With over 140 members and several records to their name, Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering is one of Europe’s most successful and well-established university student rocket societies. Their ambitious goal is to be the first amateur rocket society to reach the Karman line at 100km altitude, over three times the current altitude record. Since August 2016, Teijin Aramid has been providing material science support in what has become a pioneering and educational collaboration.
Pioneers in a new space age
Founded in 2001, and consisting entirely of Bachelor and Master students, Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) performs spaceflight research and drives rocket-related development in many areas, including liquid propellants, computer electronics, hybrid engines and actively stabilized rockets. In 2015, DARE’s Stratos II+ rocket reached a height of 21.5km, from a launch location on the Spanish Atlantic coast. Since then, the amateur rocket altitude record has been set at 32.3km by the German student team HyEnD. DARE’s new rocket, Stratos III, aims to break this record, and go far beyond – the goal is to reach the Karman line, the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, at 100km altitude. Stratos III’s design phase was completed in May 2017, and the team is now in the process of building the rocket and establishing the location for the launch, which is scheduled for late 2017 or early 2018.
Watch the Stratos III reveal video
High altitudes with high-performance materials
“Stratos III is a highly ambitious project,” says Felix Lindemann, Team Manager for Stratos III. “We want to go far beyond the current altitude record. Our core full-time team of 12 students, and larger group of part-time students, have pooled together expertise in a wide range of areas to build a rocket that will go significantly higher than any amateur rocket has done in the past. To reach these higher altitudes, we needed to dramatically improve the quality of our design, and the quality of the materials we integrate in the rocket. In particular, we decided to use Teijin Aramid’s Twaron® to create the drogue parachute, and Technora® for the parachute straps. This drogue parachute is a small parachute deployed at high speed, and high-quality materials are need to be integrated into its design. This parachute will have to be both very strong to withstand the extreme deceleration forces, and also highly heat resistant, as a great deal of energy dissipation will take place. Weight-for-weight, Twaron is five times stronger than steel and resistant to 250°C, and Technora is eight times stronger than steel and can be used to 200°C for prolonged periods of time, making these materials ideal for this application.”
Teijin’s key support
“We’re very grateful for the support we have received from Teijin Aramid, and in particular from Otto Grabandt, Teijin’s Global Technology and Applications Manager,” says Lindemann. “Teijin Aramid have provided us with sponsorship through their technical expertise and know-how, and have also generously supplied us with Twaron fiber. Specifically, they have advised us on how to source different high-performance materials, and how to best integrate them into our design. It’s great that Teijin Aramid is not only interested in cutting-edge industries and high-value markets, but that they also support student-run societies that undertake research and development, and try to widen the horizons of science. We’d be very pleased to work with Teijin Aramid for future material science projects, based on this successful Stratos III collaboration. Together we can reach new heights!”
For more information about Stratos III and Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering, please visit www.dare.tudelft.nl.