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.


ROACH2 Preliminary Design Review (PDR)

ROACH2 Preliminary Design Review (PDR)

ROACH2 Preliminary Design Review (PDR)

Selection workshop in Bonn

The PDR (Preliminary Design Review) of our project ROACH2 took place on the 12th of February 2019 at the DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen as part of a Students Training Week.
ROACH2 is like its predecessor mission ROACH part of the REXUS/BEXUS program. A program sponsord by the German and Swedish space agencies (DLR and SNSA) to give students the opportunity to develop experiments launched onboard high altitude rockets or balloons.
ROACH2 is a rover which is supposed to drive a parcours in zero gravity only supported by electroadhesion on the inside of a REXUS rocket.

On the first day of Students Training Week the DLR and SNSA as well as ESA were introduced to us. We also got information on the REXUS Service System and on how to design our experiment for implementation. In the evening we had the chance to meet the other teams.
Throughout the week we had workshops about subjects like thermal design, software development, power systems, flight requirements, flight safety and system engineering as well as information about our next steps, as wel as the PDRs, 20 minute presentations followed by questions by the review board. They gave us some useful tips on things we need to improve.
The opportunity to question experts about our challenges that we encountered was really valuable to us. We were also informed on which rocket our experiment would be launched.
The last evening ended with a joint visit to the "Flugwerft Schleißheim".



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.

ROACH2 accepted into REXUS program

ROACH2 accepted into REXUS program

ROACH2 accepted into REXUS-program

Selection Workshop in Bonn

After applying for the new REXUS cycle we were invited to present our experiment ROACH2 at the DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Bonn. Three of our team members went there to present the project.

At the two day event we met our fellow applicants for both the REXUS (Rocket Experiments for University Students) and BEXUS (Balloon Experiments for University Students) program. Besides the presentations of the projects there were a few additional presentations. Some about the program itself and some about the space industry, for example about risk management for space missions.

Each team had twenty-five minutes to present their Experiment and the same amount of time for questioning by the jury, which is formed by experts from the different program partners.

We were accepted!

On December 7th we received the letter officially confirming that ROACH2 will be part of the new REXUS cycle. With this begins a one and a half year long phase of intense engineering, testing and building, leading up to launch and (hopefully) a successful experiment execution.

The next milestone will be the PDR (Preliminary Design Review) for which we have to define our experiment setup, its features and how we intend to build it. At the PDR we will once again present our detailed concept to the jury, which can then give feedback and possibly demand changes.

More information about the REXUS/BEXUS programme and the other teams that were selected can be found on the ESA-Website.



Our experiment PAPELL will fly to the ISS aboard SpaceX CRS-15 on Friday, June 29th, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

We invite everyone interested in space to our launch-event celebrating the safe flight. There will be presentations on our experiment as well as on others, and a livestream of the SpaceX launch. We start at 9:45 and finish around 12:30 at the Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme at Pfaffenwaldring 29.

Experts visit PAPELL

Experts visit PAPELL

The Überflieger project from the DLR includes a visit of three experts from the space companies DreamUp and NanoRacks from the USA for the PAPELL team.

The experts wanted to get to meet the team in person and see how the progress of the experiment was. Further more they needed to make sure, our experiment does in no way harm or influens the crew on the ISS. The experts were satisfied with our progress and PAPELL could match all their restrictions.

Beginning with a short introduction and a brief presentation of our PAPELL experiment, the experts were shown the main components of our experiment and their functionality. This includes the experiment area 2, the actuators for pumping the ferrofluid, the onboard computer with the power supply and several sensors. In order to keep the overview, a complete integration was not done and insted of ferrofluid, collered water was pumped in the presentation. This had no influence for the tests or the functionality of our experiment. Experiment area 1 was due to time aspects not yet ready but this was no problem because the components are simulare to experiment area 2. Further more the injectors of experiment area 2 were not functional because they still have a minor mechanical issue, due to getting stuck in their reservoir. A further iteration to solve this problem is allready ordered and in manufacturing.

caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right
Martin Siedorf: Member of the software team for PAPELL
We worked like crazy over the weekend and therefor much more is functioning. We couldn't do all tests but the ones we did were enough to satisfy our guests. We showed them, that we can make it in time!

The biggest worry for our guests were the magnetic interferences during our experiment phase, which could compromise the other modules of the ISS. The induced magnetic field of PAPELL stays far below the requested limits of NanoRacks. Including this aspect, there is no further issue in the way for PAPELL to work on the ISS.
The additional tests concluded as expected and bigger problems did not accure. Further more, one big drop of ferrofluid could be transported from one magnet to the next without any leftovers on the surface. This is shown in the video.

Our guests were also welcomed by our head of the Institute for Space Systems, Prof. Fasoulas. The visit was concluded with a guided tour through the institute and its labratories by Mr. Herdrich.
The day was finalizied with a dinner in citycenter which the experts and many team members participated.

Beacon Test

Beacon Test

On Thursday the 23rd of July we had our first beacon test in collaboration with the AKAFUNK Stuttgart team. The beacon is a small transmitter that sends a simple ping signal approximately every second on a specified frequency. By measuring the signal strength we can evaluate the position of the capsule after landing using triangulation.

These beacons are often used to track wildlife in their natural habitat and are therefore very small in order not to hinder the animals or change their behaviour. Due to their small size and robustness they are perfect for our experiment. We were also very fortunate that we were provided with the XXX by NamTrack Namibia for our mission. 
The tests we conducted in the surrounding fields and woods of the University of Stuttgart, where meant to determine the maximum reach of the beacon in different environments (in the wood, in the field, with and without capsule). 
The tests were very positive. With our very basic equipment we could track the beacon to a range of up to 1km. Since we used a very simple receiver, this value could also be drastically improved. However once inside the capsule, the aluminium front-body acted as a faraday cage and reduced our range to about 100m. The Whipox material we use for the back shell of our capsule had no impact on the range. 
Placing the beacon approximately one meter below the wet ground provided a similar range reduction. This could happen if the capsule lands in snow or dirt. We simulated these effects by placing the beacon in a plastic tube in a canal with about one meter of earth above it.100 meter sounds like a very small range. However, we are very confident that we will be able to further improve this value and 100 meter will probably be sufficient as even with a very bad GPS-signal we should be able to locate our capsule up to a few hundred meters. Therefore we should be able to find our capsule if we acquire at least one GPS signal.
Finally we had two scavenger hunts where two of our members hid the beacon and the rest had to search for it using the receiver and the ping sent from the beacon. We found the beacon in both cases in only 25 minutes and 20 minutes! However, it was relatively easy to get close to the beacon (approx. 10m) , but finding it proved to be hard as the signal around the beacon was so strong it scattered from various surfaces and made it really difficult to locate it. 
All in all the tests where a great success and a lot of fun!                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks to all the participating KSat members and the AKAFUNK team!