Jan Woerner's Blog
 
 

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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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 …
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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.
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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.
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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.
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ESA council meeting at ministerial level – a personal view

26. November 2012, 13.17
In my last blog entry, I referred to the preparations for the European Space Agency council meeting at ministerial level, to be held in Naples and the key topics 'the future of ESA', 'launch systems' and 'utilisation of the International Space Station'. Well, now that the conference has ended, it is time to take stock. At this point, I would like to highlight primarily my own personal experience, since the facts and agreed conclusions have already received plenty of attention in the media.
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A heated debate concerning 'a cold potato'

09. November 2012, 10.56
My blog has been quiet in recent weeks; the reason for this is that it has been hectic. Too many appointments and events – from the ILA Berlin Airshow and the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Naples, to internal appointments within DLR – have fully taken up the time allocated to me by Earth's rotation. One particularly important event is the upcoming ESA Council meeting at ministerial level, which will also take place in Naples, on 20 and 21 November 2012. This meeting is being built up as a directional decision-making session dealing with a range of open questions.
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Equal opportunities through flexible work schedules

23. October 2012, 16.49
This article was originally written for the ATKearney 361° Blog.

The lifestyles of DLR employees are as many and diverse as DLR's research areas – this represents both an opportunity and a challenge. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) needs the best people – both male and female – now and in the future, to maintain its excellence in research and development. Therefore, we at DLR endeavour to create an environment in which employees can fully develop their potential. From my own experience, having had two working parents, I can say that, not only do I believe in the issue of equal opportunity in theoretical terms, but am also committed to it practically.
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A political week - with a sad ending

27. August 2012, 16.59
DLR got quite a bit of political attention last week, with a steady parade of three Federal ministers, a State minister and two State secretaries. Such contacts are very important for DLR because – rather than give a quantitative balance in terms of "what are you doing with the taxpayers' money?" – we are able to show them the work carried out at our research sites. Unfortunately, the weekend ended sadly with the death of a great man: Neil Armstrong.





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Things that can happen on Friday the thirteenth…

16. July 2012, 10.53
Friday the thirteenth. In Paris. Was it a day like any other? No. What seemed like an entirely normal day at ESA, the meeting took an unusual turn. Whether this was an unlucky day or simply a day of perfectly normal chaos is a matter of personal judgement.
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Visit to the Farnborough Airshow

11. July 2012, 10.15
Alongside the ILA Berlin Airshow and the Paris Airshow at Le Bourget, the Farnborough Airshow, being held at the moment, is the third large aerospace exhibition in Europe. My first visit to this event involved aviation and space to an equal extent. The journey there, access and my schedule presented major challenges, and surmounting these made for an interesting trip, albeit one with a few rough edges.
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Participation – panacea or necessary evil?

13. June 2012, 14.25
In all areas of daily life, from the family environment through to life in social organisations and associations, and into companies, universities, research centres and the world of politics, the words 'participation' or 'involvement' are employed, insisted upon and, sometimes, also feared. What gives the word 'participation' this mythical status? Is it a universal panacea for avoiding trouble, substituting personal responsibility with 'majority opinion', or simply a necessary evil that puts the brakes on any attempt at swift reform? Nearly 20 years of experience in scientific management have enabled met to reach a conclusion in this regard.
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Long time no see ...

16. May 2012, 15.04
Quite some time has passed since my previous blog post – it was on the launch of the third European space transporter, ATV-3. This isn't due to any 'blog fatigue' on my part, but rather to the many activities that have simply kept me from writing my next entry. But I guess you could say that this is a fairly weak excuse, since it does not really take all that long to write a blog post. Blog entries give me the opportunity to report on my work as Chairman of the DLR Executive Board outside the 'normal' channels of communication and thus to allow all interested parties, both within and outside DLR, to gain a little more insight.
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ATV-3 Edoardo Amaldi

27. March 2012, 09.51
On 23 March 2012, an Ariane 5 rocket took off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana carrying the third European ATV space transporter to the International Space Station (ISS). I had the opportunity to witness the launch on location together with the representatives of other ESA member states, and to discuss future activities in the European space sector. It was an ideal opportunity to prepare the formal agreements for the next few weeks and months leading up to the ESA Ministerial Conference.
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Lessons from the end of the ROSAT mission

26. October 2011, 16.30
The German ROSAT research satellite was launched on 1 June 1990 on a Delta II launcher and successfully scanned space for X-ray sources for nine years. Its record of achievements extends from discovering countless X-ray sources to analysing galactic clusters, X-ray binary stars and black holes to discovering the reflection of the Sun's X-ray radiation by the Moon. The findings by the scientists involved in the mission have appeared in over 7000 publications. After orbiting Earth for 21 years, ROSAT re-entered the atmosphere over the Bay of Bengal. It is not known whether any parts reached the Earth's surface.
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MAKS in Moscow

22. August 2011, 09.55
A great deal has happened since DLR’s participation in the Aerospace trade show at Le Bourget in June, and it can all be followed on the recently revamped DLR homepage. Last week’s events mainly focused on the MAKS Aviation and Space Salon in Moscow, the third trade fair for the international aerospace industry, where DLR has been showcasing its work, following its appearances at Le Bourget (Paris) and ILA in Berlin. Just as at the Le Bourget trade fair, at MAKS we were once again able to engage in many interesting and important talks.
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One more time!

16. June 2011, 14.06
In my last blog entry, I focussed on a farewell to the shuttle fleet and some observations on the paradigm shift occurring in the space sector. Space Shuttle Endeavour has now landed safely and Atlantis is being prepared for launch. Images of the International Space Station (ISS) with Space Shuttle Endeavour and docked with the European space transporter ATV 'Johannes Kepler', taken from a Soyuz capsule as it was departing, already have historical value. This time, I would like to focus on my reappointment as Chairman of the DLR Executive Board and on the aspects that will be of central importance in my ongoing work.
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Reflections on parting

16. May 2011, 15.16
On 16 May, the Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched en route to the International Space Station (ISS). On board was the large science experiment, AMS, designed to look for evidence of dark matter and antimatter. The flight is Endeavour's last, and it heralds the end of the shuttle era. In parallel with this somewhat technical farewell, we have also had to say goodbye to Thomas Reiter, who has been Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations for the European Space Agency (ESA)since mid-April. Two departures in the area of space exploration were sufficient reason for me to start reflecting on fundamental issues in spaceflight.
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ESA Council meeting and a reception at the German Ambassador's in Paris

18. March 2011, 14.58
An important meeting of the ESA Council took place on 16 and 17 March in Paris. Among other matters, it dealt with the International Space Station (ISS), ensuring European access to space, and the appointment of ESA Directors. On the first evening of the Council meeting, I was invited by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Paris, Reinhard Schäfers, to visit his official residence. It was a good opportunity to speak, not only about German space strategy in general, but also about the coordination of space activities at a time when we are all concerned regarding the news about the events in Japan.
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DLR, Europe and international cooperation

18. February 2011, 11.57
The topic of 'national activities versus international cooperation' has been discussed quite a bit recently. The 'either … or' question has become a fundamental issue for everyday politics. Our activities in the first two months of 2011 prove that we are not treating this as an 'either … or' issue; instead, we see the combination of national and European efforts and the activities arising from these efforts as a promising arrangement.
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Wikileaks and the repercussions for DLR

06. January 2011, 10.52
The release of secret US documents has caused excitement in recent weeks, both in the news media and among the general public. The latest 'revelations' by Wikileaks concern DLR activities in the space field. Two things must happen now: the 'information' must be considered critically and the repercussions have to be thought about in detail.
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Happy Holidays! Cooperation with partners in the United States

16. December 2010, 12.12
Shortly before Christmas, the DLR office in Washington DC invites our partners to attend a Holiday reception. This way, various DLR's various US aerospace sector partners are invited to take a look back at the past year in a convivial atmosphere, and also to make plans for the future. This year, the reception occurred at the end of what proved to be a fascinating business trip, one which took me right across the US and gave me the opportunity to meet many of our partners there.
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A special type of meeting: the IAA Heads of Space Agencies Summit

18. November 2010, 15.25
On 17 November 2011, the Heads of the world's Space Agencies met in Washington, D.C. on the 50th anniversary of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) to agree on a joint declaration, 'Space for Humanity', discuss related activities and possible future partnerships. The main meeting was chaired by Professor Walter Kröll, Former Chairman of the DLR Board for several years.
Jan Wörner
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DLR as a service provider - supplying information during crises

19. October 2010, 08.49
DLR has long been using its special expertise and facilities to provide data and data products during crisis situations, which help humanitarian assistance, in particular, to be guaranteed. In a previous blog post, I described a discussion I had with the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière. Since then, a few weeks have gone by. We have, in that time, intensively continued the activities we discussed and have taken the first steps towards a creating a permanent institutional framework for them.
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Visiting Asia with the German Economics Minister – a very special experience

18. October 2010, 10.06
The German Economics Minister, Rainer Brüderle, travelled across Asia for a week, presenting German economic policy in China and Japan, and promoting cooperation between these countries and Germany. The delegation included journalists and a number of experts on the economy who either had special relationships in the region or were interested in acquiring them. As the representative of DLR, I had a special role within the group, and this became increasingly apparent over the course of the trip.
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Inauguration of the DLR ground station in Inuvik

12. August 2010, 10.05
DLR’s new satellite data receiving station in Inuvik, northwestern Canada, was officially inaugurated on 10 August 2010. Representatives of several Canadian space and political organisations travelled to Inuvik for the event, as did we from DLR. The beautiful weather seemed tailor-made for celebrating the cooperation between Canada and Germany, and the event closed with an enjoyable reception.
Jan Wörner
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ILA 2010, and more …

11. June 2010, 14.00
The now 100-year-old Berlin Air Show (ILA) was a great success overall for DLR. Agreements were signed, contacts were maintained and re-established, and DLR showed off its achievements in the exhibition hall and on the showground. The long hoped-for summer weather guaranteed the success of ILA but was, at the same time, something of a physical burden for the staff. For me, as DLR Chairman, it was simply great to present DLR's achievements to a broad audience.
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Peenemünde, a name with a special place in German history

09. June 2010, 16.47
On 6 June 2010, the President of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, David Williams, and the previous NASA administrator, Mike Griffin, visited Rostock. They came to discuss possible forms of collaboration with the University of Rostock and DLR, and also to visit Peenemünde. In the company of Henry Tesch, the Science Minister of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) and the Rector of the University of Rostock, Wolfgang Schareck, we visited Peenemünde and the Historical-Technical Museum located there.
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Former University President and DLR Board Chairman to be ESA Director General?

31. May 2010, 21.42
The period of office for the current ESA Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, ends in 2011. Because so far only one German, Reimar Lüst, has been director general of the European Space Agency since its inception, it seems fairly obvious for a German candidate to be in the running for the forthcoming election of a successor. Preliminary discussions with all ESA member states confirmed that a German candidate would have very good prospects.
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A volcanic eruption affects the whole of Europe – is the air clear?

26. April 2010, 10.20
Two days after the successful flight of DLR's Falcon research aircraft, the airspace over Germany has been re-opened. Admittedly, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano is still ejecting lava and ash, but the German weather service (DWD), the German air traffic control organisation (DFS) and the German Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVBS) have authorised flights again on the basis of current weather data. DLR has carried out two more flights after requests from the authorities, and the dust has settled, or – to be more precise – has moved on.
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A volcanic eruption affects the whole of Europe – part 2

18. April 2010, 22.22
After air traffic over Europe largely came to a standstill on Friday, and the public is increasingly discussing the question of how to judge the situation. At the same time, responsibility, expertise and effective actions in a problematic situation are confused.
Jan Wörner
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A volcanic eruption affects the whole of Europe

16. April 2010, 21.40
As of today, nearly all Europeans know that Iceland has active volcanos, and some are even familiar with the name Eyjafjallajökull. The consequences of the eruption have paralysed air traffic over a wide area. DLR was able – as were its partner organizations, NASA and ESA – to use its expertise and access to appropriate satellite data to inform the public about the extent of the problem.
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A week of recharging on an island – away, but still present

09. April 2010, 08.50
This entry doesn’t deal with the usual bustle in and around DLR; it is quite simply about a few days of vacation on an East Frisian island and the special opportunity it provided to harmonise relaxation and work.
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The fourth man on the Moon — an experience that lasts forever

26. March 2010, 15.36
On 24 March 2010, Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon as part of the Apollo programme, visited the Gasometer in Oberhausen. Apart from the personal encounter (it was my third meeting with an Apollo astronaut, and they have always impressed me), I had the chance to be in the presence of an enthusiastic and motivating witness to an incredible pioneering feat, someone whose lecture revealed far more than a just report of an extraordinary mission.
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Three years as Chairman of DLR – a challenge every day

01. March 2010, 15.05
On 1 March 2007, I assumed the post of Chairman of the Management Board of the German Aerospace Center, DLR, and in doing so, embarked upon a personal change in career of unimagined and unexpected magnitude. The first three of five years in this post are now behind me and it is time to do something akin to drawing up a personal balance sheet, to prepare myself for the decisions and developments required in the future.
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Aerospace technology – revolutionary or evolutionary?

01. March 2010, 10.32
At the Science and Technology Day at the Berlin-Brandenburg Science Academy (Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften; BBAW), lectures were given on the subject of development in nature and technology. I was invited to present a paper dealing with evolution and revolution in aerospace technologies. This was, as my preparation showed me, a very exciting challenge indeed …
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Kennedy Space Center; you can feel the breath and the tradition of spaceflight

08. February 2010, 15.56
I had planned to use the launch of the shuttle Endeavour with the European elements Node 3 and Cupola to intensify personal contacts with various participants in the space sector. The focus of our talks was on the current mission, of course, but they also addressed issues such as the procurement of Meteosat Third Generation and the Obama administration’s plan for space in the coming years, published a week ago.
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NASA and DLR, two organizations… mutual ideas

22. January 2010, 19.15
Because of NASA's achievements, the United States continues to be regarded as the most important and strongest nation with regard to space. Until now, the relationship with other countries, including Germany, has been characterised by the fundamental view that all American missions should be realised using American expertise on the critical path. The future role of partners was a central subject during the visit by Charles Bolden.
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A special impulse ... Solar Impulse

15. January 2010, 11.24
A very special experience: I had the opportunity to observe at first hand the work of DLR's staff on Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg's project to circumnavigate the world in a solar-powered plane.
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2010 ...

12. January 2010, 09.06
My blog as Chairman of DLR has been set up to communicate internally and externally, focusing not only on general topics but also giving more personal insights. With this in mind, here, at the turn of the year, is the first article.
Jan Wörner
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