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First week ‘on Mars’

14. April 2014, 14.25
We have already spent one week ‘on Mars’ and yet it feels like we arrived yesterday. Our ‘landing’, during the night of Friday 28 March, was quite tumultuous, with an arrival at sunset in pouring rain, strong winds and a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius… like an actual Martian sandstorm. We unloaded all our luggage and proceeded to the last interviews with journalists from the University of Hawaii – in the rain. “Good luck and see you in four months!” said Kim Binsted as she exited the habitat. And our mission had begun!
Lucie  Poulet
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Lucie Poulet
 
 

Mission HI-SEAS: 'Life on Mars'

09. April 2014, 13.35
Lucie Poulet said goodbye to the outside world for four months; the scientist from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is a crewmember in the Mars simulation run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Among other things, the 28-year-old scientist will use the second mission within the Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation (HI-SEAS) programme to study the influence that light of different wavelengths has on plants. But she will also be the subject of intense observation – the University of Hawaii is using the habitat to examine how the six participants behave and work together during the months of isolation. In this blog she tells about her ‘life on Mars’.
Lucie  Poulet
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Lucie Poulet
 
 

A close encounter

24. March 2014, 11.54
"I have something nice to post in our blog," said my colleague Cesare Capararo from the console. What he had to say made me put the certification plan I was working on down and walk over to the office of satellite experts Jaap Herrman, Michael Kirschner and Kay Müller – a very special rendezvous will occur in space on Friday 28 March 2014.
Tom Uhlig
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Tom Uhlig
 
 

Bloggers and social media users – invitation to the commissioning of the Rosetta lander Philae in Cologne on 28 March

19. March 2014, 15.20
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission will explore the origins of the Solar System by studying Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, one of its oldest and most primordial bodies. The mission consists of an orbiter and the Philae lander. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has played a significant role in the development of Philae and operates the Lander Control Centre in Cologne. DLR is preparing for and will manage the difficult, daring and, never before attempted. landing on the comet nucleus.
Fabian Walker
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Fabian Walker
 
 

Another term comes to an end…

17. March 2014, 12.53
There was, once again, a nice change of pace this week, not on the console or in the office, but in our training room! One of my extra jobs – in fact it has actually become more of my focus – is training. In particular, training the new colleagues that will support us after their roughly nine-month 'apprenticeship' at the console.
Tom Uhlig
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Tom Uhlig
 
 

SOFIA… a success story in jeopardy

14. March 2014, 09.34
[Translated from the German original on 19 March 2014]

Since 2007, a converted Boeing 747 SP has been flying to look into the depths of space through an on-board telescope. This airborne observatory is a joint venture between the US space agency NASA and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). As part of the current budget statement for NASA, it was announced from Washington that it would not be possible to finance continued operations as of 2015. This would not only be a major blow for the scientists that have planned a great deal of interesting astronomical research for the coming years, but also for the relationship between NASA and DLR.

Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

Joint declaration – Franco-German Ministerial Council

21. February 2014, 10.42
The Franco-German Ministerial Council met in Paris on 19 February 2014 to discuss a wide range of topics. Aviation, space, energy, transport and security were all mentioned in the joint declaration, once again demonstrating that DLR is working on areas of high political relevance. This is interesting and important, but in addition, concrete decisions with regard to research and development that will affect our work here at DLR were included in the joint declaration.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

Setting the course… to dare for more DLR!

20. February 2014, 14.33
The German federal government has been getting down to business, the New Year is well under way, and institutional and personal resolutions and claims have been set down at various New Year's receptions. For the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) these are to keep up the good work, continue making important contributions to national and global challenges, and to make the best possible use of the money entrusted to us by the taxpayers. All this comes at a time marked not only by political manoeuvring, but also by large-scale societal changes that influence our actions.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

Software update for Columbus

14. February 2014, 13.41
"Do not switch off your computer, an important update is being installed" – this message frequently drives me to distraction. My laptop has the annoying habit of beginning this kind of modification precisely when I need it to get hold of some information quickly just before rushing to my next appointment. What also bothers me is that I never really know what is going on inside the computer that supposedly belongs to me – so different to the periodic updates for Columbus on-board software.
Tom Uhlig
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Tom Uhlig
 
 

Congratulations Columbus!

07. February 2014, 10.00
Wow! Today, you could say some of us have spent six years of our lives 'in the spotlight' – because Columbus has now been in orbit for exactly six years! Not many of the original 'pioneers' remain – you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Those were some exciting days, back in February 2008. The 1E-mission – the first 'European' flight of the Space Shuttle that would take the Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS), had been repeatedly postponed for various reasons over the years; in particular, the Columbia tragedy in February 2003 pushed the ISS schedule back a long way. Finally, the launch of 'our spaceship' was set for 6 December 2007 – there were some tense minutes when, just a couple of hours before lift-off, the launch was cancelled for technical reasons. So near and yet so far from the start of the mission! In the days that followed, and after long discussions, the launch date was set for 7 February 2008. The team would be able to enjoy a quiet and relaxing Christmas holiday – the last one for some years to come…
Tom Uhlig
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Tom Uhlig
 
 

Col-CC blog – the beginning

03. February 2014, 16.05
Human spaceflight in itself is exciting – increasingly so for those of us in Europe and DLR in 2014, with the launch of two ESA astronauts, German Alexander Gerst and Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will conduct research.
Tom Uhlig
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Tom Uhlig
 
 

Ariane 5 – milestones reached at the end of the year

19. December 2013, 14.35
Nothing is more gratifying than starting the holidays with good news! A good example of this is ESA's Ariane 5 programme, which has taken some important steps in the closing days of the current year – the ordering of a further 18 Ariane 5 ECA launchers for the existing Ariane operations, the successful completion of 'verification key points' for the Ariane 5 ME 'Midlife Evolution' development programme and the start of construction work on a new upper stage tank facility in Bremen.
Thilo Kranz
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Thilo Kranz
 
 

Science, science management, science policy … part 3

12. November 2013, 17.33
Science needs flexibility if it is to produce innovation from creativity. At the same time, it is understandable that taxpayers demand sensible use of the funds they provide. Dispelling this apparent contradiction – individual 'liberty' versus societal expectations – is the primary task of those involved in the planning of research activities; that is, science managers. Political bodies have the task of formulating policy anywhere – but only there – where it can be defined on the basis of democratic legitimacy that is derived from elections.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

T minus 377 days!

30. October 2013, 14.55
377 days remain, just over one year– quite a significant amount of time. Considering that the duration of the mission up to landing is 3906 days, this is merely the final10 percent of a 10-year-long journey through interplanetary space.
Koen Geurts
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Koen Geurts
 
 

Rosetta and Philae – Nomen est omen

22. October 2013, 16.01
Scientists often use abbreviations to designate their missions or projects; examples are MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) or SHEFEX (Sharp Edged Flight Experiment). But ESA’s Rosetta mission, which will mark a first in the history of space exploration by becoming the first spacecraft to follow a comet and carry a lander that will touch down on the comet, was given its name for a different reason. The name refers to the Rosetta Stone, which allowed hieroglyphs to be deciphered.
Manuela Braun
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Manuela Braun
 
 

Science, science management, science policy… Part 2

15. October 2013, 12.19
In the previous blog entry about various aspects of research and development, I attempted to cast some light on the different roles of science, science management and science policy. Let us assume for reasons of simplicity (and quite contrary to reality) that all protagonists involved behave in their respective fields of responsibility in such a way that, ultimately, science operates optimally. In a slightly liberal interpretation of what Saint-Exupéry wrote: 'Science is not there to foresee, but to enable.' (The original quote by Saint-Exupéry is: Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.). But this is by no means the end of the journey in practical terms.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

German federal parliamentary elections and their consequences

01. October 2013, 13.34
On 22 September 2013, two events significant to DLR took place – the German federal parliamentary elections and 'German Aerospace Day', held in Cologne. By opening up our research labs and offering a wide-ranging programme of events, we were able to, together with our partners, the European Space Agency (ESA), Cologne/Bonn Airport and the German Air Force, welcome tens of thousands of visitors to Cologne-Porz. It was great to see that the research being conducted at DLR was met with such an enthusiastic response on the part of the general public; even long lines did not discourage visitors, both young and old, from taking part. The federal parliamentary elections were held on the same day and, in addition to polling voters about their party preferences, it would have been interesting to find out where they stood on issues relating to research and development.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

Science, science management and science policy…

18. September 2013, 10.50
Though none could claim seriously that research, development and science tip the balance in the outcome of elections, they nevertheless retain a fundamental significance: the insight we acquire today will serve tomorrow in the interests of safeguarding our country and our society as a whole. This is especially true for countries that, as a result of geographical, geological and other regional factors, focus on investing in 'minds' – because they have to. Thus, the development of research, development and science is relevant, and leads individuals to 'interesting' conclusions. But beware – in the words of Max Weber: "Academic life is a mad hazard," it is resistant to short-term planning!
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

First test on Japanese soil

26. August 2013, 10.36
The MASCOT asteroid lander will be delivered to the Japanese space agency JAXA at the start of next year. It will be integrated into the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft and prepared for launch, scheduled for late 2014. There is still a long way to go, but there is little time!
Christian Grimm
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Christian Grimm
 
 

MASCOT: A 'shoebox' with complex inner workings

21. August 2013, 13.17
The 'small’ asteroid lander MASCOT will set off for asteroid 1999 JU3 on board the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission at the end of 2014. Although from the outside it seems to be the size of a shoebox, the lander’s stature is deceiving! Its sophisticated and highly developed payload, and its powerful communication and computing system make MASCOT a high-tech, albeit very compact, autonomous spacecraft, perfectly equipped to cope with the arduous and long mission it faces.
Christian Grimm
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Christian Grimm
 
 

A diary of the TanDEM-X formation swapping

09. August 2013, 12.00
Between 6 and 9 August 2013, and after great preparation, the team of the TanDEM-X mission was excited and ready for the swap formation of the twin satellites TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X.
Edith  Maurer
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Edith Maurer
 
 

Formation swapping - Comic about the TanDEM-X mission

30. July 2013, 11.00
An exciting manoeuvre awaits us. In early August (6–8 August 2013), the two TanDEM-X mission satellites will be reversing their formation. Until now, the TanDEM-X satellite has been circling around its twin, TerraSAR-X, in an anti-clockwise direction; after the reversal, it will circle clockwise. This complicated change to the formation in which they have been flying for almost three years is necessary to observe regions that are difficult to image, such as mountain ranges, from the opposite viewing angle. This blog entry takes an unconventional look at the planned change in formation ...
Ralph Kahle
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Ralph Kahle
 
 

The 'European' Pandora's Box

05. June 2013, 09.28
Unfortunately, the debate regarding the relationship between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU) continues, although the essential aspects have been clarified and the integration of ESA into the EU is off the table – not just for legal reasons. The myth of Pandora's Box tells the story of how Zeus gave Pandora a box with the instruction that it should be passed on to other people, but never be opened. However, Pandora opened the box, from which vices and bad habits escaped …
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

From a 'cold potato' to a 'dead horse' …

22. May 2013, 13.57
Some time ago, in this blog, I wrote about a heated debate concerning a 'cold potato'; back then, I discussed the relationship between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU). Germany does not support the current efforts to integrate ESA into the EU. We consider an intergovernmental European Space Agency to be necessary for a sustainable way of working. Time has passed, and the 'cold potato' has become a 'dead horse'. It has been clear for some time that this integration is not only illogical, but also unworkable.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

The new DLR short-arm centrifuge in :envihab

30. April 2013, 13.25
The new short-arm human centrifuge was installed in :envihab at DLR Cologne between late February and early March 2013. Installation of the 'heart of :envihab' lasted several weeks. We took advantage of this rare opportunity to take a closer look at the individual stages of the installation (with time-lapse video).
Fabian Walker
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Fabian Walker
 
 

National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs

19. April 2013, 15.30
The National Space Symposium has been held annually in Colorado Springs, United States, for 28 years. DLR has been involved for much of this time, contributing aspects of its research and development, and progressing far beyond the role of an 'ordinary member'. A delegation from DLR attended this year's symposium, actively participating by giving talks and taking part in exhibitions.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

How far has DESERTEC actually progressed?

11. April 2013, 13.55
In contrast to widespread public perception, DESERTEC, the desert electricity project, is not simply an investment programme of 400 billion euros or more where a start is made today on a project that will reach completion in 40 years. DESERTEC is far more about initiating sustainable development.
Robert Pitz-Paal
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Robert Pitz-Paal
 
 

東京 にある DLR (DLR in Tokio)

05. March 2013, 14.25
In addition to having offices in Washington, Brussels and Paris, DLR has now opened an office in Tokyo. To mark this occasion, a small delegation flew to Japan, where its members met with representatives from many institutions. A reception was held, which was attended by guests from Japan and Germany to mark the opening. This function was hosted jointly with the German ambassador, Volker Stanzel, at his official residence. These days in Japan meant a great deal to me, both with respect to the opportunities it brings for DLR and on a personal level, for myself.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

Video – To Australia in 90 minutes at hypersonic speed

20. February 2013, 10.20
The revolutionary SpaceLiner concept offers a unique vision for a high-speed passenger transportation system of the future by seamlessly spanning the boundaries between aviation and spaceflight. Currently under design at the German Aerospace Center, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), the ultra-fast hypersonic spaceplane is designed to transport 50 passengers from Australia to Europe in an unprecedented 90 minutes.
Fabian Walker
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Fabian Walker
 
 

Landsat 8 – into space on Carnival Monday

12. February 2013, 13.24
For over 40 years, the US Landsat series of satellites has been delivering multispectral and thermal imaging data of the entire planet at a consistent high quality. As a consequence, the Landsat data archive has become an important tool for Earth remote sensing. It has helped to visualise long-term changes on the ground, to explore the influence of mankind on the biosphere and to manage natural resources.
Thilo Kranz
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Thilo Kranz