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German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  The German Aerospace Center DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.) is Germany's national aerospace research center as well as the national space agency.

For the coordination and funding of the national space debris activities the DLR as the national space agency is responsible. DLR is also the partner and German representative in international cooperations and coordination committees (ESA Space Debris Coordination, IADC).

The space debris related activities in Germany are funded by ESA or DLR, in some special applications by direct contracts of industry or other space agencies. The work is performed by research institutes of universities or other special institutions and aerospace industry. The dealing with the space debris subject has a long tradition in Germany - more than 20 years. Over these years a great experience and know-how gained on the following fields of space debris research:

  • Observation, detection and tracking
  • Recording, evaluation and analyses
  • Prediction and risk analyses of atmospheric reentry events
  • Investigation of the mechanisms of space debris generation
  • Development of environment models
  • Investigation of the phenomena of hypervelocity impacts by tests and numerical simulations
  • Development of verification methods
  • Development of meteoroid and space debris impact protection measures
  • Formulation of design guidelines and requirements for protection and space debris avoidance measures
  • Establishment of databases
  • Formulation of international regulations

The main institutions working in these areas in Germany are:

  • the Institute for Flight Mechanics and Spaceflight Technology (Institut für Flugmechanik und Raumfahrttechnik) of the Technical University of Braunschweig
  • the Fraunhofer Ernst-Mach-Institute in Freiburg
  • the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques with their radar facility TIRA
  • eta_max space GmbH in Braunschweig
  • the Institute für Leichtbau of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen and
  • the German Space Operation Center of DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen.

    DLR organizes regular national colloquiums, workshops or meetings for exchange of information on research results, status of projects and studies, legal aspects and planning of future activities. As result of the last workshop in February 2000 a work plan has been established to initiate a coherent project to keep the space debris related competence and expertise of the institutions and facilities in Germany and to contribute in international programmes or projects. The project shall form an also industrial useable end to end service, which gives the user of outer space the possibility of information on national and international agreements, guidelines and standards on space debris mitigation as well as support the achievment design and operational requirements of space crafts in this respect.

    DLR is also supporting and advising ministeries and governmental authorities to space debris mitigation and measures in the cases of risk objects (e.g. sirviving atmospheric reentry) by analyses of risk objects as well as recommendations to international regulations, e.g. in the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and Legal Subcommittee of the UNCOPUOS (United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space).