Students of the University of Würzburg have come together in the
The technology demonstration mission is part of the REXUS/BEXUS student programme and will be launched on board the REXUS 23 rocket in March 2018.
Spacecraft that land on other planets – for most this is only familiar from movies such as Star Wars or Star Trek. What is fiction for many, increasingly becomes reality. Be it spacecraft that land on other planets or gliders flying in other atmospheres.
Students from Würzburg and Vienna joined forces in the Daedalus-Project to develop an innovative “SpaceSeed“, a “free falling unit” for contributing to aerospace science. The idea is to develop a small economic unit that can land without parachute. This landing method has never been tried before.
The project is being realized under the REXUS/BEXUS program of the European Space Agency (ESA). In this program experts tutor the students who will be provided with a rocket with a range of 80km altitude.
The objective of Daedalus is to develop the “SpaceSeed” as well as the necessary components and software for the flight and the ejection. At the end, the “SpaceSeed” should, after pyrotechnical separation of the nose cone, be automatically ejected by a mechanism, developed by the Space Team of the TU Wien. At that point the “SpaceSeed” needs to prepare for reentry, i.e. spread the wings that slow the fall using the resulting rotation.
During the fall, the “SpaceSeed” will collect as much data as possible and ideally also transmit them. For this purpose, it is planned to initially maintain direct contact with the rocket until it is lost by the increasing distance. From then on, a satellite based connection will be used for the remainder of the descent to enable live transmission or minimally transmit partial data to ground control. Once the “SpaceSeed” reaches the ground, it will transmit its position to ground control to allow for collection and detailed analysis.
There are multiple hurdles for the team. A robust structure has to be developed that can withstand the expected temperatures and forces. But also, capable electronics and software to reach the objective.
As the team behind Daedalus we look forward to this challenge and are already working on concepts and solutions that we will present to the leaders of the REXUS project from time to time.