DLR Establishes Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensors

Bose-Einstein condensate in the Cold Atoms Lab. (Credit: NASA)
  • Bose-Einstein condensates, novel atomic clocks, laser and matter wave interferometry are promising quantum technologies for use in space.
  • Satellites modernized with quantum technology offer enormous potential for satellite-based earth observation, communication and navigation.
  • The new DLR institute will establish itself with up to 120 employees in the quantum quarter of the University of Hannover.

HANNOVER, Germany (DLR PR) — Quantum-based measurement technologies will revolutionize the sensor technology of satellites in the future. Quantum sensors based on Bose-Einstein condensates, novel atomic clocks, laser and matter wave interferometry are just some of the quantum technologies that are about to make the leap to routine use in space. In the course of a “second quantum revolution”, an unprecedented increase in the precision of measurement technology and sensors in space travel is taking place with previously untapped application possibilities. 

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Germany Establishes Space Weather Service

Space weather affects the Earth’s magnetic field. (Credit: NASA)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — It is particularly easy to recognize by the auroras: the particle radiation of the sun. But the sun’s plasma eruptions not only create the natural spectacle in the polar regions. They can also interfere with satellites. In extreme cases, space weather even affects the infrastructure on earth. The Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) observes space weather and researches to better understand and predict the interactions. The DLR Institute in Neustrelitz (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) opened on May 26, 2021.

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Germany’s Isar Aerospace Wins 11 Million Euros in Microsat Launcher Competition

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)
  • On April 30, 2021, the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, selected the winner in the “microlauncher competition” of the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
  • Isar Aerospace Technologies GmbH receives eleven million euros from the “BOOST!” Initiative in the “Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support” (C-STS) program of the European Space Agency ESA for the qualification and two demonstration flights of its carrier Spectrum.
  • The first flight is to take place between 2022 and 2023 and transport small institutional payloads weighing up to 150 kilograms free of charge onto their orbits.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Many satellites are getting smaller and lighter. As a rule, they are launched as “hand luggage” together with other, larger satellites whose operators define the framework conditions. In order to bring small satellites into orbit as the main payload, a separate class of rockets has now been established – the so-called micro launcher. This small carrier market is booming in the USA and China.

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The INNOspace Masters 2019/20 Awards Clever Ideas for Tomorrow’s Space Travel

The overall winner of the INNOspace Masters 2020. (Credit: DLR)
  • On October 14, 2020, the winners of the INNOspace Masters competition were honored in an online conference.
  • More than 300 companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions in 15 European countries answered the call.
  • The new 2020/21 competition will start under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures – in space and on earth”.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Under the motto “New Ideas between Space and Earth”, the space management of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) searched the fifth INNOspace Masters competition for new ideas and concepts that address current challenges in space travel and other industries and offer innovative solutions. Five competition categories – called “Challenges” – from different development and innovation phases in the value chain were available for the participants to choose from. 

The “DLR Space Management Challenge” focused on the research and development phase, while the industrial partners Airbus and OHB were looking for proposals for solutions that were already ready for the market. DB Netz AG, since this year an additional industrial partner of the competition, focused on innovations from the space industry for the monitoring, inspection and maintenance of the rail infrastructure. The “ESA BIC Start-up Challenge”, which was aimed at the start-up

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Im­proved Safe­ty in Space – GES­TRA Space Radar Ready to Be­gin Op­er­a­tions

Front of the GESTRA phased antenna (Credit: DLR)
  • After five years of development and construction, the first German space radar with transmitter and receiver units has been installed at Schmidtenhöhe near Koblenz.
  • Close cooperation between the DLR Space Administration, the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) and the German Space Situational Awareness Centre.
  • GESTRA data will also be used to improve security in low-Earth orbit at the European level.

Activity in space continues to increase. Several thousand satellites, spacecraft and other objects orbit Earth at altitudes of between 300 and 3000 kilometres. In addition to the inactive satellites and upper stages of rockets that are left behind here after missions, there are hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces of debris.

Satellites and other space infrastructure such as the International Space Station (ISS) need to be continuously monitored to avoid collisions. Active objects can engage in evasive manoevres, while inactive space debris such as disfunctional satellite parts, or the remains of rockets, pose a threat.

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