DLR Creates 7 New Institutes to Further Technology Development

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR) — Digitalisation, climate change and technological disruption are shaping the future. This is where interdisciplinary research at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) proves valuable.

On 27 June 2019, the DLR Senate approved the founding of seven new institutes and facilities. The background to this was a resolution passed in the German Federal Parliament on 23 November 2018. By taking this step, DLR is strengthening Germany as a location for technological research and creating highly-skilled jobs.

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JAXA, CNES to Cooperate on Hayabusa2 Sample Analysis, Martian Moons Mission

Asteroid Ryugu with north polar boulder (Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [JAXA] has agreed to cooperate with Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) on the study-phase activities in JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission and analysis of Hayabusa2-returned samples.

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DLR Teams with 5 European Companies to Develop Reusable Launch Vehicles

conceptual sketch of RETALT1 (Credit: DLR)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The German Aerospace Center  (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and five European companies have teamed up in the RETro Propulsion Assisted Landing Technologies (RETALT) project to jointly advance the research and development of key technologies for European vertical-landing launch vehicles. The consortium will spend three years examining the aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics – that is, in-flight surface temperatures – flight dynamics during both the outward and return flight phases, and navigation and control, as well as structural components, materials and mechanisms.

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InSight’s Team Tries New Strategy to Help the ‘Mole’

Engineers in a Mars-like test area at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory try possible strategies to aid the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) on NASA’s InSight lander, using engineering models of the lander, robotic arm and instrument. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA-JPL/Caltech PR) — Scientists and engineers have a new plan for getting NASA InSight’s heat probe, also known as the “mole,” digging again on Mars. Part of an instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), the mole is a self-hammering spike designed to dig as much as 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and record temperature.

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Common Questions about InSight’s ‘Mole’

Signs of the Heat Probe Shifting on Mars: The support structure of the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument moved slightly during hammering, as indicated by the circular “footprints” around the instrument’s footpads. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — There’s a new plan to get InSight’s “mole” moving again. The following Q&As with two members of the team answer some of the most common questions about the burrowing device, part of a science instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3).

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Green Light Given for First Dedicated Satellite of European ‘Space Data Highway’

Artist’s impression of EDRS system in space. (Credit: DLR)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS), also known as the ‘space data highway’, is setting a new standard in real-time data transfer. The innovative laser nodes can transport data volumes of up to 1.8 gigabits per second to Earth, with minimal delay. The programme’s first communication node, EDRS-A, was launched on 29 January 2016, and is already providing relay services for data transfer from the four Sentinel satellites of the EU Copernicus Earth observation programme. The advantage is that the Earth observation satellites can deliver significantly more data to the ground faster and thus also better serve the end user (see info box). The first dedicated satellite in the series – EDRS-C – was designed, constructed and tested in Germany. It has been thoroughly tested over the past 11 months and will begin its journey to Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana in June 2019. It will be launched into a geostationary orbit on 24 July 2019 on board an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

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What’s for Dinner? For Future Astronauts, Algae

Photobioreactor provides oxygen and a source of nutrition for astronauts. (Credit: Airbus)

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (Airbus PR) – Airbus is bringing another experimental system to the International Space Station (ISS) in the form of the photobioreactor (PBR). The PBR, developed by the University of Stuttgart and built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), is designed to convert part of the CO2 extracted by the ‘LSR’ Life Support Rack on board the ISS into oxygen and biomass, which could help to save valuable resources during future long-term missions into space.

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First Satellite in Europe’s SpaceDataHighway Forges 20,000 Successful Laser Links

EDRS-A (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 2 April 2019 (ESA PR) — The European Data Relay System (EDRS)—dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway” by its private operator, Airbus—has passed another milestone.

EDRS-A, the first satellite in what will eventually be a global constellation, has made its 20,000th successful optical link to its customer satellites since its launch in January 2016, marking a world first in laser communication in space.

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Flying to the Moon Without Taking Off – SIRIUS-19 Isolation Experiment Begins in Moscow

On 19 March at 14:00 local time in Moscow, the SIRIUS crew started their journey towards the orbital lunar station. From left to right: Reinhold Povilaitis (USA), Daria Zhidova (Russia), Commander Yevgeny Tarelkin (Russia), Anastasia Stepanova (Russia), Allen Miradkyrov (USA) and Stephania Fedeye (Russia). (Credit: IBMP)
  • 19 March 2019 marked the start of the SIRIUS-19 isolation study with three female and three male ‘cosmonauts’ in the habitat at the Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow.
  • For 122 days, they will simulate a mission to an orbital lunar station, during which they will conduct six German-developed experiments, and even land on a simulated lunar surface.
  • Focus: Spaceflight, health, robotics, social benefits

MOSCOW (DLR PR) — A special experiment will begin at the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBMP RAS) in Moscow on 19 March 2019 at 14:00 local time. Just four months before the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the first Moon landing by the Apollo 11 astronauts, three female and three male ‘cosmonauts’ will embark on a simulated journey to our terrestrial neighbour. Closed off from the outside world, they will live, work and research in conditions of complete isolation in the Moscow NEK Habitat.

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Testing the Value of Artificial Gravity for Astronaut Health

Control room of DLR’s short-arm centrifuge (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, Germany, 21 March 2019 (EXSA PR) — Test subjects in Cologne, Germany will take to their beds for 60 days from 25 March as part of a groundbreaking study, funded by European Space Agency ESA and US space agency NASA, into how artificial gravity could help astronauts stay healthy in space.

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Mars InSight Lander’s ‘Mole’ Pauses Digging

NASA’s InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12, 2019. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — NASA’s Mars InSight lander has a probe designed to dig up to 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and measure heat coming from inside the planet. After beginning to hammer itself into the soil on Thursday, Feb. 28, the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) probe — part of an instrument called the Heat and Physical Properties Package, or HP3 — got about three-fourths of the way out of its housing structure before stopping. No significant progress was seen after a second bout of hammering on Saturday, March 2. Data suggests the probe, known as a “mole,” is at a 15-degree tilt.

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NASA InSight Lander Deploys DLR ‘Mole’ on Surface of Mars

DLR Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP³) on the surface of Mars. (Credit: NASA)
  • HP³ experiment is now in a stable position approximately 1.5 metres away from the lander
  • Heat flow from the interior of Mars will be investigated
  • Operational planning for the DLR instrument is currently underway

COLOGNE (DLR PR) — It stands vertically on flat ground, ready for its historic mission. At 19:18 CET on 12 February 2019, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP³) or ‘Mole’ was deployed on the Martian surface using the NASA InSight mission’s robotic arm. In the coming weeks, the remote controlled penetrometer is expected to make space history by becoming the first probe to reach a depth of up to five metres in the Martian subsurface. Its goal is to measure the temperature and thermal conductivity of the subsurface and thus determine the heat flow from the interior of Mars. The heat flow gives researchers indications about the thermal activity of the Red Planet. This can provide insights into the evolution of the Martian interior, whether it still has a hot liquid core, and what makes Earth so special in comparison.

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InSight Is the Newest Mars Weather Service

The white east- and west-facing booms — called Temperature and Wind for InSight, or TWINS — on the deck of NASA’s InSight lander belong to its suite of weather sensors. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — No matter how cold your winter has been, it’s probably not as chilly as Mars. Check for yourself: Starting today, the public can get a daily weather report from NASA’s InSight lander.

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NASA’s InSight Prepares to Take Mars’ Temperature

NASA’s InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — NASA’s InSight lander has placed its second instrument on the Martian surface. New images confirm that the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3, was successfully deployed on Feb. 12 about 3 feet (1 meter) from InSight’s seismometer, which the lander recently covered with a protective shield. HP3measures heat moving through Mars’ subsurface and can help scientists figure out how much energy it takes to build a rocky world.

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