After the eruption of the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April 2010, a cloud of fine-grained ash particles spread quickly towards central Europe. Large segments of the airspace were closed by the authorities because the engines of aircraft flying through ash clouds had been repeatedly damaged on previous occasions. Using lidar technology, scientists of the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics helped to re-define safety thresholds in aviation so that more far-ranging airspace closures could be avoided.
Forest fires endanger humans and nature, pollute the atmosphere and wreak economic havoc. If detected at an early stage, the damage they leave behind may be limited. Using cameras and satellite-enhanced early detection systems, DLR has declared war on the flames.
Whether deliberate or unintentional, any release of hazardous chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, or explosive substances (CBRNE) may have devastating consequences. The DLR Institute of Technical Physics is developing innovative methods for tracking down and identifying such substances in time.
Every year, the Oktoberfest in Munich attracts around six million people. Should anything unforeseen happen, the visitors’ safety may be acutely threatened. A technology developed by DLR’s Applied Remote Sensing Cluster permits authorities to analyse groups of persons and their direction of movement on the basis of current aerial photographs.
When a disaster occurs, emergency response services are strained to the limit. What is available in terms of staff and vehicles is often inadequate for treating and transporting all victims immediately. Moreover, bottlenecks may occur in the transport of relief material to the site.
The missions and projects planned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in 2011 underline the importance of research in Germany, specifically in the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security. Highlights were presented at a new year press conference in Berlin with Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board, and Ulrich Wagner, Board Member for Energy and Transport.