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The Hound – Die Mission

In weniger als 4 Wochen wird unsere Rakete „The Hound“ in der „Black Rock Desert“ in Nevada abheben. Mit diesem Start versuchen wir den europäischen Höhenrekord (für studentische Teams) zu brechen, welcher derzeit bei 32,3 km liegt. In den kommenden Wochen werden wir unsere Rakete präsentieren und einen Einblick in unser Projekt geben.

Projektleiter Christian Plasounig beginnt mit einem Überblick über unsere Mission:

Hello, my name is Christian Plasounig and I am currently doing my master’s degree in Physics at the TU Wien in Austria. Since several years I am a member of the „TU Wien Space Team“ and the project manager of our project „The Hound“. Before we go into further details, I want to tell you about our team.

The TU Wien Space Team is a student’s club at TU Wien, Vienna, Austria. We are working on aerospace related projects like: CubeSats, experimental rockets, propulsion systems and many more. There is no faculty for Aerospace Engineering at our University. This is why the TU Wien Space Team fills this gap and brings together students who want to work in this field.

The Hound:
Our project “The Hound” is about building a rocket that breaks boundaries. The current altitude record for European university teams is at 32.3 km. Our goal is to beat this record. Therefore, we designed, built and tested a rocket that can reach an altitude of about 100 km.

How is the rocket built up?
We designed a two-staged minimum diameter rocket. The rocket has a length of about 4 m, a dry mass of less than 14 kg and a take-off mass of about 28 kg. We build the rocket around two commercial solid engines with 98 mm and 75 mm in diameter. The engines are part of the airframe, this means the fincans, coupler and the nosecone are directly attached to the engines.

The nosecone and the coupler have very similar electronics and recovery devices. After burnout of the booster, which will be around 3.5 s after lift-off, the upper stage separates from the booster and coasts to an altitude of about 12 km. At this altitude the upper stage autonomously ignites the engine. If everything works as expected we reach a top speed of Mach 5 and an altitude of more than 100 km. The rocket parts will be recovered with parachutes. GPS transmitters will send us the exact landing position.

Because we cannot do a high altitude launch like this in Europe, this launch is going to take place in the Black Rock desert in Nevada on the weekend of the 21st of September.