DLR Parabolic Flight Experiments for Unfolding in Weightlessness

Boom test (Credit: DLR)
  • The 37th parabolic flight campaign of the German Space Agency at DLR took place from July 14 to 24, 2021 from Paderborn airport.
  • Five Braunschweig experiments on unfolding in weightlessness were on board.

PADERBORN, Germany (DLR PR) — From sun sails and photovoltaic modules to deployable space wings that have gleaned their functionalities from ear peckers and dragonflies – the experiments of the DLR Institute for Composite Structures and Adaptronics that were carried out at the 37th parabolic flight campaign of the space agency in the German Aerospace Center (DLR) were on board, were all about “development”.

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DLR & NASA Develop Deployable Propulsion System for Satellites

Start of boom de­ploy­ment (Credit: DLR)
  • In a joint project with NASA, DLR successfully tested masts for deployable satellite structures in the aircraft hangar in Braunschweig.
  • The long-term goal of the cooperation is to test the developed expandable structures in space.
  • The first results will be presented at the 16th ECSSMET from March 23-25, 2021.

BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany (DLR PR) — It took a large hangar to unfold the four ultra-lightweight booms, each made of carbon fibre-reinforced composites and 13.5 metres long, arranged in a cross shape. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) tested the booms twice in the aircraft hangar at the DLR site in Braunschweig. In cooperation with the US space agency NASA, the aim is to develop deployable satellite structures that will make low-cost, small satellites more powerful in the future with deployable, miniaturised structures for power supply, communications and propulsion.

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First Tests for Land­ing the Mar­tian Moons eX­plo­ration Rover

Preparations for a drop test. (Credit: DLR)
  • Intensity of the landing impact on Mars’ moon Phobos is being tested with a rover model.
  • The housing of the rover consists of a lightweight construction made of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP).
  • The landing on Phobos is planned for late 2026 or early 2027 as part of the MMX mission

BREMEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission will have a German-French rover on board when it is launched in 2024. The rover will land on the Martian moon Phobos and explore its surface for approximately three months.

Initial landing tests are currently underway at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Landing and Mobility Test Facility (Lande- und Mobilitätstest Anlage; LAMA) in Bremen. Using a first preliminary development model, the engineers are determining how robust the design of the approximately 25-kilogram rover must be to withstand an impact on the moon’s surface after a free fall of about 40 to 100 metres.

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