TU Wien Space Team Aim for the Karman line and the 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…

The Hound Flight Recap

The Tu Wien Space Team have released their preliminary findings on what caused the failure of the sustainer ignition of their “The Hound” rocket. The Rocket was launched at Balls 2018 and was intended to break the current European student and amateur rocketry record.

The fault came down to the team’s onboard electronic module, STARM (Space Team Arming Device). The module is designed to keep the sustainer system safe while the rocket is on the ground, hence prevent motor ignition. The system only sends an open channel command for the igniter when liftoff is detected by an accelerometer. Unfortunately, the module was not wired up correctly and therefore did not detect liftoff, thus not opening the command channel required for sustainer ignition.

The full write up is worth a read with a lot more flight analysis and plans to move forward, read it here.

The Hound Flight Recap

This past weekend, students from the TU Wien Space Team successfully launched their Hound rocket from the Balls 2018 rocket event in the Nevada desert. Aiming to break the European student altitude record of 32.3 km, set in 2016 by the University of Stuttgart Team, HyEnD.

The Hound, a 2 stage minimum diameter rocket, unfortunately, suffered a failed upper stage ignition and only reached 13 km, short of the record and short of the Karman line. Not all was lost, this was the highest altitude obtained by the team, so I am sure they will be back to try again.

The Hound – pre flight video

The rocket is expected to launch this Saturday (as in pretty soon actually!) and all going well break the European student altitude record, which currently stands at 32.3 km.

You can follow the team’s progress and updates on their Facebook, Instagram and of course website.

Video Caption: The launch of “the Hound” is happening soon! Watch our trip to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

The expected launch window will be 16-20 UTC

Stay tuned on our Social Media Channels (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook)

The Hound – Recovery

The team at TU Wien Space Team continue their video series on their Hound rocket as they prepare to break the European Student Altitude record in a couple of weeks.

Video Caption: When people talk about an experimental rocket, they are mostly interested in the propulsion, rocket hardware or the maximum altitude that can be reached. The safe recovery is sometimes disregarded, however, it is equally important.

Today, Christian Plasounig is going to talk about our recovery system and the backups, which will ensure a safe landing of “The Hound”.

Special thanks to Julian Propst and his Team, who supported us with our Promotion Videos. https://www.facebook.com/Rockingvienna/

The Hound – Mechanics and Test Flights

The launch from Black Rock is expected to take place in 2 weeks time, the team is aiming to smash the 32.3 km current European student altitude record.

Video Caption: If our rocket performs as we expect, we reach an altitude that is beyond the “von Karman line”. A rocket which has to fly up to the desired heights experiences lots of stresses that don’t need to be considered for lower altitudes. These include the mechanical and thermal stresses at hypersonic speeds, engine ignition under reduced pressure, and apogee detection in a vacuum, to name a few. To overcome these problems, many components needed a special design.

Our head of mechanics, Andreas Bauernfeind, will tell you about the design, manufacturing and testing of the rocket that shall break records.

Link to our homepage: http://spaceteam.at/2018/09/09/the-ho…

Special thanks to Julian Propst and his Team, who supported us with our Promotion Videos. https://www.facebook.com/Rockingvienna/

A Look at The Hound Avionics

As posted earlier, the TU Wien Space Team are gearing up to launch their Hound rocket from Black Rock desert in Nevada near the end of September in an attempt to break the European student altitude record.

In this video, the team goes over the avionics package used to conduct such a flight.