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Anlagenprototyp des niederländischen Projektpartners HYGEAR

Refuelling with hydrogen

2. September 2015

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), together with partners from science and industry, have developed a new method for producing hydrogen from diesel and biodiesel as part of the EU NEMESIS 2+ project. In future, this could be used in areas where decentralised hydrogen production is needed – for example, for filling up fuel cell vehicles, or for processes used within the glass and steel industry. During the project, a prototype was also built and successfully tested – it is the same size as a shipping container and, as such, can be integrated into existing infrastructure with relative ease.

Um die Auswirkungen der Schwerelosigkeit auf den menschlichen Körper zu simulieren, liegen die Probanden zum Kopf hin um sechs Grad geneigt.

‘Terrestrial astronauts’ for 60 days

27. August 2015

For the next few weeks, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) :envihab research facility will be home to 12 men in good health, aged between 20 and 45 years. The men are test subjects for a long-term bedrest study – they will be confined to bedrest for two months with two weeks of experimental investigations and tests. Their beds will be tilted at an angle of six degrees below the horizontal, so that their bodily fluids shift towards the upper body; the bones and muscles in their lower part of their bodies will lose strength as a result of the lack of movement. “In this way we simulate the effects of microgravity on the human body,” says Edwin Mulder, leader of the study and a scientist at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, about the study, which is being carried out by DLR on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). “Our volunteers are, so to speak, terrestrial astronauts.” Half of the test subjects will undergo reactive jump training several times a week, which involves lying on a specially positioned training device. “We want to see whether this very intensive training can be an effective countermeasure to the deterioration of the bones and muscles.”

20 September 2015 – German Aerospace Day in Cologne

26. August 2015

On 20 September 2015, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and its partners, the European Space Agency (ESA), Cologne/Bonn Airport and the German Air Force, will be hosting German Aerospace Day (Tag der Luft- und Raumfahrt) in Cologne. On the day, DLR researchers will open the doors to their institutes and laboratories and allow the public to take a look at their work. There will also be a major aircraft exhibition, where visitors will be able to see DLR's unique research aircraft, German Air Force aircraft and an Emirates Airbus A380.

Ceres – unusual landslides and unstable crater walls

25. August 2015

The lower the Dawn space probe flies over the dwarf planet Ceres with its on-board camera, the more puzzling – and exciting – the celestial body appears. “Some of the things we are seeing have never been seen anywhere else in the Solar System,” says Ralf Jaumann from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). “Except for on Earth.” Dawn is now looking down onto the surface of Ceres from an altitude of just 1470 kilometres. The first images acquired from its High Altitude Mapping Orbit (HAMO) show a ‘pyramid’ with unusual landslides, unstable crater walls and chains of mountains. “We can only speculate about these things at the moment.” Where the bright stripes along the pyramid-shaped mountain come from and whether the surface of the dwarf planet is comprised of different materials are questions that the planetary researchers are still trying to answer.

DLR at MAKS 2015 in Moscow

25. August 2015

The International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2015 is being held in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, from 25 to 30 August 2015. This is the sixth time that the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is exhibiting at the biennial Russian aerospace exhibition. With an exhibition space of 100 square metres, DLR will be presenting its concepts and technologies for the space and aeronautics of tomorrow. DLR satellite technology is the main focus of the exhibit.

Oleg Kononenko

Kontur-2 – Controlling robots remotely from space

19. August 2015

Although only about 400 kilometres separate the Kontur-2 joystick and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) ROKVISS robot, the remote control operations that took place on 18 August 2015 were truly special: Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, flying aboard the International Space Station (ISS) over Earth at 28,000 kilometres per hour, controlled the robot on the ground while in microgravity. The connection between space and Earth is not one-directional – the ROKVISS (Robotic Components Verification on the ISS) sends data back to the joystick when contact forces occur on the ground. At 16:37 CEST (ISS orbit 3775), the metal fingers of the robot moved for the first time – controlled remotely from space. “At that moment, Kononenko not only saw what was happening using a camera, but, through the joystick, felt exactly what was happening with the robot in our laboratory,” says Jordi Artigas from the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. In autumn 2015 the first ‘tele-handshake’ will be performed between the ISS and Earth with this technology, when the DLR Robot ‘Space Justin’ remotely shakes hands with someone on Earth from space – with force feedback.

Pascale Ehrenfreund ist neue Vorstandsvorsitzende des DLR

Pascale Ehrenfreund – the new Chair of the DLR Executive Board

17. August 2015

Pascale Ehrenfreund took office as Chair of the Executive Board at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on 17 August 2015. This places her at the head of one of Europe’s largest research institutes and its 8000 employees.

Bionik in der Luftfahrt: Venusfliegenfalle als Vorbild für Landeklappen

Bionics in aeronautics – Venus Flytrap used as a model for new flap design

14. August 2015

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are researching a morphing wing trailing edge that can be smoothly transformed into any shape and will make conventional flaps redundant. The flaps on the wings of today’s commercial airliners are actuated via a complicated mechanism. Their arrangement and the resulting gap when they are extended compromises the aerodynamics, increases fuel consumption and contributes to inflight noise. The new technology, on the other hand, is flexible, its movement being based on that of carnivorous plants. This enables the gap between the wing and the flap to be eliminated.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko approaches perihelion

11. August 2015

For weeks, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been active, hurling dust and gas into space – but it will not reach the closest point to the Sun in its orbit, the perihelion, until 13 August 2015 at exactly 4:03 CEST. It will take another six-and-a-half years to get this close to the Sun once again.

A virtual flight over Atlantis Chaos on board Mars Express

3. August 2015

Countless myths have been woven around the legendary realm of Atlantis. Circa 350 BC, the philosopher Plato depicted a maritime power situated in Atlantis that controlled broad areas of Europe and Africa. It was most likely an island whose inhabitants ruled over the people living in the multiple regions bordering the Mediterranean.

Churyumov%2dGerasimenko

Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Almost like firn and shaped by 'hail'

30. July 2015

On 12 November 2014, as the Philae lander slowly descended onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the first instruments on board began to take measurements. Philae touched down three times during the first ever landing on a comet, scraped against a crater rim, and finally arrived at the unforeseen landing site, called Abydos, at 18:31 CEST.

Ceres

Fertility deities on dwarf planet Ceres

28. July 2015

Acting on behalf of the NASA Dawn mission team, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) chose 17 of approximately 150 fertility deities to name the most prominent craters on Ceres, which they presented to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). These names were chosen because the dwarf planet bears the name of the Roman goddess of agriculture.

Technologies, outlook and life cycle assessments for electromobility – DLR and the Wuppertal Institute present the results of their study

23. July 2015

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) teamed up with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie GmbH; WI) in the STROMbegleitung (electricity evaluation) study to analyse technologies, outlook and life-cycle assessments for electrically-powered transport.

Kontur%2d2

KONTUR-2 – remote control in space

22. July 2015

The new crew on their way to the International Space Station (ISS) – cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and astronauts Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren – will be carrying a compact piece of luggage on board the Soyuz spacecraft. The KONTUR-2 joystick developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is setting off to its new destination. Upon arrival, Kononenko will be responsible for working with the device and in August will operate the ROKVISS (Robotic Components Verification on the ISS) robot installed at the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center using the remote control. What makes this special? The cosmonaut will not only see a camera image of the robot sent up from the ground, he will also, at a distance of over 400 kilometres, feel precisely what the robot back on Earth touches. This is enabled by a mechanism in KONTUR-2 that detects exactly how strongly it touches another object, as well as other metrics. The telepresence experiment is designed to give its operator the impression of being on-site at the laboratory – and not in orbit around Earth.

Philae%2dBodenmodell

Headache for Philae

20. July 2015

On 9 July 2015 at 19:45 CEST, Philae reported back to the team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Lander Control Center (LCC) – only to then go back to 'silent mode'. Since then, the team has been working hard to get back in contact with the lander and operate it to conduct scientific measurements.

Variable solar power from North Africa provides the basis for a sustainable business model

16. July 2015

Transferring power from Africa to Europe via a high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line could be a sustainable business model with added value for both regions. This is the conclusion reached by researchers in the EU-sponsored BETTER project (Bringing Europe and Third Countries Closer Together Through Renewable Energies), conducted by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in cooperation with CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas) and other partners.

DLR/NASA – 3D radar measurements of forest areas

15. July 2015

A tangle of treetops and branches, through which just the occasional clear area provides glimpses of the trunks and roots growing below. Whether it is woodland with German spruces or a tropical rainforest, very few sensors are able to see through this green carpet and clearly visualise the underlying structures. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is developing radar technology that, for the first time, will enable a three-dimensional visual representation of forest areas from the roots to the crowns.

Philae%2dKontrollraum

New communication with Philae – commands executed successfully

10. July 2015

The Philae lander communicated with the Rosetta orbiter again between 19:45 and 20:07 CEST on 9 July 2015 and transmitted measurement data from the COmet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission (CONSERT) instrument. Although the connection failed repeatedly after that, it remained completely stable for those 12 minutes.

'Close up' with Pluto – NASA New Horizons arrival imminent

10. July 2015

After a nine-and-a half year journey, the NASA New Horizons spacecraft will fly past the dwarf planet Pluto – approximately 4.8 billion kilometres from Earth – at 13:50 CEST on 14 July 2015. This is the first time that the former 'ninth planet' in the Solar System will receive a visitor.

Perspektivische Ansicht von Ascuris Planum auf dem Mars

Tectonic stress on Mars – the landscape of Ascuris Planum

9. July 2015

Geology is a fairly young science when compared with physics, mathematics or astronomy. Emerging from the quest for natural resources and ores, it developed into an independent field of research only in the last few centuries.

 
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