The village is home to a major site of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) and became hence known to a wide audience when, in 1983 the first West-German astronaut, the physicist Ulf Merbold flew to space on board a Space Shuttle in the context of the Spacelab missions. These missions were partly supervised by the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) located at Oberpfaffenhofen.
The research centre in Oberpfaffenhofen houses the DLR, including the Columbus Control Center which DLR operates for the European Space Agency and EADS Astrium, and also the Fraunhofer Institutes and other scientific institutes.
- "Columbus Control Centre". ESA News. 2004-08-09. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- "Columbus Control Centre inaugurated in Oberpfaffenhofen". ESA News. 2004-10-20. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- "ESA Training Team ATV". Space Daily. 2007-12-31. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
During the occupation of Germany the airport was designated Oberpfaffenhofen Air Force Depot which also served as the maintenance depot for the aircraft that were utilized during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49.
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