The Systems Enabling Technologies (SET) group investigates key
technologies for current and future space missions in science, Earth
observation and navigation & ranging and examines and evaluates missions on system and subsystem
One focus of the activities is optical metrology. This specifically relates to special assembly-integration technologies
required for future operation of the optical instruments in space. This
includes, for example, the design, implementation and verification of
highly stable optical frequency references and laser sensors for measuring distance
and angle variations between distant satellites. As part of the GRACE
(Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) follow-on mission, due to be
launched March 2018 SET is responsible for the Optical
Ground Support Equipment (OGSE), which supports the integration of the
laser ranging instrument and tests the performance in distance
Optical frequency references based on Doppler-free spectroscopy of molecular iodine and on optical resonators are developed in compact and ruggedized setups. Possible applications in space include the gravitational wave detector LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), the Earth’s gravity mission NGGM (Next Generation Gravity Mission) and missions dedicated to test fundamental physics such as BOOST (Boost Symmetry Test).
The projects mentioned are carried out in close collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space (Friedrichshafen),
and also in part with the University of Applied Sciences Konstanz
(HTWG), Leibniz-University Hannover and Humboldt-University Berlin.