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  • richardmitnick 4:11 pm on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Buried treasures in the asteroid belt, , DLR German Aerospace,   

    From DLR: “Buried treasures in the asteroid belt” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    26 September 2017

    Contacts
    Elke Heinemann
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Corporate Communications
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-2867
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

    Prof.Dr. Ralf Jaumann
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Institute of Planetary Research, Planetary Geology
    Tel.: +49 30 67055-400
    Fax: +49 30 67055-402

    Ulrich Köhler
    Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) – German Aerospace Center
    Tel.: +49 30 67055-215
    Fax: +49 30 67055-402

    1

    Ten years of the Dawn mission
    Buried treasures in the asteroid belt – German camera on the Dawn space probe is providing fundamental information on the formation of planets from Vesta and Ceres

    NASA/Dawn Spacecraft

    __________________________________________________________________
    The Dawn spacecraft set off on en route to Vesta and Ceres, the two most massive objects in the main asteroid belt, on 27 September 2007.

    The investigation of these two large bodies, which offer valuable information about the earliest period of the Solar System, is of fundamental importance to understanding the origin and evolution of Earth.

    DLR is responsible for evaluating the images, processing the stereo-image data into global maps, and generating digital terrain models from which the topography of the two bodies can be derived.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Ten years ago, NASA’s Dawn space probe embarked on a mission destined to become one of the most exciting and scientifically productive in the history of the unmanned exploration of the Solar System. Dawn has explored two of the largest bodies in the asteroid belt: the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. On board is a German camera system – the ‘framing camera’. The camera was specially developed for this mission by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the DLR Institute of Planetary Research and the Institute of Computer and Network Engineering at the Technical University of Braunschweig. DLR is responsible for evaluating the images, processing the stereo-image data into global maps, and generating digital terrain models from which the topography of the two bodies can be derived with a precision of a few metres.

    Dawn is the first space probe that has been put into orbit around two different celestial bodies in the Solar System. Target 1: Vesta, an asteroid with a diameter of around 500 kilometres; Target 2: the dwarf planet Ceres, with a diameter of almost 1000 kilometres and the largest body in the asteroid belt. And although the expectations of the mission were met and exceeded a long time ago, Dawn’s fuel reserves will allow the probe to continue investigating Ceres until at least mid-2019. Both targets, Vesta and Ceres, have astounded the approximately 50 scientists in the team – which includes several DLR researchers – with an abundance of surprising and significant discoveries, providing insight into the early Solar System.

    The one-ton research probe was launched into space from Cape Canaveral in the United States on 27 September 2007. At first, things progressed at a comparatively leisurely pace. This was because Dawn was accelerated out of Earth’s orbit with an ion thruster. Unlike a conventional rocket engine, which uses a chemical combustion process to generate thrust, an ion thruster ionises inert gas using electrical energy. The charged xenon ions can then be concentrated using a magnetic field and expelled in a targeted way. The generated acceleration is weak, but the thrust can be sustained for months or years.

    The three engines on board Dawn have a thrust of 90 millinewtons – about as strong as a sheet of paper falling to the floor. But when applied over a long period, the thrust builds up to a speed comparable to that of a conventional rocket engine. The probe has some of those on board as well, in the form of small steering nozzles that are used for course correction, but primarily for slowing the probe down into its orbits around Vesta and Ceres. About 425 kilograms of xenon was initially stowed on board for the ion thrusters – much less mass than would have been needed with conventional fuel. The energy for starting the ionisation reaction with the inert gas is provided by two large solar panels with a span of almost 20 metres.

    In the times of the ‘sky police’

    Like the European comet chaser Rosetta, Dawn initially increased its momentum in the inner Solar System until its two identical cameras laid eyes on its first target – the asteroid Vesta – four years later.

    ESA/Rosetta spacecraft

    The expectations were great, as there was still much to learn about these minor planets. Vesta was the fourth asteroid to be discovered, by Heinrich Olbers, a doctor and astronomer from Bremen, in 1807. In those days, astronomers were looking for a planet that they suspected was in the 500 million kilometre-wide gap between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. At the beginning of the 19th century astronomers Franz Xaver von Zach and Johann Hieronymus Schroeter founded the Himmelspolizey (‘sky police’), an international research collaboration, specifically to look for this ‘gap filler’. A total of 24 European observatories were each given a quadrant of the ecliptic – the orbital band of the planets – for a sky survey.

    The search was successful in 1801, when Giuseppe Piazzi at the Palermo Astronomical Observatory discovered a large body somewhat by chance. It was given the name Ceres. But it soon became clear that the orbital gap was not just home to one planet, but dozens – today we know that hundreds of thousands of rocky objects circle the Sun in orbits similar to those of the planets. Due to its gravitational pull, Jupiter, the most massive planet and ‘guardian’ of the inner Solar System, prevented the formation of a planet from these bodies, which range in size from a few dozen metres to several hundred kilometres.

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    Towering 22 kilometres, almost three times the height of Mount Everest, a still-unnamed mountain rises in the centre of a 450 kilometre-wide impact basin at the south pole of the asteroid Vesta. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

    Until Dawn’s arrival at Vesta, the only image we had of this asteroid was a few pixels in diameter, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition to this, spectral measurements were available that indicated the reflective properties of the surface in visible light and the near infrared. Surprisingly, the information on its composition obtained from the spectral measurements resembled that of several meteorites in collections on Earth, leading to the deduction that material had been ejected from Vesta during collisions with other asteroids, and that a tiny fraction of this material had landed on Earth as meteorites. Confirmation of this by spectral measurements taken in the direct vicinity of Vesta would mean that we had samples of the asteroid in our laboratories. This would be enormously important reference material because asteroids are in essence ‘impeded’ planets, and the early period of planetary formation can largely be reconstructed from them.

    Cameras revealing a ‘new world’

    And so it was: The spectra of Vesta recorded by Dawn confirmed that the howardites, eucrites and diogenites – the exotic-sounding names for the meteorites found on Earth – come from Vesta and its fragments, known as Vestoids. Today, we even know with a degree of certainty which region on Vesta they come from. The two cameras on board Dawn showed a structure unlike any discovered on other celestial bodies. With a diameter of around 500 kilometres, Vesta initially formed as a spherical body as it reached what is known in geophysics as ‘isostatic equilibrium’. But a large part of Vesta was ‘missing’ at its south pole, torn away in two gigantic collisions. Among the evidence for this is a 450 kilometre-wide circular rim surrounding a basin-shaped, eight kilometre-deep depression. In the centre is a huge mountain, which formed as a result of the rebound of the rocky crust reacting elastically under high-impact energies. It is a 22 kilometre-high massif, almost three times the height of Mount Everest!

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    Measurements with the spectrometers on the Dawn probe confirm that the howardite, eucrite and diogenite types of meteorite come from the asteroid Vesta. In the laboratory, analyses with polarised light can now be used to precisely determine the mineral content. Credit: NASA/University of Tennessee

    A minor planet made of rock and iron

    The Dawn probe orbited its first target for over a year. The team of scientists was overwhelmed by the variety of complex geological and tectonic features. Vesta is located close to the inner edge of the Main Asteroid Belt. In the first few million years of the early Solar System, very high temperatures reigned in that region, where the planetary embryos – planetesimals – first formed and quickly grew into large bodies. Volatile matter, such as water and gases, could not be integrated into the planetesimals and instead were driven to the outskirts of the rotating disc of dust and gas. Vesta also had to be a body that is comparable with the four terrestrial planets of the inner Solar System, with little water in its interior, but rock and metal instead. The meteorites from Vesta also contain these elements. Vesta is evidently the miniature version of a ‘real’ major planet – with a core of iron and nickel, a mantel of heavy silicate rocks, rich in magnesium and iron, and finally a lighter crust. It is even possible that volcanic eruptions once occurred on Vesta as can be deduced from several darker areas on the surface.

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    According to Dawn’s recordings, the largest body in the Main Asteroid Belt could be constructed as follows: A core dominated by hydrated silicates, above it a thick mantle of water ice with silicate components and on the exterior a crust made up of light rocks and frozen volatile components, mainly water ice. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

    A salty dwarf of ice and rock

    Delighted by the treasures unearthed at Vesta, mission scientists directed the space probe towards its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, in September 2012. Located almost on the outer edge of the Main Asteroid Belt, researchers were expecting a very different type of ‘minor body’, Ceres being the largest and most massive body in this region, after all. Its size and spherical shape were the main reasons why the International Astronomical Union bumped the asteroid to ‘dwarf planet’ in 2006. During its journey, the probe crossed an invisible divide, known by scientists as the ‘frost line’. Beyond this hypothetical line in the protoplanetary disc of gas and dust, temperatures were low enough for gases to condense into solid icy grains and become part of the material resources of the bodies forming there. However, not much was known about Ceres either. The best telescopes only resolved enough to make very rough regional structures recognisable. From the mass and orbit of the dwarf planet, it could be concluded that a considerable proportion of Ceres must consist of ice.

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    At the centre of the 90 kilometre-wide impact structure Occator is the largest occurrence of the strange white deposits on Ceres. These are principally carbonates, salts and carbonic acid. The blue false colours also indicate the existence of bright deposits associated with sulphuric salts, popularly known as plaster. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

    The slow approach to Ceres in early 2015 was a hard test of patience for the team. As the image resolution finally enabled the identification of details in the large craters, there was something of a surprise: Very bright, almost snow-white, spots could be seen in some places. What were they? Ceres does not even reflect one tenth of the incident sunlight, so its surface is much darker than Vesta’s, and the scientists had not expected bare ice on the surface. The riddle could not be solved during the initial mapping orbit at 13,000 kilometres, which was still too far away. More patience was required, until the probe dropped to its two lower orbits as close as 375 kilometres from the surface and was able to capture higher-resolution images as well as – most importantly – more detailed spectral data.

    The result was spectacular. The white areas appeared to consist of salty deposits, such as soda (sodium carbonate), magnesium sulphate and even ammonia-containing clay minerals, in addition to other sulphuric salts and chlorides. This means that there must be a process that partially melts the water ice clearly existing in Ceres’ interior, and enriches it with mineral salts. It is forced up to the surface as brine, where the salty solution freezes immediately and the water evaporates. The heat required for this might come from the decay of radioactive elements in the dwarf planet’s interior, but this question has yet to be conclusively answered. It is also generally accepted today that so-called cryovolcanic processes must have occurred on Ceres in the geologically recent past. This is a form of volcanism in which warm, hydrothermal mineral water with dissolved salts – instead of scorching molten rock – are pushed up to the surface. Salt crusts are left after the water has evaporated. The Herschel space telescope discovered water vapour around Ceres in 2014.

    Its low overall density of barely two grams per cubic centimetre is also a strong indicator that Ceres must have a high proportion of water (up to a quarter of its mass). And, like Vesta, Ceres could have a differentiated interior, to a certain degree, with its iron-rich rock components, probably pure metals at its core, surrounded by a mantle of ice and surrounded by a crust of water ice and light, partially hydrated ‘dry’ (clay) minerals with a proportion of ammonia. As the bright deposits are generally located in craters, it is also conceivable that energy for hydrothermal processes taking place beneath the surface arises from the impacts that formed these craters.

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    Ahuna Mons on Ceres, with crater-free (therefore geologically young) slopes, rises some 5000 metres above the surroundings, which are otherwise pockmarked by craters. Is it a cryovolcano that spews out ice as well as lava? Researchers think it is possible. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

    But there is yet another scientific and aesthetic controversy: The most unusual landscape feature on Ceres is a mountain that, at first glance, is reminiscent of potash-mining slag heaps. Ahuna Mons has a base diameter of 20 kilometres and rises an impressive five kilometres above its surroundings. Ceres has its own Mont Blanc, albeit with very even slopes and gullies that are thought to have formed from the slippage of silicates and carbonates. In general, Ahuna Mons is similar to volcanic domes on Earth. So, is it a cryovolcano – a construct of ice, salt, carbonates and hydrated minerals that get the necessary upward thrust from heat and density differences in order to rise up and form a mountain? It appears so. Presumably, the ice in the mountain evaporated long ago, so only dry minerals are left. However, there is no other mountain like it on Ceres.

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    The crater Haulani is about 34 kilometres in diameter, about the size of the Nördlinger Ries in the Swabian Alb. It does not seem to be very old yet, because the edge is still sharp. The blue tones in the contrast-enhanced image are also indicative of this. Landslides show that erosion has begun its setting work. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

    Exciting finale at perihelion

    Dawn continues to orbit the dwarf planet. This could be the case for years to come. The orbit around this body, with its homogeneous mass distribution and barely any fluctuations in its gravitational field as a result, can be kept stable with almost no fuel. The probe should ‘live’ until 2019. This is when Ceres reaches perihelion, its closest distance to the Sun along its orbit. There is reason to hope that, with the increase in solar radiation at that point, some of the ice in the dwarf planet’s crust will sublimate and even that active cryovolcanism might be observed. This would be the final highlight of a mission rich in discoveries.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

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  • richardmitnick 8:41 pm on June 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big Data for Earth observation, DLR German Aerospace, DLR/TanDEM-X satellite, DLR/TerraSAR-X satellite   

    From DLR: “Excellence in space – 10 years of TerraSAR-X” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    14 June 2017

    Bernadette Jung
    Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) – German Aerospace Center
    Tel.: +49 8153 28-2251
    Fax: +49 8153 28-1243

    Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alberto Moreira
    DLR German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Director, Microwaves and Radar Institute
    Tel.: +49 8153 28-2306
    Fax: +49 228 447-747

    Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Michael Eineder
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Earth Observation Center (EOC): Remote Sensing Technology Institute
    Tel.: +49 8153 28-1396
    Fax: +49 8153 28-1420

    Dr.rer.nat. Edith Maurer
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Space Operations and Astronaut Training
    Tel.: +49 8153 28-3313

    Michael Bartusch
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Space Administraton
    Tel.: +49 228 447-589
    Fax: +49 228 447-747

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    DLR/TerraSAR-X satellite

    14 June 2017

    The TerraSAR-X satellite has been in service for twice the planned time.
    The data has been providing valuable insights regarding changes to the Earth’s surface for the past 10 years.
    Focus: Space, Big Data, Climate Change, Remote Sensing, Earth Observation

    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. Since its picture-perfect launch on 15 June 2007 from the Russian cosmodrome in Baikonur, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TerraSAR-X mission has exceeded all expectations.

    “TerraSAR-X has stood for outstanding research and development performance and top-level satellite operation for 10 years. To this day, the mission continues to set standards in precision and image resolution. Thanks to its globally unique radar technology, TerraSAR-X has opened up a new era in remote sensing and paved the way for the equally successful follow-up mission, TanDEM-X. I am pleased that both satellites have been fully functional and efficient,” emphasises Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board.

    TerraSAR-X and its twin TanDEM-X, which was launched three years later, have been flying in formation since 2010.

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    DLR/TanDEM-X satellite

    Together, they generate the highest resolution three-dimensional images of the Earth’s surface. To this day, the special mission concept of TanDEM-X, the first bistatic SAR interferometer in space, developed at the DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute, is one-of-a-kind.

    “With the TerraSAR-X mission and its successor mission TanDEM-X, we have also entered new territory in industrial policy: TerraSAR-X was the first space project undertaken between DLR and the aerospace industry as a public-private partnership (PPP) on the initiative of the DLR Space Administration with funds from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy,” added Gerd Gruppe, DLR Executive Board Member responsible for the Space Administration.

    Big Data for Earth observation

    The satellite has already delivered 303,714 images. The data is received via a global network of ground stations and processed and evaluated by experts at the DLR Earth Observation Center (EOC). Even the first analyses document indisputable details of climate change, including the retreat of glaciers across the globa. Approximately 1000 scientists from more than 50 countries are now using the data for their research – and demand is on the rise. The global radar images are of particular value to environmental and climate research. DLR ensures access to the images in the long term in the German Satellite Data Archive in Oberpfaffenhofen.

    In this time, the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) has sent more than 1.85 million commands to TerraSAR-X, and an additional 1.4 million commands to control the orbiting TanDEM-X satellite. A particular challenge, both during the development and in operation, was and is the ‘double-helix dance’ of the two radar satellites. The tightest flight formation between TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X was at a distance of 120 metres distance perpendicular to the direction of flight – at an average speed of 7.6 kilometres per second. The exceptional performance and success of the mission is not least down to the close interdiscplinary collaboration within DLR. In Oberpfaffenhofen, almost 100 staff from four DLR institutes have combined their expertise such that they have mastered the entire process chain of the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X mission for 10 years now.

    The future

    The exceptional lifetime of the satellite has been possible thanks to careful operation and robust construction. Only about half of the fuel supply has been consumed and the performance level of the batteries is approximately 72 percent, so the experts expect TerraSAR-X will continue to operate for another five years. The twin satellite TanDEM-X is also showing no signs of fatigue, meaning that more high resolution elevation images will be generated and the global data set enhanced by autumn 2017. The focus is on areas undergoing strong processes of change, and are therefore of particular scientific interest. These include the coastal regions of the Antarctic, Greenland and the permafrost regions, and the Amazon rainforest.

    “The new images are also being used for the demonstration and preparation of the Tandem-L mission. With Tandem-L, DLR has designed a new satellite mission to observe how Earth is changing – for 10 years, on a weekly basis, at high resolution and in three dimensions. Such data will be of inestimable value for science and politics,” explains Hans Jörg Dittus, DLR Executive Board Member for Space Research and Technology. With regard to the extent and effect of climate change, Tandem-L could provide important information that is still lacking – for improved scientific forecasts and the social and political recommendations for action that are based on this. The concept builds on the experience and exceptional success of the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X missions. If the mission proposal gets the ‘green light’, Tandem-L will take radar remote sensing into the next era of technology and applications in 2022.

    With the X-Band SAR family, Germany has developed a globally recognised expertise and a unique selling point for decades. In order to ensure this leadership role in the future, the continuation of the X-Band family is being carried out at the DLR Space Administration. The future lies in an even higher resolution with wider observation swaths. This is intended to continuously provide the scientific, governmental and commercial stakeholders with data.

    About the mission

    TerraSAR-X has been delivered under contract to the German Aerospace Center, using funds provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is the first German satellite to be produced under a so-called public private partnership (PPP), between the DLR and Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (formerly Astrium). The use of TerraSAR-X data for scientific purposes is the responsibility of DLR (also responsible for the design and execution of the mission and control of the satellites). Airbus Defence and Space GmbH contributes to the costs of development, construction and deployment of the satellites. Infoterra GmbH, a subsidiary company established specifically for this purpose by the former Astrium GmbH, took over commercial marketing of the data.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:42 am on March 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DLR German Aerospace, , , Scientists switch on 'artificial sun' in German lab   

    From DLR via phys.org: “Scientists switch on ‘artificial sun’ in German lab” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    phys.org

    March 23, 2017

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    In this March 21, 2017 photo engineer Volkmar Dohmen stands in front of xenon short-arc lamps in the DLR German national aeronautics and space research center in Juelich, western Germany. The lights are part of an artificial sun that will be used for research purposes. (Caroline Seidel/dpa via AP)

    Scientists in Germany are flipping the switch on what’s being described as “the world’s largest artificial sun,” hoping it will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuel.

    The “Synlight” experiment in Juelich, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne, consists of 149 giant spotlights normally used for film projectors.

    Starting Thursday, scientists from the German Aerospace Center will start experimenting with this dazzling array to try to find ways of tapping the enormous amount of energy that reaches Earth in the form of light from the sun.

    One area of research will focus on how to efficiently produce hydrogen, a first step toward making artificial fuel for airplanes.

    The experiment uses as much electricity in four hours as a four-person household would in a year.

    2
    n this March 21, 2017 photo engineer Volkmar Dohmen stands in front of xenon short-arc lamps in the DLR German national aeronautics and space research center in Juelich, western Germany. The lights are part of an artificial sun that will be used for research purposes. (Caroline Seidel/dpa via AP)

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:12 am on December 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DLR German Aerospace, , Germany awards approximately two billion euro to space projects   

    From DLR: “ESA Council meeting at ministerial level in Lucerne – Germany awards approximately two billion euro to space projects” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    02 December 2016

    Contacts
    Sabine Hoffmann
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Corporate Communications, Head of Department
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-2116
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

    Andreas Schütz
    Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) – German Aerospace Center
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-2474
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

    1

    The highest decision-making body of the European Space Agency (ESA) met this year on 1 and 2 December at the Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) in Lucerne, Switzerland, to set the financial and programme-based course for European space travel for the coming years. Ministers in charge of space in Europe last came together exactly two years ago on 2 December 2014 in Luxembourg.

    ESA Icon II

    The German Federal Government was represented by Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Brigitte Zypries, who is also aerospace coordinator, was supported by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board and Gerd Gruppe, Member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for the Space Administration, which, in close collaboration with the BMWi, prepared the German position for the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level.

    “Our commitment to the application programmes, in particular, leads to concrete benefits for people. Satellite-based Earth observation is the basis for improved climate protection. In addition, innovative business models are created for German companies through the use of satellite data,” emphasised Brigitte Zypries. “We have also succeeded in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in space investment.” At the same time, from a German perspective, the focus was on the ESA programmes, which, with excellent research, fundamentally expand the understanding of the Universe and Earth and are the basis for strategic international cooperation. The International Space Station (ISS) also wants to make further use of Germany: “We are taking responsibility for a central global project at the ISS, and the Space Station offers excellent opportunities for research under space conditions, and the German industry is also benefiting from results, for example in the field of materials research. And we are looking forward to Alexander Gerst’s mission in 2018,” added Zypries.

    “With our investments in the programme, we are ensuring the necessary continuity, but are also placing new emphasis on particularly future-oriented topics. The German contribution has succeeded in establishing the European participation in the ISS reliably and in the long term by 2024. With 29 million euro for ExoMars, Germany has maintained its commitments and is thus a strong partner in this international cooperation with the US and Russia,” adds DLR Chair Pascale Ehrenfreund, and emphasises: “With our scientific and technological expertise and our stakeholders in programmes such as Earth observation, we can make a decisive contribution to international development assistance and the implementation of the global sustainability and environmental targets of the United Nations.”

    ESA/ExoMars
    ESA/ExoMars

    At the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level, financial resources totalling around 10.3 billion euro were awarded. Germany provided two billion euro and is thus one of the largest ESA contributors. More specifically, Germany accounted for around 903 million euro for the ESA compulsory programmes, which in addition to the general budget, include the science programme and the European spaceport in French Guiana. Around 1.2 billion euro of the German contribution was allocated to the so-called optional programmes: more specifically, around 300 million euro to Earth observation, some 160 million euro to telecommunications, around 63 million euro to technology programmes and around 346 million euro to continuing operation of the International Space Station (ISS) until 2019 and about 88 million for research under space conditions. In addition, Germany is supporting the extension of ISS operation until 2024 in the form of a political declaration.

    German financial contributions in detail:

    E3P – new framework programme for research and exploration

    All robotic and astronautical activities for exploration are combined in the new European Exploration Envelope (framework) Programme (E3P). This combines the European science and technology programme for use of near-Earth orbit for space research with exploration of the Moon and Mars. Subprogrammes here include the ISS (German share: 346 million euro) and its utilisation programme SciSpacE (German share: 88 million euro) in low Earth orbit. Germany is thereby taking on the leading role. For the continuation of the ExoMars mission the member countries contributed a further 339 million euro, of which Germany;s share was about 28 million. In addition, Germany is investing 21 million euro in ExPeRT (exploration, preparation, research and technology), a programme for mission studies and technology development for further exploration, including a commercial approach.

    Launchers

    In terms of launchers, the central decisions lay with the ‘Launchers Exploitation Accompaniment’ (LEAP) and Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) operating programmes. Germany contributed 155 million euro here and is the strongest partner after France.

    From 2020, Ariane 6 will be the new launcher to transport payloads into space. Germany is contributing with a share of around 23 percent in the total costs of Ariane 6 development; the principal industrial contractors are Airbus Safran Launchers (in Germany with sites in Bremen and Ottobrunn) and MT Aerospace in Augsburg and Bremen.

    To remain competitive over the long term, too, innovative technologies, processes and system concepts need to be developed and made market ready. These New Economic Opportunities (NEOs) are set to drastically reduce development and subsequent production costs while at the same time decreasing the development risk. Germany has contributed 52 million euro to this Future Launchers Preparation Programme (FLPP).

    Science

    By 2035, seven average-sized and three large-scale exploration missions, along with further analyses of the Solar System and galaxies, are set to begin within the ESA science programme. Financing of this programme depends on the economic power of the Member States. At 20 percent, Germany is the largest contributor to this programme, contributing 542 million euro.

    Of particular German interest is the PLATO mission, which is set to survey large portions of the sky for exoplanets and bright stars from 2025.

    ESA/PLATO
    ESA/PLATO

    The DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin is taking the scientific lead here and also developing the payload for the mission. The German aerospace industry, and in particular OHB and Airbus Defence & Space, are playing a particularly decisive role. The data centre is being built to a significant degree at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen. The DLR Space Administration has primary responsibility to ESA for delivery of the payload.

    Germany is contributing to six out of a total of 11 instruments for the Jupiter moon mission JUICE (planned launch date: 2022), two of which are being managed by Germany.

    ESA/Juice spacecraft
    ESA/Juice spacecraft

    BepiColombo, the European–Japanese mission to the closest planet to the sun, Mercury, is set to launch in April 2018, bringing new insights into the formation of the Solar System. German research institutes are contributing to the mission with six instruments.

    ESA/BepiColombo
    ESA/BepiColombo

    At the end of 2020, the Euclid mission is set to explore the question of ‘dark matter’ and dark energy in the Universe.

    ESA/Euclid spacecraft
    ESA/Euclid spacecraft

    German partners include the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, the University Observatory Munich and the University of Bonn

    Earth observation

    From climate research and global environmental monitoring to increasingly precise weather forecasts and satellite-based disaster relief, Germany, together with the UK, is the largest contributor to Earth observation programmes, contributing 300 million euro, and wants to retain its leading international position in this field. German industry and research groups have been and are to a large extent involved in successful missions such as GOCE, Cryosat 2, SWARM and SMOS as well as in the future missions ADM / Aeolus, BIOMASS, FLEX and EarthCARE. The ESA Climate Initiative (GMECV +) is currently providing 12 essential climate variables and was extended at the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level.

    ESA/GOCE Spacecraft
    ESA/GOCE Spacecraft

    ESA/CryoSat 2
    ESA/CryoSat 2

    ESA/Swarm
    ESA/Swarm

    ESA/SMOS
    ESA/SMOS

    Satellite communications

    In the field of satellite communications (ARTES programme), the main goal is to support innovative technologies and products for the global commercial market. Germany contributed around 160 million euro. Here, German industry has made a several-year head start with the development of laser communication terminals. Germany has therefore contributed 26 million euro to the new Skylight programme to further develop optical technologies. Furthermore, Germany is financing commercially focused integrated applications (‘NewSpace’ activities) with around 18 million euro. A further 64 million euro have been awarded to develop ‘Electra’, one of the small satellite buses with electric motors led by Bremen-based company OHB. The SmallGEO platform built in Germany for the smaller telecommunications satellites market segment is being further developed. On 27 January 2017, the first SmallGEO satellite will be launched from French Guiana.

    Space situational awareness

    Germany awarded 16 million euro to the ‘Space Situational Awareness’ (SSA) programme, with a focus on space weather. Better knowledge of space weather makes a valuable contribution to the preservation and sustainable use of space-based and terrestrial infrastructures, such as in the case of global navigation satellite systems and for science. It also represents important data for the German Space Situational Awareness Centre.

    Technological development

    The German programme contribution to the so-called General Support Technology Programme (GSTP) aims in particular to maintain, expand and strengthen the industrial competitiveness of German SMEs, particularly start-ups. The German contribution is around 63 million euro.

    See the full article here .

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:11 pm on October 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DLR German Aerospace, Idunn Mons volcano,   

    From DLR: “Recently active lava flows on the eastern flank of Idunn Mons on Venus” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    18 October 2016

    Manuela Braun
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Corporate Communications, Editor, Human Space Flight, Space Science, Engineering
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-3882
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

    Dr. Jörn Helbert
    Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) – German Aerospace Center
    Tel.: +49 30 67055-319
    Fax: +49 30 67055-384

    1
    Elevation model of Idunn Mons
    2
    Area characterized by recent volvanic activity
    3
    Five lava flow units identified during mapping process

    The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express mission has provided a great amount of data from the surface and atmosphere of Earth’s inner twin planet.

    ESA/Venus Express
    ESA/Venus Express

    Among these observations was the mapping of the southern hemisphere of Venus in the near infrared spectral range using the VIRTIS (Visible and InfraRed Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) instrument. However, the thick and permanent cloud cover of Venus limits the achievable resolution, similar to observing a scene through fog. Using a numerical model, planetary researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) pushed the limits of the data resolution. With this new technique, the emissivity anomalies were analysed on the top and eastern flank of Idunn Mons, a volcano with a diameter of 200 kilometres at its base situated in the southern hemisphere of Venus. These anomalies provide an indication of geologically recent volcanism in this area. “We could identify and map distinctive lava flows from the top and eastern flank of the volcano, which might have been recently active in terms of geologic time,” says Piero D’Incecco, the DLR planetary researcher who presented these results at the joint 48th meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) and 11th European Planetary Science Congress in Pasadena, California.

    “With our new technique we could combine the infrared data with much higher-resolution radar images from the NASA Magellan mission, having been in orbit about Venus from 1990 until 1992.

    4
    NASA/Magellan

    It is the first time that – combining the datasets from two different missions – we can perform a high resolution geologic mapping of a recently active volcanic structure from the surface of a planet other than Earth.” This study will also provide motivation for future projects focused on the exploration of Venus, as for example the NASA Discovery VERITAS mission proposal or the ESA EnVision M5 mission proposal that – in combining high-resolution radar and near-infrared mapping – will extend the frontiers of our current knowledge of the geology of Venus.

    Search for location and extent of the lava flows

    From 2006 until 2014 the ESA Venus Express probe analysed the atmosphere and surface of Earth’s twin planet. VIRTIS has provided data that indicates the occurrence of recent volcanic activity on Venus. DLR scientists Piero D’Incecco, Nils Müller, Jörn Helbert and Mario D’Amore selected the eastern flank of Idunn Mons – Imdr Regio’s single large volcano – as the study area, since it was identified in VIRTIS data as one of the regions with relatively high values of thermal emissivity at one micron wavelength.

    Using the capabilities of specific techniques developed in the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory group at DLR in Berlin, the study intends to identify location and extent of the sources of such anomalies, thus the lava flows responsible for the relatively high emissivity observed by VIRTIS over the eastern flank of Idunn Mons. Therefore the lava flow units on the top and eastern flank of Idunn Mons are mapped, varying the values of simulated one micron emissivity assigned to the mapped units. For each configuration, the total mismatch as root mean square error in comparison with the VIRTIS observations is calculated. In the best-fit configuration, the flank lava flows are characterised by high values of one micron simulated emissivity. Hence, the lava flow units on the eastern flank on Idunn Mons are likely responsible for the relatively high one micron emissivity anomalies observed by VIRTIS. This result is supported by the reconstructed post-eruption stratigraphy, displaying the relative dating of the mapped lava flows, that is independent of the 1 micron emissivity modelling. Values of average microwave emissivity extracted from the lava flow units range around the global mean, which is consistent with dry basalts.

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:27 pm on October 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DLR German Aerospace, , New 3D world map – TanDEM-X global elevation model completed, Radar satellite TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X satellite   

    From DLR: “New 3D world map – TanDEM-X global elevation model completed” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    1
    Nevada Test Site
    2
    Avenida De Los Volcanos, Ecuador
    3
    Richat Structure, Mauritania
    4
    Chuquicatmata copper mine, Chile

    The new three-dimensional map of Earth has been completed. Mountain peaks and valley floors across the globe can now be seen with an accuracy of just one metre. The global elevation model was created as part of the TanDEM-X satellite mission; it offers unprecedented accuracy compared with other global datasets and is based on a uniform database.

    5
    TanDEM-X satellite

    The approximately 150 million square kilometres of land surface were scanned from space by radar sensors. “TanDEM-X has opened up a whole new chapter in the field of remote sensing. The use of radar technology based on two satellites orbiting in close formation is still unique and was key to the high-precision remapping of Earth. In this way, DLR has demonstrated its pioneering role and satisfied the prerequisites for the next major development step in satellite-based Earth observation – the Tandem-L radar mission,” says Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).

    More than 1000 scientists around the world are already making use of the data from the mission. “With completion of the global TanDEM-X elevation model, we are once again anticipating a surge in scientific interest. Accurate topographical data is essential for all geoscientific applications,” says Alberto Moreira, Principal Investigator of the TanDEM-X mission and Director of the DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute. The applications for this unique dataset range from climate and environmental research, surveying and mapping to infrastructure planning for urban development and road construction.

    Expectations exceeded

    The quality of the global elevation model has surpassed all expectations. Exceeding the required 10-metre accuracy, the topographic map has an elevation accuracy of a single metre. This is a result of excellent system calibration. The distance between the two satellites in formation flight, for example, is determined with millimetre precision. The global coverage achieved by TanDEM-X is also unparalleled – all land surfaces were scanned multiple times and the data was then processed to create elevation models. In this process, DLR’s remote sensing specialists created a digital world map consisting of more than 450,000 individual models with pixel by pixel height detail – creating a special kind of three-dimensional mosaic.

    This mission broke new ground in many areas. The close formation flight of the two satellites at a minimum distance of 120 metres has become as routine as the various manoeuvres required to continuously change the formation and adapt it to the requirements of the imaging geometry. A similar situation applies to bistatic radar operation; simultaneous data acquisition using two radar satellites was initially a major challenge, but was a necessity to ensure the high accuracy of the elevation models. DLR is now a world leader for this pioneering technology.

    Between January 2010 and December 2015, the radar satellites transmitted more than 500 terabytes of data to Earth via the worldwide reception network. In parallel, systematic creation of elevation models began in 2014. Sophisticated processing chains analysed the data using highly accurate and efficient algorithms to generate the final elevation models. During this process, the data volume increased to a total of more than 2.6 petabytes and the computer systems constantly delivered top performance. “Processing this data was an exciting challenge for us,” explains Richard Bamler, Director of DLR’s Remote Sensing Technology Institute. “We are now all the more fascinated by our initial scientific findings. Using the current elevation model, we have shown that in some regions of Earth, glaciers are losing up to 30 metres in thickness per year in the area of the glacier tongues.”

    Next steps

    TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X have long exceeded their specified service lives and continue operating faultlessly and in such an efficient way that they still have enough propellant for several more years.

    6
    Radar satellite TerraSAR-X

    Completion of the 3D world map does not signify the end of the mission. Due to the special nature of the formation flight, further scientific experiments are scheduled. Moreira points out: “Earth as a system is highly dynamic, which is also reflected in its topography. Through frequent updates, we could capture such dynamic processes systematically in the future. This is the primary goal of the Tandem-L mission that we have proposed.”

    New Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) methods will enable diverse data for exploration of the global ecosystem to be provided within short periods of time. The Tandem-L successor mission could provide a current elevation image of Earth’s entire landmass every eight days and thereby capture dynamic processes in a timely manner. This would also make it possible to contribute to the review of international climate and environmental agreements. New radar methods and innovative missions such as Tandem-L are set to contribute to gaining a better understanding of dynamic processes in order to protect and preserve Earth Completion of the TanDEM-X global elevation model has now paved the way for the next dimension of radar remote sensing.

    About the mission

    TanDEM-X is being implemented on behalf of DLR using funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie). It is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project operated in conjunction with Airbus Defence and Space. DLR is responsible for providing TanDEM-X data to the scientific community, mission planning and implementation, radar operation and calibration, control of the two satellites, and generation of the digital elevation model. To this end, DLR has developed the necessary ground-based facilities. The DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute, the DLR Earth Observation Center and the DLR Space Operations Facility in Oberpfaffenhofen are participating in the development and operation of the ground segment of TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. Scientific coordination is the responsibility of the DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute. Airbus Defence and Space built the satellites and is sharing the development and operating costs. The company is also responsible for the commercial marketing of the TanDEM-X data.

    See the full article here .

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:43 pm on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DLR German Aerospace, HALO research aircraft   

    From DLR: “HALO flight test – turbulence, vibration and new techniques” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    04 May 2016

    Contacts

    Fabian Locher
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Corporate Communications, Editor Aeronautics
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-3959

    Dr Wolf-Reiner Krüger
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Tel.: +49 551 709-2808
    Fax: +49 551 709-2862

    Dr Marc Böswald
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    DLR Institute of Aeroelasticity
    Tel.: +49 551 709-2857
    Fax: +49 551 709-2862

    Oliver Brieger
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    DLR Flight Experiments facility
    Tel.: +49 8153 28-2966

    1
    2
    3
    No legends or image credits found for these images

    Aircraft should normally avoid turbulence and wake vortices. But test pilots and researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have deliberately flown into turbulence during flight experiments designed to test numerical models and a new real-time evaluation method that enables the instantaneous review of aeroelastic stability. In Project iLoads (integrated Load analysis at DLR), the load limit of HALO (High Altitude LOng Range Research Aircraft) is being investigated to explore its capacity to carry scientific instrumentation. With these results, future research missions will be able to be carried out to even better effect.

    Exploring the loads

    The HALO research aircraft is equipped with special instrumentation for its atmospheric research and Earth observation missions. These are installed on board, and on special external payloads referred to as the Particle Measurement System (PMS). In order to obtain the maximum amount of data and scientific results from these external payloads, it is important to know how much weight the aircraft can carry. This is because, in order for the aircraft to continue flying safely, a limit is set for the weight of the instrumentation; the attachments are not allowed to exceed a certain mass. Where exactly this limit lies and what role manoeuvres and gusts play in exerting loads on the aircraft is one aspect of project iLoads.

    HALO made to vibrate

    To address this question, the researchers first investigated how the aircraft behaved under various loads. As with a guitar string that vibrates when it is plucked, aircraft also have characteristic frequencies at which they can be made to vibrate. If an externally caused excitation, for example, produced by a gust, is near to the natural frequency of part of the aircraft, high loads may be induced in the structure. These properties have to be taken into account during the construction of the aircraft and the instrumentation.

    To determine the natural vibration behaviour of HALO on the ground and in flight, the researchers installed a measurement system with 67 sensors. “We installed 51 accelerometers and 16 strain gauges on HALO, and this enabled us to achieve extremely fast access to the sensor data and determine the vibration behaviour and load transfer from the PMS payload into the wings in a single test,” explains Julian Sinske, the designer of the experiment.

    Under laboratory conditions, HALO was made to ‘vibrate’ at various frequencies in the hangar at the airport in Oberpfaffenhofen and the amplitudes were recorded. In this way, the properties of the aircraft structure could be precisely determined. The data acquired was incorporated into numerical models and simulations to improve understanding of the aircraft’s behaviour when carrying certain scientific instrumentation.

    The problem is that not all of the parameters can be determined in experiments on the ground. “Unfortunately, the vibration properties of HALO change in flight, as a function of altitude and speed,” says Yves Govers, a Team Leader at the DLR Institute of Aeroelasticity in Göttingen. “This is why we conduct flight tests in which we deliberately fly HALO into turbulence. In this way, we can enhance our models with the missing parameters.”

    The researchers do not search the sky looking for turbulence; they rely on a second research aircraft in the DLR fleet – the Dassault Falcon 20E. Test pilots from the DLR flight experiments facility have been using this to fly in front of HALO and thus generate the wake vortices and turbulence that HALO is deliberately steered into.

    Instant evaluation for direct results

    Previously, the data from flight experiments had to be transferred to a ground station. With project iLoads, in a new development by the Institute of Aeroelasticity, the real-time data from the vibration sensors are continuously distributed from the sensors to multiple computers on board the aircraft. Using this method, the data can be displayed to the researchers on their computers within a matter of seconds during an ongoing flight manoeuvre. This allows them to check, in flight, whether dangerously large vibrations occur as a result of manoeuvres or gusts. Tests in project iLoads have shown how practical the developed system is. If it proves to be successful, it has the potential not only to accelerate research but also to drastically reduce the costs of flight experiments.

    Simulation, experiment, predictions

    In the next stage, the researchers will use the data they have gathered to compare their numerical simulations and models with the manufacturer’s data. For this, they will add HALO’s external loads and attachments to the standard aircraft model. In this way, the researchers can determine how much weight the research aircraft can be loaded with as a maximum. The numerical analyses show what aeroelastic forces affect the research aircraft at which altitude and flight speed. “In theory, we already know everything we need. As a result of the flight experiments, we can now find out whether our models are correct,” says Wolf-Reiner Krüger, Project Leader for iLoads. In this way the scientists can exactly determine what loads HALO can fly with as a maximum and what the instrumentation limits are. “This knowledge will enable future missions to be planned better and carried out to obtain improved results,” explains Krüger.

    Carrying out modifications more quickly

    In order for an aircraft to be able to carry out research, it needs not only the expertise for installing the right instruments and measurement devices on the aircraft – the attachments must also be approved and accepted. “As a recognised development organisation, DLR is permitted to perform modifications on its aircraft and certify them,” says Oliver Brieger, Head of Flight Operations at DLR. But a lot of substantiation is needed for the approval process, to show that the attachments do not compromise the flight dynamics, aeroelasticity or other parameters. “Improved models will enable these modifications to be carried out more quickly. This in turn will speed up research flight operations,” adds Brieger.


    Access mp4 video here .

    About HALO

    The HALO research aircraft is a joint project of German environmental and climate research institutions, and is supported by grants from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF), the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG), the Helmholtz Association (Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren), the Max Planck Society (Max Planck Gesellschaft; MPG), the Leibniz Association (Leibniz Gemeinschaft), the state of Bavaria, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the Jülich Research Centre and DLR.

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:52 am on April 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DLR German Aerospace, ,   

    From Sputnik International via DLR: “Russia, Germany Joint Efforts in Space Likely to Expand – Space Agency “ 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    1
    Sputnik International

    15.04.2016

    Joint efforts between Germany and Russia, especially in space exploration are likely to expand in coming years, possibly with additional missions to Mars, German Aerospace Center (DLR) Chairman Pascale Ehrenfreund told Sputnik.

    ESA/ExoMars
    ESA/ExoMars

    DLR, which serves as the German Space Agency, was part of the ExoMars launch last month involving the European Union and Moscow. The mission consists of an orbiting satellite with an attached landing craft destined for the surface of the red planet.

    “We work well together with Russia. And it is definitely possible that in the framework of operations, of exploration, there will be more cooperation,” Ehrenfreund said on the sidelines of the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on Thursday.

    Ehrenfreund noted that Germany and Russia are discussing future missions to Mars and to the Moon.

    Unlike many government executives at the conference, Ehrenfreund had no hesitation discussing his nation’s ties with Moscow, expressing hope that science can help ease political tensions in other areas.

    “Science is always a bridge and it overcomes many political happenings and problems,” he stated. “And as you also see on the International Space Station, it’s a very good example of international cooperation which is not harmed by any political influences.”

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on February 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DLR German Aerospace,   

    From DLR: “DLR and JAXA strengthen cooperation” 

    DLR Bloc

    German Aerospace Center

    25 February 2016
    Andreas Schütz
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Head, Media Relations Section
    Tel.: +49 2203 601-2474
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

    On 25 February 2016, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) signed an ‘Inter Agency Arrangement for Strategic Partnership’ at the German Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. With this arrangement, both partners intend to jointly undertake the new role of space agencies and significantly contribute to the advancement of the world’s space development.

    The German Ambassador to Japan, Hans Carl von Werther, welcomed the arrangement: “Germany and Japan are highly technological nations that cooperate closely in research and science. The strategic partnership between DLR and JAXA agreed upon today will strengthen both countries.”

    The arrangement was signed by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, and Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA. “The scientific and technical cooperation between Germany and Japan is characterised by high levels of excellence and expertise in tackling common global challenges,” says Ehrenfreund, adding: “Japan is among DLR’s most important partner countries. With this new cooperation arrangement, we want to further strengthen our strategic partnership with JAXA by intensifying not only the current scientific and technical cooperation, but also the cultural exchange between our two research institutions.”

    “Recently, the space development environment has changed significantly with, for example, the rise of the private sector and increasing space development and utilisation by emerging countries. With this arrangement, JAXA aims to build a new role for national space agencies with DLR, with whom we have enjoyed working together as leaders in the space sector. I am confident that we will be able to provide better and more effective value for society through a strategic partnership between both space agencies, which pursue high technology solutions and have excellent human resources. This can be achieved by complementing each other sharing and exploiting synergies,” says Okumura

    At present, various DLR institutes are collaborating with 18 scientific institutions and universities in Japan as part of of more than 30 aerospace projects. These are in the areas of, for example, Earth observation and planetary science, space robotics, aircraft design and atmospheric research. In addition, services in support of government and industry are provided.

    The main goals of the arrangement are:

    the development and utilisation of aerospace technologies to provide solutions to global societal challenges
    the development of substantial joint work on research and development projects and missions
    the development of synergies in German-Japanese cooperation, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of both countries

    In this context, DLR and JAXA intend to collaborate in the area of Space Utilisation and R&D with for example, L- and X-band radar technologies for Earth observation, work together in disaster management, and conduct research into reusable launchers. Another important area is the exploration of the Solar System; at present, the DLR MASCOT lander is on board the JAXA Hayabusa 2 spacecraft, en route to asteroid Ryugu previously 1999 JU3), where it will land after 2018 and explore its surface. Germany and Japan also utilise the International Space Station (ISS) intensively to answer questions in the fields of medicine, materials science and fundamental research.

    DLR MASCOT Lander for JAXA
    DLR/MASCOT Lander

    NAOJ Hayabusa 2
    JAXA/Hayabusa 2 spacecraft

    Germany and Japan also utilise the International Space Station (ISS) intensively to answer questions in the fields of medicine, materials science and fundamental research.

    Industrial cooperation between the two countries will also be intensified.

    See the full article here .

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    DLR Center

    DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:23 pm on February 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DLR German Aerospace, , , New Bedrest Adventure Adds Artificial Gravity   

    From ESA: New Bedrest Adventure Adds Artificial Gravity 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner
    European Space Agency

    2 February 2016
    No writer credit found

    The human body is made for living on Earth – take away the constant pull of gravity and muscles and bones begin to waste away. Living in space is hard on astronauts and ways must be found to keep them fit and safe.

    ESA and NASA are planning to confine human subjects to bed for 60 days in 2017 in Cologne, Germany to probe the effects of spaceflight, with periods in a centrifuge to test if artificial gravity can keep them healthy.

    Bedrest studies offer a way of testing measures to counter some of the negative aspects of living in space. Volunteers are kept in beds with the head end tilted 6° below the horizontal. For 60 days one of the subject’s shoulders must be touching the bed at all times.

    As blood flows to the head and muscle is lost from underuse, researchers can investigate changes and test techniques from diet to physical exercise.

    Human centrifuge for artificial gravity

    The study will be conducted at the DLR German Aerospace Center’s :envihab flagship site in Cologne. Built from the ground up to research the human body under spaceflight conditions, it allows researchers to change almost every aspect of the environment, including humidity, daylight and temperature.

    ESA and DLR have already run their first study – spare a thought for the 12 brave volunteers who finished 60 days in bed last November – but this one will be the first to use the facility’s centrifuge. By spinning the subjects, the blood is encouraged to flow back towards the feet.

    The advantage of artificial gravity is that it has the potential of reducing most of the negative effects of weightlessness on the human body in one go.

    :envihab’s centrifuge can adjust the centre of spin so that subjects can be spun around their heads or chests. Changing the position could have far-reaching consequences for rehabilitation but, as this is a new domain, nobody knows yet.

    Jennifer Ngo-Anh, leading ESA’s human research, says, “I am happy to start this new bedrest study with our friends and colleagues from NASA, our first in 10 years. This study begins a series of bedrest studies focusing on artificial gravity, making use of the ESA-built centrifuges in Cologne and at MEDES in Toulouse, France.

    “This exciting research platform offers scientists around the world a way to collect results and contribute to long-duration missions to the Moon, Mars and even beyond.”

    The results are helping astronaut physicians to design better ways for astronauts to keep fit, but the knowledge is also directly applicable to bedridden people on Earth.

    Scientists are invited to submit research proposals via this link. The letter of intent is due by 15 February, with a workshop at ESA’s technical heart, ESTEC, on 22 February.

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    NASA image

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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