After one year of development, it‘s time to go the last step. Yesterday we were traveling to Esrange Space Center in Kiruna for launching our experiment with the stratospheric research balloon. We went straight to our working place to stating the preparation of our experiment, after the important Safety Meeting. Thankfully our experiment was already there, and so we could start to unbox it. It was a good decision to use ZARGES Boxes for the transport because they are very solid and the experiment fits perfectly in it. Since we have shipped the experiment two weeks before launch we could get some time for recreation with the knowledge that our experiment is protected by these boxes. And after nearly 3000km from Würzburg to Kiruna everything was as expected in best conditions. Now it‘s time to prepare the experiment. After the recreation time the team is very motivated and in a good mood to finish the last step. Stay tuned!
Today begins the last but most important step in our project: The launch week in Esrange.
Our experiment was sent three weeks bevor our arrival to Sweden – Esrange. Therefore, three groups of us had make their way from three different city’s to Sweden by bus, train and plane.
In the afternoon, all three groups of us met at Stockholm airport at the same gate for the flight to Kiruna. At this time it was unclear if its possible to land at Kiruna airport because of heavy fog. Until the last minute bevor take off, the pilot had to decide if it could be possible to land in Kiruna.
Finally, we made it to Kiruna and arrived savely. But that wasn’t the end of our trip to Esrange. After landing we were brought to Esrange with a bus which take us another 45 minutes. Arrived at Esrange, we got our badges to get at the area. At that point we all know that it would be a short night for all of us…
After a short night, we had breakfast. After that we had a morning meeting and also a security introduction for the Esrange area.
The to do for today were unpacking and the assembly of our experiment after its transportation. We had to mount the whole hardware to test the electronic components and the the software to be prepared for the following days. We worked till evening to get everything done to be prepared for the next days.
Like every morning, we had breakfast and after that a morning meeting.
Today’s plan was to pass the individual test. It includes to mount the experiment on the gondola and to connect the current and network plug. After that we tested different scenarios like switching from grid operation to battery operation, sudden loss of current, network connection and loss of signal. Because of our correct groundwork we passed the individual test!
For the following tests the next days we have to coordinate the software with the electrical components, but we are confident to get it done.
After assembling most of the components it was time to sho them to the advisors from DLR. Since we are in time and the parts are well engineered, we had no reason to worry about this review beforehand. Everything went well and we got a pass for the next step of our journey. In the following post you can see some impressions from the IPR at our university.
We went to Sweden. Our design was reviewed there by experts from ESA, SNSC, DLR and other organizations. They seemed to be satisfied so far. We are good in time and we don’t have to improve our experiment that much. Besides the review we learned a lot from the expert and one week full of exciting lectures and activities about carrying an experiment to space. The vehicle in the title image will carry our experiment to the start location.
Our journey has started in the German Aerospace Center in Bonn on the 27 November 2017. We were asked to present QUEST at the REXUS/BEXUS Selection Workshop in the department of Space Administration. The selection board seemed to be convinced and we are proud to announce that we got accepted. Our next step is the Preliminary Design Review in Kiruna (Northern Sweden).