Media contact

Dr.  Benjamin  Knispel
Dr. Benjamin Knispel
Press Officer AEI Hannover
Phone:+49 511 762-19104Fax:+49 511 762-17182
Dr. Elke Müller
Dr. Elke Müller
Press Officer AEI Potsdam
Phone:+49 331 567-7303Fax:+49 331 567-7298

Science contacts

Apl. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heinzel
Apl. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heinzel
Research Group Leader
Phone:+49 511 762-19984Fax:+49 511 762-2784
Dr. Vitali Müller
Dr. Vitali Müller
Phone:+49 511 762-14003Fax:+49 511 762-2784
Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann
Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann
Director
Phone:+49 511 762-2356Fax:+49 511 762-5861

Homepage of Karsten Danzmann

Funding

Funded by BMBF (funding code: 03F0654B)

German Federal Ministy of Education and Research (BMBF)

Funded by BMBF (funding code: 03F0654B) [more]

Laser Interferometry in Space

Background information

GRACE Follow-On is a joint project of NASA and German partners led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. It is the improved successor to the successful GRACE mission which operated from 2002 to 2017.

The LRI is a cooperation between NASA and German partners, with the German contribution led by the AEI. In Germany, the LRI concept, its prototypes and technical specifications were done at the AEI. AEI researchers have been heavily involved in developing and testing the flight hardware. The development of the LRI is based on a longstanding partnership between AEI and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If the laser instrument stands the test future missions could rely solely on the more precise laser interferometers instead of microwave interferometers.

The German contributions to the LRI include the entire optical system, consisting of a steering mirror, built by Hensoldt (previously Zeiss) in Oberkochen and the optical bench from SpaceTech GmbH in Immenstaad, opto-electronics from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin-Adlershof, and electronic systems from Apcon AeroSpace & Defence in Neubiberg near Munich. SpaceTech GmbH is responsible for the industrial part of the entire German LRI contribution. The DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen developed and delivered calibration and testing instruments. Both satellites were built on behalf of NASA by Airbus in Friedrichshafen. Mission control for GRACE Follow-On is provided by the German Space Operations Centre (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich under subcontract of GFZ.

 
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