DLR Pioneers New Era of Lunar Exploration & Orbital Servicing

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The German Aerospace Agency (DLR) is one of the heavyweights among new projects that are concentrating on extending humankind’s exploration of the Moon and using Earth orbit sustainably. The DLR recently discussed some of these pioneering projects at the 39th Space Symposium with Dr. Anke Pagels-Kerp, Divisional Board Member for Space.

A key focus is DLR’s newly inaugurated Lunar Analog Facility in Cologne.

“We had a rooftop ceremony in Cologne, together with ESA, we built up a Lunar analog facility,” said Pagels-Kerp. “It’s a 7,000 square meter hall filled with regolith in different sizes to train astronauts and robots and rovers how to move on the Moon.”

The state-of-the-art center will simulate lunar conditions like craters, gravity and illumination to prepare for future missions.

Another frontier DLR is pushing is on-orbit servicing and debris removal.

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Pagels-Kerp explained their robotic arm TINA’s capabilities: “You can change this part of the TINA arm with different instruments. You can, for example, catch space debris and bring it down to Earth or you can catch another satellite to repair the satellite.”

International collaboration is vital, and DLR has a rich network of partnerships.

“We have a very good collaboration with CNES and JAXA,” she said. “We built together with CNES the rover. We will have lots of interesting collaborations with New Zealand in quantum technologies, launcher technologies and so on.”

With game-changing projects like the Lunar Analog Facility and TINA system, combined with robust global cooperation, DLR is pioneering innovative solutions for the next era of space exploration and sustainable orbital operations.

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