VIPER REXUS

Today, Michael Bartsch and Anna-Lee Demircian presented VIPER to interested students of the physics class of Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin. The students had a good knowledge about science missions to the outer solar system in the past, including Cassini’s flight to Saturn which is important for our project. To show them what it’s like to plan an experiment for a sounding rocket, we discussed some of the solutions VIPER chose to solve problems that occurred. We also showed them some parts of our hardware. Apart from numerous pictures and graphics, we could show the students the module of a former REXUS project. For some of the students, that seemed to be pretty impressive. After the presentation, there were lots of questions. Not only to the project, but also to the different study paths at FH Aachen UAS.

Thank you to Elena Wüllhorst, who was our contact for Canisius-Kolleg.

On July 23rd, a few of us visited the Space Center Baden-Wüttemberg (RZBW) after we recieved an invitation for the 3rd SpaceUP! Stuttgart. We took the opportunity to present our project to a broad scientific public. Besides that it was great to see other team members and communicate with them about technical challenges and advances. All in all we enjoyed our visit and left Stuttgart with a lot of new impressions of current and upcoming projects/topics.

CDR Conclusion

This week, we had the Critical Design Review (CDR) at the DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. The CDR is used to ensure a steady progress for the REXUS programme, as the teams present their updates, while the experts from DLR, SNSB and ESA review changes and keep an eye on our documentations.

For this Review trip, Leonard Rapp, Fabian Baader, Dennis Keller and Martin Reiswich were available.

We made the trip on sunday, so we could practise the presentation together and also do some late fixes. Monday was presentation day.

After we held our presentation there were a lot of technical questions and remarks about our documentation. We got very positive feedback for some of our subsystems and parts of our Student Experiment Documentation, but also a few things that were not so good. In general we were quite happy about the reactions from the expert team. The rest of the day we had free time, so we explored the nearby lake and had some fun.

On tuesday, an interface discussion had taken place where all teams of the REXUS 23 rocket get info and remarks about the surrounding experiments. For example, we learned that we need a new cable-feed cut out on our bottom bulkhead (the bottom plate that holds most of our experiment), because our current one doesn’t fit with how the experiment beneath us organized their cables. Also on the same day, we had the ask-your-expert-session, where we were able to communicate more intensively with the engineers and experts from the team that reviewed us. Together, we found some solutions and ideas that would make both, team and experts, happy.

A little excerpt, of what we have to do in the meantime:

  • We need to shield the electronics (with casings out of aluminum)
  • The Cupola needs new a new bearing.
  • Do structural analysis (static and frequency)
  • Prepare and execute the first tests with real equipment
  • …and many more

After all the work, we went on a trip with the bus to play beach volleyball together and to have some beer & bavarian food.

Additionally, most of us would meet familiar faces from other REXUS teams, that have been met in the PDR (preliminary design review) and the Selection Workshop before. It’s great to compare your progress and experiences from the time working on your experiments!

Yesterday, on friday, we received a notice that our CDR has passed.

Conclusion: We all agree that the CDR was a success from our team’s perspective. The launch date is getting closer and closer, but is still so far away. Lots of work to do, but with the CDR we have found new optimism to battle our remaining issues and to move on for a great time ahead.

The deadline to upload the newest version of the SED prior to CDR is getting closer. To get a lot of work done, we introduced a new social event called “VIPER night”. Our structure, electronics and science team spent half the night in the CAD laboratory of our university and made a huge step forward to finishing the SED.

Raphael of our Electronics team just installed our 24V Boost Converter with LT3757 from Linaer Technology. The rest of the equipment was placed at our disposal. Thanks to Roboterclub Aachen e.V. (http://www.roboterclub.rwth-aachen.de)

This was our first Team Meeting after the REXUS/BEXUS Training Week. First of all, we need to change the bulkhead. We planned to use the standard bulkhead, but with that there is not much space left at the top of our module. Because of that, we now want to use a bottom mounted bulkhead. We also want to change the design of the Cupola. In the middle, there will be placed the camera, so the engine has to move to the side of the Cupola. We also need a reliable mechanism to lock the heatprobes in the HPPM during the radio silence and during takeoff. This is not too easy as we don’t have much space inside the Cupola. Another aspect we have to focus on is a potential condensation of water of the surrounding air when inserting the ISCA into the module. During the radio silence we can’t heat the outer structure of the ISCA. Our thermal team will check this. We are also about to order some shirts with our logo 😉

REXUS/BEXUS Training Week

The Training Week at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen had a tough schedule: 17 Teams, 9 countries, 22 lectures, 17 Reviews, 4 excursions. A week full of great impressions and useful information, that took place from 20th to 24th of February.

The lectures covered all aspects which are necessary to design and build a module for REXUS, from Thermal Design to Electronics, including Project Management and Outreach. Very important and amusing were the short Bavarian lectures that were held every morning. They included a couple of useful sentences everybody needs to know, for example:

Ozapft is                                             The REXUS/BEXUS training week begins.

Mächtig Hoiz voa da Hüttn’             BEXUS balloons are really big.

Parallel to the lectures, there were also the reviews for all teams. Our review was pretty much as we expected, and with the feedback of the engineers we can now finalize our design for the CDR in June.

During the events, we had a lot of discussions with the other teams regarding their projects as well as the Bavarian food. We also had some very interesting tours at DLR and IABG. At DLR, we visited the center for robotics and we had a tour through GSOC and the flight control center of the European COLUMBUS module with a former flight director. Furthermore, we visited the test center for space and aeronautical technology of IABG, which was very impressive.

The Training Week was the first and only time that all teams participating at cycle 10 of the REXUS/BEXUS programme came together. In the future, there will be trainings and reviews specifically for REXUS or BEXUS. We want to give you an overview about the nationality of the teams:

  • Spain                  1 team
  • Italy                     1 team
  • Sweden              1 team
  • Germany            6 teams
  • UK                       2 teams
  • Switzerland       1 team
  • Austria               1 team
  • France                1 team
  • Portugal             1 team