Locate and Identify Satellites with Laser Reflectors

The innovative laser reflectors for satellites have additional optics to polarize laser beams. (Credit: DLR/Eppler)
  • The DLR Institute of Technical Physics has developed a new generation of laser reflectors for satellites.
  • Satellites equipped with the reflectors should be able to be located with centimeter precision using lasers and at the same time be clearly identified.
  • The reflectors have additional optics for polarizing the laser light for the satellite laser ranging process.
  • Focus: space travel, security

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is testing a new generation of laser reflectors for satellites. Satellites equipped with it should be able to be located from Earth with lasers and identified at the same time. The special thing about the new reflectors is the adjustable polarization optics for each satellite. These individually change the properties of a reflected laser beam, which allows the satellites to be distinguished.

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Applications for the Second Flight of the Spectrum Launch Vehicle are Now Open

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)
  • In 2021, Isar Aerospace won the first ever microlauncher competition under ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services Program “Boost!” and the payloads for Spectrum’s first flight were selected
  • Today, the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V. published the second Announcement of Opportunity, which will open a new application process for payloads to come on board Spectrum’s second flight
  • This time, the call is open not only to European institutional customers but also start-ups and small to medium sized companies

Munich, 20 June 2022 (Isar Aerospace PR) – The German Space Agency DLR is launching the second round of competition for a free flight of small satellites on microlaunchers developed and built in Germany. This marks the start of the application phase for the second flight of Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum rocket. This time, the competition is not only aimed at European institutions, but also at start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

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Sustainable Funding Provided for German Space Start-ups

  • Funding for the German ESA Business Incubation Centers (BIC) has been secured for a further four years.
  • Funding for the incubation program will be increased by almost 70 percent to a total of 11.6 million euros.
  • By 2025, the program will have grown to 13 locations in seven federal states.

BERLIN, Germany (DLR PR) — The financial future of the German ESA Business Incubation Centers (BIC) is secured in the coming years: As part of the ESA Investor Forum, which took place from May 16 to 17, 2022 in Berlin, Luca del Monte, Head of Commercialization at the European Space Agency (ESA) and Dr. Walther Pelzer, Member of the DLR Executive Board and Head of the German Space Agency at DLR, the extension of the funding for a further four years was announced. The funding will also be increased by around 70 percent. The aim of the incubation centers is to support the commercial use of space technologies and satellite-based services in non-space markets (spin-off) and the use of new technologies in space (spin-in).

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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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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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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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Isar Aerospace and German Space Agency at DLR Announce Payloads for First Test Flight of Spectrum Launch Vehicle

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)
  • Payloads selected for Spectrum’s maiden flight scheduled for end of 2022
  • Five institutions from Germany, Norway and Slovenia with a total of seven small satellites to launch on the first test flight of Isar Aerospace’s launch vehicle “Spectrum”
  • For the first time in Europe, the German government entrusts a privately financed European space company with the launch of institutional payloads

MUNICH, 13 December 2021 (Isar Aerospace PR) – Isar Aerospace, the leading and most well-funded private European launch service provider focusing on small and medium satellites, and the German Space Agency at DLR have announced the selection of the institutional payloads for the maiden flight of the “Spectrum” rocket planned for the end of 2022 as part of the microlauncher competition. Among the winners of the Announcement of Opportunity are five institutions from Germany, Norway, and Slovenia with a total of seven small satellites that will be used to demonstrate various technologies in space such as communication or weather data measurement.

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Experiments Riding 24th SpaceX Cargo Mission to Space Station Study Bioprinting, Crystallization, Laundry

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is shown during preflight training for the BioPrint First Aid investigation, which tests a bioprinted tissue patch for enhanced wound healing. (Credits: ESA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The 24thSpaceX cargo resupply services mission, targeted to launch in late December from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carries scientific research and technology demonstrations to the International Space Station. The experiments aboard include studies of bioprinting, crystallization of monoclonal antibodies, changes in immune function, plant gene expression changes, laundering clothes in space, processing alloys, and student citizen science projects.

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ESA Boost! Contract Signed for Flight Demonstration of Spectrum Launch Vehicle

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Small and medium satellites can expect new launch opportunities on the Spectrum launch vehicle thanks to an ESA Boost! co-funding contract worth €11 million [US $12.39 million] with Isar Aerospace Technologies in Germany.

The flight demonstrations of Spectrum will pave the way for an extended availability of European launch service solutions for small satellites, delivering dedicated launch opportunities.

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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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INNOspace Masters 2021: Innovation Comes from Competition

  • The sixth INNOspace Masters conference took place virtually on July 29, 2021 under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures in space and on earth”.
  • A total of 330 companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions from 23 European countries took part in the competition.
  • The winners include quantum processors for satellite communications, solutions for precision agriculture and a small satellite for the disposal of space debris.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — At the sixth INNOspace Masters Competition, the German Space Agency looked for innovative solutions at DLR to ensure the unrestricted and reliable availability of satellite-based infrastructures in the digital age. A total of 330 participants from companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions in 23 European countries took part in the competition under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures in space and on earth.” There were five competition categories from different development and innovation phases to choose from. The winners have now been announced at the INNOspace Masters conference, which took place virtually on July 29, 2021. Initiatives like the INNOspace Masters are important because innovations mainly arise from competition.

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German Start-up Wins Tender for Innovative Test Satellite

LoLaSat – a small low-flyer (Credit: S4 GmbH)
  • The German Space Agency in the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is committed to promoting start-ups within the framework of the European space organization ESA.
  • On July 5, 2021, the German space start-up was awarded the contract to build and operate an innovative test satellite for broadband internet in very low Earth orbit.
  • The test satellite “LoLaSat” (Low Latency Communication Satellite) is intended, among other things, to significantly shorten the transit times of the signals and pave the way for Internet via satellite, also for virtual reality or augmented reality and certain applications in autonomous driving.

COLOGNE (DLR PR) — Young, innovative companies are playing an increasingly important role in space travel – also in Germany. 

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