Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. (Germany)

Detsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany. Two different DLR institutes with very different roles contribute to the HEIMDALL project: the Institute of Communications and Navigation (DLR-KN) and the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DLR-DFD).

The Institute of Communications and Navigation (DLR-KN), headed by Prof. Günther, has a staff of about 175 employees including 135 scientists. The activities of the institute are dedicated to scientific and applied research in the field of digital radio communication with special interest being given to mobile (satellite and terrestrial) communications and free space optical communications. Two departments of DLR-KN will participate: DLR-KN-SAN and DLR-KN-COS.

In the last 10 years, the Satellite Networks department (SAN) has developed several projects investigating solutions based on satellite communications for public protection and disaster relief. Project examples with this characteristic are: MAIA (ESA ARTES), DENISE (ESA ARTES), e-Triage (German national programme), WISECOM (EC-FP6), Alert4All (EC-FP7) or PHAROS (EC-FP7), also taking the coordinator role in several cases (e-Triage, DENISE, WISECOM, Alert4All and PHAROS).

The swarm exploration group in the Communication Systems department (COS) works on development and testing of autonomous exploration algorithms for multi-robot platforms, or swarms. The goal of such swarm exploration is to enable multiple robotic platforms to collaboratively construct or improve a representation of the surrounding environment without direct human interaction. Their efforts are primarily concentrated on two key challenges: (i) development of new algorithms and approaches for swarm exploration applications, and (ii) validation of the developed algorithm on hardware platforms in realistic environments. During the past years we have carried out indoor and outdoor experiments with both ground-based and flying robots. In particular, we have employed such robots to explore processes such as a magnetic field intensity in an indoor environment, a terrain profile, a gas distribution, or a thermal wind. In addition, we have developed a system for surveillance of a region of interest (ROI) with multiple Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) equipped with cameras. This last system was developed under the scope of Vabene++, a DLR internal project.

The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) is an institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with facilities in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich and in Neustrelitz in the state of Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania. Together DFD and DLR’s Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) comprise the Earth Observation Center EOC, which has become a center of competence for earth observation in Germany. DFD supports science and industry as well as the general public. With its national and international receiving stations, DFD offers direct access to data from earth observation missions, derives information products from the raw data, disseminates these products to users, and safeguards all data in the National Remote Sensing Data Library for long term use. Its geoscientific research related to the atmosphere, global change and civil security facilitates access to products based on remote sensing and consolidates their utilization in scientific and commercial domains. DFD operates thematic user services, in particular the World Data Center for Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere (WDC-RSAT), and the Center for Satellite-based Crisis Information (ZKI). DFD is headed by Prof. Dech and has about 250 employees, mainly scientists. One department of DFD will participate: DLR-DFD-GZS.

The research and development work being undertaken by the Georisks and Civil Security department has the goal of developing thematically relevant information products based on earth observation data, integrating them into IT systems, and operating and continuously optimizing customised user services. The department focuses on supporting the entire disaster management cycle in cases of environmental and natural threats, humanitarian crisis situations, and civil security emergencies. The technical work includes developing new analytical methodologies for working with remote sensing data, using and further developing geo-information technologies, developing thematic remote sensing processors and monitoring systems, operating vulnerability- and risk modelling, and designing as well as establishing crisis information and early warning systems. The department’s activities are integrated into national, European and international cooperative efforts and closely coordinated with the relevant user institutions. DLR is operating the “Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information” (ZKI, Its function is the rapid acquisition, processing and analysis of satellite data and the provision of satellite-based information products on natural and environmental disasters, for humanitarian relief activities, and for civil security. DLR supports and participates in the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” ( and coordinates the acquisition and analysis of satellite imagery.

DLR coordinates the HEIMDALL project and participates in a wide range of scientific and technical activities, including leading the technical coordination and the system engineering activities, the development of a system of autonomous fire sensors for monitoring and early warning using MAVs, contributing to the Earth Observation activities, situation and risk assessment, scenario management and decision support.