NASA, DLR to End SOFIA Operations

SOFIA flying observatory (Credit: NASA-Jim Ross)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and its partners at the German Space Agency at the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) will conclude the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) mission, after a successful eight years of science. SOFIA will end operations no later than Sept. 30, 2022, at the conclusion of its current mission extension.

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RFA Wins 11 Million Euros in the DLR Microlauncher Competition

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

BERLIN, Germany, April 25, 2022 (RFA PR) – Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) wins the 2022 round of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) microlauncher competition. The prize values 11 million Euros [USD $11.7 million]. As a result, the German government will be an anchor customer of RFA ONE. On each of the first two flights of RFA ONE, a payload of up to 150 kg will be placed by DLR.

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Ground-based Rover’s Touch Shared with Astronaut in Space

Analog-1 rover (Credit: ESA–A. Koehler)

PARIS (ESA PR) — If man’s best friend is a dog, then in the future astronauts’ closest companions might well be rovers. A technique allowing astronauts in orbit to control rovers exploring planetary surfaces has been developed by a research team from ESA, the German Aerospace Center DLR and European academia and industry, culminating in an Earth-based rover session commanded from the International Space Station. A paper published in the prestigious Science Robotics journal this week details their results.

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Ger­man En­MAP Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite Launch­es Suc­cess­ful­ly on SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-4 Mission

Launch of Fal­con 9 with Ger­man en­vi­ron­men­tal satel­lite En­MAP. (Credit: SpaceX)
  • At 18:24 CEST on 1 April (12:24 local time), the first German-developed hyperspectral satellite (EnMAP) successfully launched on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
  • The mission is being managed by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bonn on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK).
  • OHB-System AG was commissioned to develop and build the satellite and the hyperspectral instrument. Meanwhile, the ground segment has been developed and will be operated by DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam is the scientific coordinator for the mission.
  • Focus: Space, Earth observation, climate change, environmental protection and nature conservation

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — It all began in 2003 with a competition announced by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) as part of the National Space Programme. The task was to design and build a new type of hyperspectral instrument and a satellite to carry it, and to test both the instrument and its satellite for several years in the harsh conditions of space. At the same time, an (inter)national community of scientists was formed to define the user requirements and objectives for the first German hyperspectral mission, which was also to be the first of its kind in Europe. What data about Earth should be collected with EnMAP, and for what purpose? This is how the special environmental satellite – the abbreviation stands for Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program – was created.

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SpaceX Launches 40 Satellites into Space

Falcon9 Transporter-4 launch. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by David Bullock
Staff Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., April 1, 2022 — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 payloads as part of the company’s Transporter-4 dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

The rocket launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at 12:24 p.m. EDT. The mission manifest included the first satellite orbited by Pixxel of India, Kleos Space’s Patrol Mission, and 12 Spacebee communications satellites. A list of payloads is below.

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Mi­ni Robots Prac­tice Grasp­ing Space De­bris on ISS

Simulation with the two Astrobees. [Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)]
  • During trials on the International Space Station (ISS), one robot positions itself so that it could grab another.
  • These simulate an approach to a tumbling object.
  • The robots work completely autonomously.
  • Focus: Spaceflight, ISS, security, artificial intelligence

OBERPFAFFENHOFEN, Germany (DLR PR) — A challenging feat for a little robot: Honey the Astrobee must grasp and transport Bumble the Astrobee. To pull it off, Honey needs to understand Bumble’s trajectory, position itself correctly and avoid a collision at all costs. Artificial intelligence (AI) helps the cube-shaped robot to accurately assess the situation.

The experiment is part of the TumbleDock/ROAM project, which the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is carrying out together with its partners on the ISS. The experiments are part of an effort to determine the best way to remove hazardous pieces of space debris from Earth orbit.

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SpaceFounders, the Factory of Future Space Champions

Emmanuelle Méric (Credits: CNES)

PARIS (CNES PR) — Created by CNES in 2021, SpaceFounders offers ultra-intensive and very high-level support to help startups think big. The explanations of the president of SpaceFounders France, Emmanuelle Méric.

What is SpaceFounders?

Emmanuelle Méric: SpaceFounders is an accelerator for European space startups. This is a public program, created at the initiative of CNES, which brings together a large community of public and private players, foremost among which are ESA and DLR, the German space agency , to bring out new world-class European champions in the space sector. Concretely, SpaceFounders is an entrepreneurship support program intended for managers of Space Tech startups. The ultra-intensive program lasts 3 months, virtually and face-to-face in the heart of European space capitals, and includes meetings, master classes, targeted networking and workshops.

“The great strength of SpaceFounders is the mentoring and connection with leading personalities from the space and digital world and investors.

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DLR and NASA Jointly De­vel­op­ing Soft­ware Pack­age for Quan­tum Com­put­ers

  • The software will be open source.
  • A module from the DLR research group can be used to explore quantum computing for applications such as flight route optimisation or satellite missions planning.
  • Focus: Quantum technology, quantum computing, digitalisation, aerospace

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are collaborating on a software library that will make it possible to use today’s quantum computers to explore the potential of quantum computing to solve real-world aerospace application problems.

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DLR Ceases Bilateral Cooperation with Russia

DLR Press Release

As one of the largest research organisations in Europe, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is committed to engaging in international cooperation for the benefit of society and industry. DLR employs staff from 96 countries. They stand for the peaceful coexistence of all nations and peoples. Violence should never be a means to achieve objectives of any kind. We therefore view the developments in Ukraine with grave concern and condemn Russia’s hostile actions.

DLR and the German Space Agency at DLR have been cooperating with Russian institutions on a number of research projects, in some cases with the participation of other German research organisations and universities, and international partners.

Against the backdrop of the aggressive attack on Ukraine, the DLR Executive Board is taking the following measures:

  • All collaboration activities with Russian institutions on current projects or projects in the planning stage will be terminated.
  • There will be no new projects or initiatives with institutions in Russia.

Where necessary, DLR will enter into coordination with other national and international partners.

Matthias Maurer Tests Concrete on the International Space Station

Matthias Maurer conducting the MASON concrete experiment. (Credit: ESA/NASA)
  • Matthias Maurer researches the hardening of concrete in zero gravity.
  • Climate protection through more efficient use of raw materials.
  • Experiments in space provide data for technical developments on earth.
  • Cooperation DLR with the universities of Cologne and Duisburg-Essen.
  • The experiment is part of the Cosmic Kiss mission.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — How does freshly poured concrete behave in zero gravity? And how can this contribute to environmental protection on Earth? In early February 2022, the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer searched for answers to these questions on the  International Space Station experiment “MASON/Concrete Hardening” is a joint project of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the University of Cologne and the University Duisburg-Essenand takes place as part of the Cosmic Kiss mission.

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Glaciers are Melting Faster With Far Greater Consequences Than Expected

Pope Glacier in Antarctica taken by Operation Ice Bridge in 2016. (Credit: NASA)

https://www.dlr.de/content/de/artikel/news/2022/01/20220128_gletscher-schmelzen-schneller-als-erwartet.html

  • West Antarctica: Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers are melting faster than expected.
  • Critical area: Free-floating undersides of glaciers melt the most.
  • Ice masses in West Antarctica could raise sea levels by up to 1.3 meters.
  • Focus: space travel, earth observation, global change, TanDEM-X

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The South Pole has new problem children. A group of smaller glaciers are melting faster than expected: Pope, Smith and Kohler. So far, the neighboring ice giants Thwaites and Pine Island have been the focus of research because they are very fragile and could cause global sea levels to rise by up to 1.2 meters. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has uncovered and analyzed the changes in West Antarctica together with international research partners. Using special radar data from the TanDEM-X and COSMO-SkyMed satellite missions, they tracked down the causes of the rapid melting of the smaller glaciers.

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Weightless Plate Animals – How Gravity Affects Genetic Information

MAPHEUS-9 takes off [Credit: DLR/Thomas Schleuss (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
  • On January 29, 2022, the DLR sounding rocket MAPHEUS-9 brought four experiments into weightlessness for around six minutes.
  • The rocket, weighing 1.7 tons, took off from the ESRANGE launch site in northern Sweden and reached an altitude of 254 kilometers.
  • Experiments from the fields of materials research and manufacturing technology, granulate physics and gravitational biology were also on board.

KIRUNA, Sweden (DLR PR) — Plate animals usually like it a little warmer. For science, the simplest multicellular animal in the world ended up in northern Sweden – and from there into weightlessness for a short time. On January 29, 2022, the marine organisms were successfully lifted off the rocket launch site on board the MAPHEUS-9 sounding rocket operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at ESRANGE (European Space and Sounding Rocket Range). Three other experiments from the fields of physics, materials research and manufacturing technology also enjoyed six minutes and ten seconds in zero gravity.

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Bio Plaster Produced from the 3D Printer Aboard the International Space Station

Matthias Maurer at the Bioprint FirstAid experiment. (Credit: NASA/ESA)
  • As part of the “Cosmic Kiss” mission, the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer carried out the Bioprint FirstAid experiment on the International Space Station (ISS).
  • The long-term goal of the experiment is to cover skin wounds with bio-ink from a 3D printer like a band-aid.
  • The new technology should help to significantly improve wound care on space missions, but also in daily medical use on Earth.

BONN, Germany (DLR PR) — Human cells from the 3D printer, with which skin wounds can be covered like an adhesive plaster – that is the long-term goal of the Bioprint FirstAid experiment. As part of the mission “Cosmic Kiss”, the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer has now carried out the test series on the International Space Station. The mobile hand-held device is intended to significantly improve wound care on space missions, but also in daily medical use on earth. 

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Germany Made Important Contributions to James Webb Space Telescope

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)
  • On December 25, 2021 at 9:20 a.m. local time (1:20 p.m. CET), the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space telescope of all time to date, took off from the spaceport of the European Space Agency on an Ariane 5 launcher.
  • A total of four instruments are housed on James Webb.  Two of them come from Europe and have German shares.
  • The German Space Agency at DLR coordinates the German contributions for ESA and for an instrument in the national space program.

KOUROU, French Guiana (DLR PR) — James Webb Space Telescope – JWST for short – was launched from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) on its journey to Lagrange Point 2, 1.5 million kilometers away.  James Webb is the largest and most expensive space telescope of all time, which has now started its long journey into the depths of space with an Ariane 5 upper stage ‘Made in Germany’. In addition, MIRI (Mid Infrared Iinstrument) and Near Infrared ( Near Infrared Spectrograph) – two of the four instruments on board – German parts: The near-infrared instrument NIRSpec was built by Airbus in Ottobrunn and Friedrichshafen. With this instrument, scientists from all over the world want to analyze the ‘hours of birth’ of the universe. NIRSpec is primarily intended to detect the radiation from the first galaxies that formed shortly after the Big Bang. 

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European Science Launches to Space Station Aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The next SpaceX resupply vehicle is packed with European science, ready for delivery to the International Space Station just in time for Christmas.

The Dragon spacecraft was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, at 11:06 CET (10:06 GMT) Tuesday 21 December. We take a quick peek at some of the European cargo it carries.

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