CNES has published an overview of the planned Ariane 6 launch vehicle, which could eventually replace Ariane 5 in 2021 if the project gains the support of ESA members next year.
DLR PR – Near Hanksville, Utah, in the United States, but ‘on Mars’. At least that is what Volker Maiwald will feel when he embarks on his two-week mission in the Mars Desert Research Station on 23 February 2013. The scientist is normally based at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of Space Systems in Bremen, where he works determining the feasibility, costs and benefits of space systems and concepts of the future, calculating trajectories and planning habitats for isolated or harsh environments. As a member of Crew 125, he will soon experience being part of a team of six living on Mars.
At the European Space Agency (ESA) ministerial meeting on Nov. 20-21 in Naples, there was a new flag flying outside. The red-and-white flag of Poland, which had joined space agency the day before, was raised among those of ESA’s other 19 member states.
Poland became the third — and wealthiest — former Eastern Bloc nation to join ESA behind the Czech Republic and Romania. The nation’s ascendance brought the number of full ESA member states to 20 from the original 10 countries that created the space agency in 1975. Canada is an associate member.
Ten other European nations, nine of which have cooperative agreements with ESA, attended the quadrennial ministerial meeting as observers with hopes of eventually joining the space agency as full members. Behind them, there is another group of 10 countries — most of which are still emerging from the fall of communism two decades ago — that could one day join ESA.
DLR PR – The vision is enticing – board in Europe, sit back, and disembark 90 minutes later on the other side of the world, in Australia. But before the SpaceLiner, which is being developed by the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), can fly a route like this for the first time, new technologies still have to be tested and basic requirements defined. Scientists from Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Sweden have been carrying out research for the Fast20XX (Future high-Altitude high-Speed Transport) project, which is supported by the EU, for three years. The results of the project, which has now been concluded, will influence the future design of the DLR SpaceLiner and the Aerospace Innovation GmbH ALPHA aircraft.
Continue reading ‘Fast20XX Program Explores Hypersonic Transports’
DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner has dismissed the idea that European Space Agency (ESA) needs to be brought under the wing of the European Union (EU) in order to improve cooperation between the two organizations.
The European Commission, the EU’s top body, has recommended several options that would bring the independent space agency under the control of the union.
In the following excerpt from his blog, Wörner rejects the idea, saying that the coordination problems between ESA and the EU can be handled without making such major changes, and that the entire debate is a distraction from far more important issues.
COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — On 20 and 21 November 2012, delegates from the 20 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canada met at the ‘Mostra d’Oltremare’ conference centre in Naples, Italy. The start of the ESA presidency of Switzerland and Luxembourg was characterised by intensive and success-oriented negotiations. After two days of thorough discussions, the Council Meeting at Ministerial Level was successfully completed and the German positions on the future of the European Ariane launcher and utilisation of the International Space Station until 2020 were adopted. The basis for this agreement was joint Franco-German discussions. The delegations agreed the financing and contents of European space programmes for the coming years.
In total, space programmes worth around 10 billion Euros have been decided upon. The German Federal Government will be responsible for a total of around 2.6 billion Euros over the next few years. This makes Germany the strongest contributor among the ESA partners, giving it the largest share of the overall programme.
Space News reports on the results of a study concerning future ESA programs:
A six-month joint French-German government study of future launch vehicle and space station investment options has reinforced the German space agency’s preference for an upgraded Ariane 5 rocket instead of a new-generation Ariane 6, and cooperation with the United States on a U.S.-led crew vehicle instead of a European-led alternative, the agency’s chief said Aug. 21.
Johann-Dietrich Woerner, chairman of the German Aerospace Center, DLR, insisted in an interview that he was speaking only for himself, and not for the German government….
BERLIN (DLR PR) – After a 10-minute flight, the sharp-edged SHEFEX II spacecraft landed safely west of Spitsbergen. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) launched the seven-ton and roughly 13-metre-long rocket and its payload from the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway at 21:18 CEST on 22 June 2012. As it re-entered the atmosphere, SHEFEX withstood temperatures exceeding 2500 degrees Celsius and sent measurement data from more than 300 sensors to a ground station.
“The SHEFEX II flight takes us one step further in the road to developing a space vehicle built like a space capsule but offering the control and flight options of the Space Shuttle much more cost-effectively,” says project manager Hendrik Weihs.
Despite committing almost $1.5 billion to developing and flight testing its newest launch vehicle, Vega, Europe will spend even more money to upgrade the rocket.
European officials are eying the developing of a new German fourth stage to replace a Ukrainian-built RD-868 engine that was used on Vega’s successful inaugural flight on Monday. It’s not clear how much the new engine would cost.
DLR and the Laser Station in Graz provide Europe’s first ever demonstration of laser location
DLR PR — Every year, the number of small items of debris in space rises by tens of thousands. This number is currently based on estimates, as it has not been possible to track space debris accurately. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are developing an optical observation system with a powerful laser, the pulses from which can detect particles only a few centimetres in diameter and allow determination of their orbits. The concept was tested for the first time in January 2012, in collaboration with the Laser Station in the Austrian city of Graz. This is the first time that the orbits of spent launcher components have been measured using a laser in Europe. In the future, an even more powerful laser will be capable of deflecting these particles out of their orbits, causing them to incinerate as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.