The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has been active in a student rocket program named STERN. Open to all universities that offer courses in aerospace technology, the program was officially opened in 2010, and is up to a 3-year program where students design build and launch their rockets from Esrange in Sweden. The only restriction is that the rocket must have a telemetry unit as a payload that is able to send acceleration, altitude, and velocity data etc. to ground control, this means students can design their own propulsion system or purchase an off the shelf system.

From the DLR website:

“As they would in a real-life aerospace technology project, or the development of a new launch system, future graduates will have to meet milestones that specify both timing and technical progress. They will also be required to attend various reviews to present and explain their design to a critical audience.The students’ tasks will include wind tunnel testing – recording the flow profile around the rocket and comparing it with models derived using computational fluid dynamics. Other fields of activity focus on the design of pressure vessels such as tanks and motor casings, the nozzle geometry and strength calculations (finite element analysis) for the rocket components.”

(Click subtitles then settings and change it to English.)

This launch season just past saw 3 university teams fly their rocket and payload.

TU Berlin – launched the upper-stages of their DeCan rocket twice, both flights achieved approx 5km in altitude.
TU Braunschweig – (ERIG) launched there hybrid engine powered Faust. Also this launch was successful.
TU Studtgart – (HyEnD) launched there HEROS rocket, a 10kN (2248lbs) N2O-Paraffin hybrid rocket, unfortunately, a technical malfunction hampered the flight. The team will try again in 2016.


“Next April the second flight opportunity takes place, again three teams will get a flight opportunity.
AquaSonic (HS Bremen) states on their website that their rocket will launch this opportunity.
I could not figure out with other teams will launch their rocket. I have found four other universities that are developing a rocket for the STERN program.
WARR (TU Munchen) aims to reach 15km (49200ft) with their WARR-Ex 3 rocket.
HyComet (HS Augsburg) is developing HyCOMET 1 powered by HyER 1K (a N2O PE 1kN (225lbs) hybrid rocket).
TU Dresden is developing Smart 1 powered by Ethanol-LOx 500N Elbe engine
And ZARM (UNi Bremen) is developing ZEpHyR, with a 2kN Hybrid LOx-Parafin rocket it should reach 20km.

In October 2016 is another flight opportunity for two teams. And the SSC launch schedule also shows flight opportunities for three teams in Oktober 2017, 2018 and 2019.”

A great program for anyone interesed in rockets and happen to be at university. I’ll be following next years launches and progress to them from the various teams more closely.
You can also follow on Facebook.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s