May 27, 2016

DLR at ILA 2016 – research aircraft, cosmic fire warning systems and 125 years of human flight

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will exhibit current projects and research results in the fields of aviation, aerospace, and energy at the International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (ILA Berlin Air Show 2016) from 1 to 4 June 2016. This year, DLR will once again be among the largest institutional exhibitors, occupying roughly 700 square metres in Hall 4, the Space Pavilion, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy stand (Hall 2), and the ILA Career Center to provide fascinating insight into its research. DLR will also exhibit a variety of aircraft and a helicopter from its research fleet at ILA, including a precise replica of the famous glider built by Otto Lilienthal, who pioneered the art of human flight 125 years ago.

"ILA is the leading international trade fair for aviation and aerospace in Germany. DLR will use the 2016 event to show how research results can contribute to solving global challenges in the interests of society as a whole," says Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board. "ILA has a superb standing around the world, making it the ideal venue to network information on a scientific and engineering level and to strengthen international relations. Let's not forget, science and research forge human bonds across all borders."

From 31 May to 4 June, DLR will provide daily reports from ILA in the form of short, live video footage posted to Facebook. The two DLR press conferences (1 June at 11:00 CEST, and 2 June at 15:30 CEST) will be broadcast on the social media platform Periscope.

DLR research aircraft at ILA

As the operator of Europe's largest civilian fleet of research aircraft, DLR will showcase three aircraft at ILA's exhibition grounds, as well as one helicopter and the parabolic aircraft A310 ZERO-G, which is used for scientific research in a weightless environment. Biologists, clinicians, sports scientists, physicians and engineers use the flying laboratory to perform on-board experiments, to prepare their research projects for investigations on the International Space Station (ISS) and other facilities, and to test their equipment for use in cosmic missions. Visitors to ILA are welcome to inspect the aircraft operated by DLR and the French firm Novespace to carry out research in a cosmic environment. Visitors will, of course, experience normal gravity conditions. DLR will also showcase the Airbus A320-232 'D-ATRA' (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft), the largest aircraft in the DLR research fleet. This aircraft provides aviation researchers and cooperation partners from the world of European aeronautics with numerous opportunities to develop their flying machines in the areas of aerodynamics, avionics, engine concepts and cabin comfort. In the air and on the ground, scientists also use the ATRA to investigate new communication technologies that will shape the future of aviation.

Replica of the Lilienthal glider

DLR has created an exact replica of the world's first series aircraft, the Normalsegelapparat (normal glider), and will present the model to a larger audience for the first time at ILA. This replica is intended to honour the life's work of the aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal, who became the first person to take to the skies 125 years ago. DLR scientists tested the glider's aerodynamic properties and manoeuvrability in the DNW wind tunnel in the Netherlands and at DLR Göttingen. Initial results of these investigations will be presented at ILA.

Highlights of aviation and aerospace research

Exhibiting 30 pieces at the stand in Hall 4, DLR will present a selection of its ongoing research projects. They include the unmanned research helicopter superARTIS that autonomously recognises its environment and navigates independently, and is therefore able to chart its own course and perform manoeuvres without assistance. Visitors to the DLR stand can use virtual reality glasses to explore new engine types. They will discover that although larger, engines of the future will use less fuel. Aviation will also benefit from the results of DLR's research in the field of energy: synthetic fuels manufactured using natural gas or biomass possess better combustion properties than standard kerosene and therefore improve the potential for green aviation. Researchers at the DLR stand will use two demonstration burners to show the different levels of soot formation caused by standard and synthetically manufactured kerosene. Among others, DLR will set up an assembly at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy stand in Hall 2 to demonstrate how cancellation technology is used to suppress engine noise. The method developed within the LeiLa project (Leiser Luftfahrtantrieb: quiet aircraft propulsion) is based on the injection of compressed air at points between the rotor and the stator.

Cosmic fire warning systems and survival artists

DLR will present the satellite mission BIROS (Bi-spectral Infrared Optical System) at the main stand in Hall 4. Earmarked to launch in June 2016, the small satellite will team up with its partner TET-1 – which is already orbiting Earth – to operate a cosmic early warning system for forest fires. Fitted with infrared cameras, the two satellites will orbit 500 kilometres above the Earth, keeping their eyes peeled for woodland fire around the world. DLR will also use its stand to showcase the BIOMEX experiment (Biology and Mars Experiment). Launched in 2014, this research project involved populating the outer shell of the International Space Station ISS with organisms such as bacteria, algae, fungi, lichen and moss, where they were exposed to the harsh conditions of space. The samples will return to Earth in summer 2016, and scientists will see whether the various organisms were able to survive. The exhibition also features the asteroid landing craft MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), which launched on 3 December 2014 and is on its way to asteroid Ryugu (1999 JU3). MASCOT will reach its destination on board the Japanese orbiter Hayabusa2 in 2018, when it will touch down on the surface of the asteroid. Full of technical instruments despite being no bigger than a shoebox, the lander will explore the asteroid, measuring the temperature of its crust and its magnetic field.

GAIA, the Tree of Life in the Space Pavilion

DLR will present over 20 topics in the Space Pavilion, also found in Hall 4. This is where GAIA, the Tree of Life, will 'grow' straight down from the ceiling to symbolise the Space Pavilion's 'Space for Earth' theme. At the Space Pavilion, DLR will demonstrate how miniscule plasma crystals form and why research on the ISS is so important to earthly developments, among other things. Visitors are invited to experience a multimedia exhibit that shows them how ultrafast lasers ringing through space are revolutionising our communications here on Earth. DLR’s presentation will also include the seven-eyed X-ray telescope eROSITA, which will set off for space in 2017 as the main payload on board the German-Russian satellite mission 'Spectrum X-ray Gamma' to track down hitherto unknown neutron stars, quasars, and clusters. Space Pavilion partners include DLR, the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). ILA Space Day will be held in the Space Pavilion on 2 June and will feature plenty of talks and podium discussions. 'Astronauts' Day' is an event for the general public, held on the afternoon of 3 June and all day on June 4. The Space Pavilion will remain open until 20:00 on 3 June.

Click here for a detailed description of all DLR exhibits at ILA 2016.

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Andreas Schütz

Head of Corporate Communications, DLR Spokesperson
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-2474

Dorothee Bürkle

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Media Relations, Energy and Transport Research