22. February 2019 – Munich, Germany —
We are back in Munich and back at the desk. Behind us lies an eventful and exciting Student Training Week where we got to know the other teams, learned a lot and enjoyed a very special dinner! In addition, since last week we know the detailed schedule of the program. During the week, we will tell you about the PDR, share some of our experiences and give you an outlook on the weeks and months to come.
The most important first: PDR. We already clarified last week what a PDR is. The question remains: how did it go?
So in a short talk, we presented the current state of our project to the representatives of the participating organizations (DLR MORABA, ZARM, SSC, ESA). Since we had previously submitted a document on exactly this topic (the Student Experiment Documentation, short SED), we focused in our presentation on changes in our experiment compared to the Selection Workshop as well as our greatest difficulties in design. In particular, we currently lack a software design, the electrical design is still in its infancy and according to our first (conservative) estimate, we consume too much power.
Afterward our project was reviewed and the mentioned problems were discussed. Some of them were already clarified the next day in a workshop, the so-called Ask Your Expert. Our team was able to exchange ideas with the experts of the REXUS/BEXUS team and some very good solutions were found directly, for example, a suitable camera, which does not immediately fall apart during the vibrations of the start.
As far as software is concerned, we will probably learn a lot in the next few weeks. Our team leader is already fully in the subject anyway!
The PDR took place during the Student Training Week. In these five days, our timetable was packed with lectures, workshops, and guided tours, 37 in number. Every single one of them very interesting and helpful. The topics ranged from System Engineering, Electrical, Software and Thermal Design to Failure Investigation, Outreach and technical details of the REXUS rocket. These lectures took place on the premises of the DLR Oberpfaffenhofen and of course, there were also guided tours through the GSOC (German Space Operations Center) and the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics of the DLR. They are working on the future!
Of course, we did not spend the week alone, we got to know the other teams of the REXUS/BEXUS Cycle 12. We have had no points of contact with the BEXUS teams so far, and so we were all the more interested in their experiment ideas. The teams send their experiments with a balloon into the stratosphere, to about 20 to 30 km altitude. Included are experiments on communication, balloon navigation, and astronomy. An overview of the BEXUS-Teams can be found here:
You can find their Websites on our programm page, if you want to check out the teams directly!
A highlight of the week was the evening program. On Monday, a torchlight hike to the monastery Andechs took place, where the summit achievement was properly celebrated with a mass beer! And on Thursday, after a very interesting lecture about the OTRAG (Orbital Transport and Rocket Company), we were allowed to look around the Schleißheim airfield of the German Museum. As the grand finale of the week, there was a dinner in one of the exhibition halls. Great experience, does not happen so often!
Also for the REXUS teams, there was news! We now know with whom we share the rocket and got the chance to know the teams directly. Included is an attempt to physically back up non-nominal rocket flights (BlackBox2), an experiment to control reentry bodies (Hades), and to investigate boiling of liquids in pipes under space conditions (Florence). A great carpool!
In addition, we were able to see a 1:1 drawing of the rocket and thus for the first time gain an impression of the actual size (around 5.6 m) of our transport equipment.
Our sister rocket will be staffed with a supersonic parachute experiment (SPEAR), satellite attitude control (TUPEX7) and autonomous satellite examination (ROACH2). Have a look at those very interesting experiments!
You can find pictures of the week in our Gallery!
Finally, a short look at the next weeks and months. Our next milestone is the CDR in mid-June. We will soon clarify what it is all about. Only so much: Until the CDR our design must be ready, then it is “frozen” and we must not make any serious changes to it. After the CDR, we begin to manufacture the components before the experiment is put through its paces in autumn and winter.
And finally, we now know the date for the launch campaign: from 02. to 14.03.2020 we are in Kiruna, Sweden, and let fly our experiment! Keep your fingers crossed!
So, we got a lot to do! We’ll keep you posted.