AS Aachen visited the DLR (German aerospace center) in Cologne-Wahn, where the European astronaut training center is located. As a lot of people were interested and the number of people per visit is limited, two trips were organized by a EUROAVIAn who works there. The visits included a guided tour of the astronaut training center and other facilities like the payload operational center.
The tour started with general information about the DLR and a view of the Sojus-Capsule used for a return trip from the ISS (fig.1). The group was led across the DLR facilities to the European astronaut training center (fig.2). There were multiple live views from the ISS, a model of the ISS and several of its components as well as an entire wall covered in logos of previous missions. We were also able to see the hall in which the astronauts learn to operate inside the ISS modules. For spacewalk-training a big pool hosting a real size model of the Columbus-Module was presented.
The group ventured on to the medical institute, where current experiments and studies were explained. The operational payload center and a focus mirror capable of melting aluminum were included in the tour. After a lunchbreak, the tour continued to the DLR institute of propulsion technology. There the group was able to have a conversation with specialists about combustion chamber technology in current commercial airplane engines. We even got to see a test for a hydrogen combustion chamber.
All in all, visiting the DLR was a very exciting and fascinating experience!