TU Wien Space Team Aim for the Karman line and European Altitude Record

Vienna (TU WIEN) – The Space Team of the Vienna University of Technology wants to know it again: in Nevada (USA) two rockets are launched, which are to reach record-breaking heights.

If everything works out perfectly, the rocket should reach a height of over 100 km – the area where the atmosphere gets thin and space begins. The Space Team of the Vienna University of Technology, an association made up of students from different TU disciplines, will attempt to break records in the Nevada desert with two self-developed two-stage rockets. The previous European record for student teams is 32.3 km.

In the last attempt last year, the goal could not yet be achieved. Now the team tries again. The launch is scheduled between 20.9 and 22.9 – updates are posted on the Space Team’s website.

Much know-how at the Vienna University of Technology

The Space Team has already made a number of remarkable achievements. Various rockets have been successfully launched, a mini-satellite has been built and is still sending data from its orbit, a novel mountain system has been developed, with the probes without parachute unscathed from space to return to Earth.

The technical challenges that needed to be overcome for the record attempt are huge:

For about three and a half seconds, the first stage of the rocket burns. This is then separated from the rest and the upper stage continues for fifteen seconds, until it is then ignited at a height of about twelve kilometers. This is made possible by a sophisticated electronics system, which was developed and built by the Space Team.

“This is a challenging task, and there are countless things to consider such as safety and reliability,” says Project Manager Christoph Fröhlich. “The last time we tried a security mechanism was not wired correctly, this year we will launch the rocket again, and in addition we will try a second improved missile in detail, especially the electronic systems and the upper stage ignition have been revised.”

Both rockets are each just under four meters long and weigh (including fuel) each about 30 kg. In the development, it was important to choose the right materials that could withstand extreme loads – such as special glass fiber reinforced polymers. Due to the strong air resistance, the rocket is extremely hot. At atmospheric pressure at sea level, such a rocket would burn, but as the air pressure and thus also the air resistance decreases, the team hopes to surpass the previous European record for student teams of 32.3 km. Achieving a world record is possible, albeit difficult: a team from the University of Southern California has now reached 100 km. “What height we can ideally achieve is hard to say because the simulations come to quite different results. Ultimately, we will only know when we analyze the sensor data after the flight, “says Christoph Fröhlich.

Video Caption: In September of 2018 the TU Wien Space Team launched the two-staged rocket “The Hound” in Nevada, USA. More information under http://spaceteam.at/2018/10/20/the-ho…

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