourist spaceflights, for example. As part of the 'Female Astronaut' initiative, HE Space is currently looking for a German female astronaut for a 10-day mission to the International Space Station ISS.
On 17 February 2017, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt; DLR) Space Administration and Airbus Defence and Space GmbH signed a contract for the design and construction phases of the German-French climate satellite MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission).
In 2009, NASA's Kepler space probe was launched, embarking on a mission to hunt for exoplanets. In 2013, due to the failure of two of its reaction wheels, the mission had to be modified. Mission control managed to change the operational modus and manoeuvre the telescope orbiter into a different position in its orbit around the Sun that enabled the mission to continue.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Brazilian aerospace agency Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB) have taken a big step forward in the development of a new rocket that is fuelled with oxygen and alcohol.
The Hispasat 36W-1 telecommunications satellite, the first in a new satellite platform called SmallGEO, developed and built in Germany, was launched to space on 28 January 2017 at 02:03 CET (27 January, 22:03 local time).
The MAIUS 1 (Matter-Wave Interferometry in Microgravity) experiment could be described as one of the most complex experiment ever flown on a sounding rocket. MAIUS 1 was launched at 03:30 Central European Time (CET) on 23 January 2016 on board a sounding rocket from the Esrange Space Center near Kiruna in northern Sweden.