basically, you would have shortly after the 15. August of last year, the international cooperation for the observation of animals from the outer space, in short, Icarus (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space) to start. After two cosmonauts had mounted the Icarus antenna to the outside of the International space station ISS, it should start the test operation. But now the German centre for air and space travel (DLR) has confirmed: With the Russian project partner, the space Agency, Roscosmos, has to will be renegotiated. As long as the approximately 25 million Euro Icarus remains offline.
180 blackbirds for free
fitted with a transmitter The idea for a satellite-based System for the observation of birds, bats, or sea turtles is by Martin Wikelski, Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for ornithology in Radolfzell on lake Constance. The data could not only provide more Knowledge about migration movements and behavior of animals, but also for the prediction of natural disasters such as earthquakes or Tsunamis. Also changes in the environment, pesticide exposure and climate change are to be documented with the help of Icarus better, and endangered wild animals from poachers and rain forests from deforestation and protected.
For the six-month test 180 blackbirds in Radolfzell were equipped with the about five-gram mini-transmitters, which send their data to the ISS as soon as in range. After that, the regular operation should start.
radio silence due to contract disputes
But since the age of 15. August 2018 radio silence. The System was not activated. The technique, says project leader Johannes Weppler, DLR's. "All the equipment such as onboard computer and antenna are constructed on the ISS and installed." Rather, there is still disagreement, "like what's going on". So must be settled between the German and Russian project partners about "who has which competences and what are the decisions". On the question of why this was not regulated in advance by contract, responds Weppler: "We had thought that everything would be resolved". Now reloaded needs to be working.
Meanwhile, Icarus could lose the technological edge. In addition to Icarus Argos is of the essence "", which is operated, among others, by Nasa and the French CNES, on the market. "Currently we are still at the forefront," says John Weppler. This should remain so. "I hope that we can start in April or may, 2019." It was clear, however, that The longer the delay continued, the more the projection is lost.
Since 2012, is working on Icarus, 2013, the contract negotiations began with Roscosmos, 2014 was signed. It was agreed that no money is flowing, but everyone pays for, for which he is responsible. Also changes in the overall political environment may not be for the current renegotiations responsible, says Weppler. However, there have been at Roscosmos personnel changes. A lot more he could not say at present. "Will be negotiated in compliance with the confidentiality."