ROACH2 Integration-week

ROACH2 Integration-week

ROACH2 Integration-week


The REXUS Integration Week took place at ZARM in Bremen from 9 to 13 December. During this week the experiment was assembled, subjected to vibration analysis on a vibration table and tested for compatibility during the bench test.


On Monday we packed the rest of our things and loaded the car. Afterwards we went on a long trip north. The arrival at the hotel in Bremen was in the evening.


Tuesday was completely dedicated to the assembly of the experiment.


On Wednesday we had actually planned our shaker test. Unfortunately we were not yet ready for it, so it was postponed to Thursday. So this day was also spent with assembling. In the evening there was a discussion whether our experiment should be moved to another rocket, because there were compatibility problems with two other experiments. So we sat down in the hotel in the evening and discussed the effects of these changes on our experiment. Our final conclusion was that this change would endanger our and other experiments due to vibrations.

After we had posted a picture of our rover in the club's chat, some memes came back, which we don't want to withhold here.


In the morning we made last preparations before we went on the shaker in the late morning. After a few exciting minutes it was over. The inspection showed that we had some cracks in some parts. But all in all nothing bad and unexpected happened. In the afternoon we had some free time, where we waited for the third team on the rocket, before we had the benchtest in the evening. After one of the experiments had induced a wrong signal on the second one, the test was cancelled and postponed to Friday.


On Friday the Benchtest took place. At the Benchtest all experiments are set up together with the Service Module and the entire flight sequence is simulated. The goal is to find out if the experiments work and to make sure that the experiments do not influence each other. This test went quite smoothly, so we finished testing and packing at 11am and were ready to go home. We arrived back in Stuttgart late in the evening.

ROACH2 Critical Design Review (CDR)

ROACH2 Critical Design Review (CDR)

ROACH2 Critical Design Review (CDR)

CDR at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen

As part of the Critical Design Review of Roach-2, a soldering course took place again this year at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen. A representative of the teams from all over Europe was introduced to the guidelines and practice of THT (Through Hole Technology) and SMD (Surface mounted devices) soldering.


After we arrived well on Monday despite the most difficult weather conditions, we started on Tuesday. On the first day, THT soldering was the main topic at DLR's well-equipped soldering centre (see picture on the right). After we learned the standards in the first half of the day, we could finally try it out for ourselves after a delicious lunch. We worked on 2-layered boards as well as on 4-layered boards (how they are used in the Roach-2 Rover). After we mastered this with success, we went out for dinner with the other teams.


The next day we continued with SMD soldering. In the first half of the day we devoted ourselves to theory again and in the second half we tried to put it into practice. This was clearly more difficult than the THT - soldering since the connections were considerably smaller.

When this was successfully mastered, we received our certificate.


Translated with

On Wednesday the other three team members arrived by train. That evening we also met some other teams at the local pizzeria in Steinebach, a small town near DLR. The following day we had time for ourselves until late afternoon. We used this time to explore the surroundings and after some communication problems with the bus driver on the way to the campus we rehearsed our presentation.

Our first appointment was a presentation about environmental testing. In this lecture we talked about the loads during the mission and the tests for those loads.

In the evening we had a meal together with our supervisors and all teams in a restaurant directly at the lake.

Friday was the day of our CDR (Critical Design Review). As the last team we presented our progress and got valuable feedback. The experiment in general was well received, but we must work on our documentation. After the 20-minute presentation to experts from the participating partner organizations, we answered all questions and received valuable comments and hints.

Immediately afterwards, there was an interface discussion in which possible influences from other experiments were discussed to prevent or minimize mutual interference.




SOURCE Preliminary Design Review

On February 2nd, 2019 the PDR of SOURCE took place at the Institute for Space Systems of the University of Stuttgart (IRS).
The aim of the day was to conclude project phase B, in which the preliminary design of the satellite had been developed. In addition to a project milestone for SOURCE, the review represented an examination performance at the end of the semester for all participants of the corresponding lecture.
Besides the reviewers, who came from Tesat-Spacecom, Thales Alenia Space and Airbus as well as from DLR Bremen and Baylor University, the SOURCE team also welcomed numerous guests. Among them were not only members of the IRS institute and employees of the SOURCE project partner IRAS, but also students of the friendly student society TU Darmstadt Space Technology e.V. (TUDSat). This way, the SOURCE PDR had more than 70 participants in total.
The review began at 10:00 a.m. with the presentation of all subsystems, the system engineers and the team lead. Within about two hours, the current status of the entire satellite system was presented. In the following break the team already got many positive remarks about the endurance and motivation with which the students are working on SOURCE. In the afternoon, reviewers and guests had time to ask questions and make comments.
Following the review, the supervising university teacher Professor Sabine Klinkner was very satisfied with the professional conduct of the review, "I was particularly pleased with how confidently the students answered the experts' questions. They really impressed the space professionals".
Despite the rather cool weather and the onset of darkness, the SOURCE team let the evening end on the roof of the institute, while the Review Board discussed the outcome of the review.
In the end, the Review Board agreed on recommending to continue with Phase C once all RIDs (Review Item Discrepancies) had been processed. The result of the review is thus, as in Phase A, a conditional pass, so the next goal is to close all the RIDs by the beginning of the next semester in order to start phase C in time.
The SOURCE team would like to thank all guests and especially the reviewers for their interest and commitment in making the PDR of SOURCE possible.



MIRKA2-ICV (Mikrorückkehrkapsel 2 - In-flight Communication Verification) is a successor to MIRKA2-RX and is intended to accomplish the transmission of messages from a free-falling capsule to a ground station via satellite link. This is one aspect of the original MIRKA2-RX experiment that did not work in the first iteration. Additionally, several further refined systems are developed and tested. Based on the MIRKA2 capsule, ICV is a small capsule 10 cm in diameter and less than 10 cm in height.

A first flight of MIRKA2-ICV in South Africa in July 2017 sadly returned poor results. Only three messages were transmitted, none of which were sent after separation from the capsule's carrier vehicle. Further versions of the capsule and the experiment are planned for the future, as a working and tested capsule is a prerequesite for the long-term target CAPE, a cubesat.



CAPE (Cubesat Atmospheric Probe for Education) is a planned nano-satellite, a 3-unit cubesat. It is based on a mission study by Priv.-Doz. Dr.-Ing. Georg Herdrich and Dr.-Ing. Jaime Esper within the project team "space relevant plasma" from the institute for space systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart, in cooperation with NASA Goddard.

CAPE will have its own attitude and orbit regulation systems, including a pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) ion engine. It will slowly deorbit using these engines, releasing the MIRKA2 capsule as its payload for a controlled reentry. MIRKA2 will then gather atmospheric data and test its heat shield. Several predecessors have flown or are planned, including MIRKA2-RX & MIRKA2-ICV.