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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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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Plant Scientist Harvests Success in Antarctica EDEN Greenhouse

Ten polar explorers spent the Antarctic winter isolated at the German Neumayer III Station, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) – a process they call overwintering – and the experience serves as an analog to conditions astronauts will face during long-duration space travel, such as a mission to Mars. A collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) ensured they had fresh produce available all winter. (Credits: NASA/Jess Bunchek)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

When plant scientist Jess Bunchek leaves Antarctica in the coming weeks and returns to her roots at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, she will bring back knowledge to benefit space exploration along with memories that will last a lifetime.

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SpaceFounders Demo Days Held Successfully in Berlin and Paris

PARIS (CNES PR) — The acceleration program for European space start-ups SpaceFounders has entered its final “FUND” phase, that of seeking funding, a phase which will last over time, probably until 2022, but which is looming and already very promising. The Demo Days, which were held successively, in Berlin on Tuesday, 23 November, and in Paris on Thursday, 25 November, were a real success. They enabled privileged meetings with investors, partners or large institutional clients. 

The 10 successful start-ups of the program were able to present their strategy and their ambition to become the world champions of the New Space of tomorrow, in front of more than 40 private investors, venture capital funds, European family offices and business angels.

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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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SSC Resumes Rocket Launches From Esrange Space Center

Mapheus-10 sounding rocket launches from Esrange Space Center in Sweden. (Credit: Swedish Space Corporation)

KIRUNA, Sweden (Swedish Space Corporation PR) — Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden has resumed its rocket activities after the fire that damaged the launch site in late August. Today, only three months after the incident, a sounding rocket was once again launched from the base.

Sounding rocket Mapheus-10, owned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), was successfully launched from the restored launch infrastructure at approximately 09.30 am on Monday, December 6. The onboard payload contained metals for various experiments including studies on solidification of alloy metals. The 1600 kg rocket reached an altitude of 250 kilometers and a speed of 2 kilometers per second. It stayed in microgravity for about six minutes.

“Our staff have worked tirelessly to get temporary launch solutions in place. Buildings used for balloons have been adapted to handle sounding rockets and we have also repaired damaged cabling and installed new safety systems. Resuming launches of these rockets is very important for research in a number of different areas. It feels fantastic that we are now back on track so soon after the accident,“ says Lennart Poromaa, site manager at Esrange.

“After the fire we were concerned that we would not be able to launch rockets from Esrange for a long time, but they have made a very quick restoration of the infrastructure. This is a unique space base and it feels great to be back,” says Alexander Kallenbach, team leader at DLR.

NASA Awards Contract for Bed Rest Studies

Volunteer participates in a bed rest study at the :envihab analog in Cologne, Germany. Bed rest studies like AGBRESA have a downward-tilt protocol. The six-degree downward tilt of each bed mimics the weightlessness of the spaceflight environment. (Credits: DLR)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) of Cologne, Germany, to provide use of its facility to support long-duration bed rest research.

The $49.9 million Bedrest Studies Contract will support a series of bed rest studies at the company’s facility in Cologne, Germany. Services also may be required at other NASA centers, contractor or subcontractor locations, or vendor facilities.

The contract provides support services for the Human Health and Performance Directorate and Human Research Program (HRP) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. However, NASA does not anticipate any need to call for study volunteers in the U.S.

The HRP-sponsored studies will use strict head-down tilt bed rest as an analog for some of the physiological adaptations experienced by astronauts during spaceflight. The research aims to better understand and evaluate countermeasures for the risks associated with long-duration spaceflight missions including the International Space Station, Artemis and Gateway programs.

“Major research themes for this year are how crews perform when operating autonomously from Mission Control as well as other Earth-based support and the effectiveness of different advanced systems for supporting these types of autonomous operations,” said Brandon Vessey, the element scientist for research operations and integration within HRP. “Results from these studies will help to inform how NASA plans for future exploration missions when astronaut crews will need to operate more independently from Earth than they do in current International Space Station missions in low-Earth orbit.”

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm, fixed-price task orders, begins Nov. 23, 2021, and extends through Dec. 31, 2025, with no phase-in period.

Learn more about NASA and its programs at:

https://www.nasa.gov

Expert on Space Junk: When Spacecraft Explode, Answers May be in the Debris Left Behind

Carolin Frueh, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, enjoys solving math problems that just keep getting harder the more that she discovers about how space junk behaves. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR) — Much of the space junk orbiting Earth won’t clean up itself – or tell you how it got there.

Purdue University’s Carolin Frueh and her team are investigating what causes spacecraft to become space junk. Their findings are revealing ways to prevent spacecraft from breaking apart into thousands of pieces of debris that pose a threat to space stations and satellites.

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Pangea Aerospace’s Aerospike Engine Tested on DLR Test Bench

MethaLox Aerospike Drive during a hot run test: On behalf of the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace, a DLR team carried out a successful hot run test of the world’s first additively manufactured MethaLox aerospike drive at the European research and technology test bench P8. (Credit: Pangea Aerospace)
  • On behalf of the start-up Pangea Aerospace, DLR tested a MethaLox aerospike engine for the first time.
  • The team from DLR and Pangea Aerospace successfully carried out several hot-run tests on the European research and technology test stand P8.
  • Aerospike technology promises a much higher degree of efficiency compared to conventional drives.
  • The unique test bench infrastructure at DLR’s Lampoldshausen site is a prerequisite for the development of future-oriented European space propulsion systems.

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (DLR PR) — Unique test stands, extensive know-how and decades of experience – the Lampoldshausen site of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) specializes in developing and testing drives for space travel. Whether for the large launchers of the Ariane family or the growing market of start-ups for smaller rockets, so-called micro-launchers: That DLR Institute for Space Propulsion tests and qualifies technology demonstrators as well as entire engine stages for launch into space. In November 2021, a DLR team commissioned the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace examined a very special engine: At the European research and technology test bench P8, they successfully carried out hot-run tests on the world’s first additively manufactured MethaLox aerospike engine. Overheating tests are comprehensive functional tests – they are an important step in preparing for a first flight.

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Climate Models Improved Through Artificial Intelligence and Earth Observation Data

Change in surface temperature. (Credit: © DLR/DKRZ)
  • At the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, the world community advises on measures against climate change.
  • The impact of humans on climate change is clear, according to the World Climate Report.
  • As coordinating lead author, Prof. Veronika Eyring from DLR is jointly responsible for the report.
  • Her research evaluates different climate models with observational data from space travel and improves the models with AI.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The models for predicting climate change are becoming more and more accurate. They process huge amounts of data, evaluate information and combine them into an overall picture. The World Climate Report has shown what that looks like. “It is clear that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, the ocean and the land,” the report notes. The extent of the changes in the entire climate system is therefore unprecedented for many centuries to millennia. 

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CNES, JAXA Sign New Cooperation Agreement on Martian Moons Sample Return Mission

Martian Moons mission approaches Deimos. (Credit: JAXA/NHK)

PARIS (CNES PR) — CNES and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have signed an implementation arrangement covering cooperation activities in the field of flight dynamics and geodetic research as well as the French instrument MIRS (an infrared imaging spectrometer) as part of the Japanese MMX (Martian Moons eXploration) mission scheduled for launch in 2024.

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Terahertz Booster – Transferring Data Faster with Quantum Material

Terahertz pulses hit a topological insulator (Credit: HZDR/Juniks)
  • An international team of researchers uses experiments to show that topological insulators could serve as the basis for highly efficient electronic components.
  • Scientists from the DLR Institute for Optical Sensor Systems are participating in the study.
  • These quantum materials could ensure faster mobile data transmission in the future.
  • In the future, this material can also play a major role in the development of detector systems such as space telescopes.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — They are considered to be extremely interesting materials for the electronics of the future: Topological insulators conduct electricity in a special way and promise new types of circuits and faster mobile communications. An international team of researchers, with the participation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), has now unraveled a fundamental property of the new class of materials: How do the electrons in the material react when they are “startled” with short pulses of so-called terahertz radiation? The results are not only important for a fundamental understanding of these novel quantum materials, but could also ensure faster mobile data communication in the future or be used in highly sensitive detector systems for the exploration of distant planets. 

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Nutrient Mixing System for Future Lunar Greenhouses

Greenhouse concept for use on the moon and Mars. (Credit: LIQUIFER Systems Group)

BREMEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The development of greenhouse systems is essential in order to enable life on the moon and Mars in the long term in the future. This requires bio-regenerative life support systems that close vital cycles. After more than a year of joint design and development work in cooperation between the Dutch company Priva and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), two prototypes of a nutrient mixing system for future lunar and Mars greenhouses have now been completed and installed. Tests of the promising systems begin in the DLR’s EDEN laboratory in Bremen. The aim is to set up a 1: 1 demonstrator of a lunar greenhouse system there by 2025.

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Successful Static Test of German/Brazilian S50 Rocket Engine with DLR Participation

S50 solid rocket motor during static burn test in Brazil. (Credit: ©DCTA/IAE)
  • Brazil is working together with DLR on the development of rocket motors and subsystems.
  • The S50 solid rocket motor will form the first two stages of the Brazilian VLM-1 launcher and the first stage of the European VS-50 sounding rocket.
  • The first successful static burn test of an S50 solid rocket engine was carried out in Brazil on October 1, 2021.

SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil (DLR PR) — On October 1, 2021, an S50 solid rocket motor successfully passed a static burn test on the Usina Coronel Abner (UCA) premises in São José dos Campos in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. In the future, these solid-fuel motors will power the first two stages of the new Brazilian VLM-1 launcher for microsatellites. The test was conducted by a technical team from the Brazilian Aerospace Institute (IAE) on behalf of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and the Brazilian Ministry of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA). As part of the long-term cooperation between Brazil and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the now tried and tested rocket motor is being used in a new sounding rocket for Europe.

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Brazil Successfully Tests S50 Rocket Engine for Microsat Launcher

S50 test team (Credit: Brazilian Space Agency)

This is an important step for the Brazilian Space Program, which will now advance in the construction of its Microsatellite Launch Vehicle (VLM) and VS-50.

BRASILIA, Brazil (AEB PR) — The test of the S50, which took place this Friday (1st), at a unit of the Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IAE), was a success. The engineers present were very happy with the results. Among the various authorities were the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), Marcos Pontes, the president of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), Carlos Moura, the director of the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA), Lieutenant Brigadier from the air Hudson Costa Potiguara, the director of the Aeronautics and Space Institute (IAE), brigadier air O`Donnell, and the president of the Aerospace Industries Association of Brazil (AIAB), Julio Shidara, as well as representatives of the national industry, for middle of Avibrás.

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