Sounding Rocket

Lead: Roman Frels

In addition to developing a CubeSat, we have set ourselves the goal of developing, building and operating our own experimental rockets.

The focus is on deepening the theoretical knowledge that is taught in lectures at the TU Darmstadt and expanding it to include a practical part. The complex overall system “rocket” is not only ideally suited to imparting content to our members, but also the indispensable cooperation in an interdisciplinary team.

The work should ultimately lead to breaking the European altitude record of 32 km for rockets developed by students.

To this end, we are currently working in parallel on two projects: Athena 0 and Athena 1.

Athena0 represents the “zero” iteration of our rocket development. Powered by a water jet accelerated under a pressure of 20 bar from the tank into the environment, Athena0 mainly serves as a test vehicle. As a low-cost platform, we are researching and testing avionics/telemetry, recovery by parachute, attitude stabilisation and pressure tank construction. The ascent altitude should be about 200m.

The Athena1 is the first experimental rocket to be powered by a specially developed liquid propellant rocket engine. The propellants used are ethanol and nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. These represent a suitable compromise between performance and easy and safe handling. The engine is designed to develop a thrust of 2 kN at a combustion chamber pressure of 21 bar. To achieve this, the composite tanks must withstand an internal pressure of about 40 bar and an oxidant temperature of -70°C.

In the future, the Athena 2 is planned as a record-breaking machine. By “clustering” several engines in the main stage, it is to soar to previously (student) unattained heights.

For this purpose, we are always looking for motivated students of all disciplines and semesters. If you have any questions about the rocket team, please contact section leader Roman.