We, that is Vlad, Ruslan, Jorge and me (Georg), have just arrived at Esrange Space Center for the launch campaign, and it’s high time to revive this blog. A lot has happened since the last post, and I want to give you a summary here so you all have an idea what we’re working with in the next days. For the launch campaign, which is the next two weeks, we plan to post at least a short blog post every day.
The most important news is that we had to reduce the scope of the experiment. Despite the hard work we did not manage finish all the parts, and in the end we decided not to fly the free-falling units (FFUs) at all. As you may remember, the FFUs are made up of two parts, the common unit (CU), responsible for collecting basic flight data (accelerations, GPS) as well as recovery (parachute, localizaiton), and the specific units (SU), which perform the actual scientific experiment. We had a good deal of progress with both, but when it was time for the final decision none of them was completely ready to fly.
However, we do have the fully functional rocket mounted unit (RMU), which we are very proud of, and it will fly and eject dummy FFUs. Compared to earlier designs, such as MUSCAT or RAIN, our RMU is capable of ejecting much larger and heavier FFUs, and is able to time the ejection very precisely in order to eject the FFUs into a predefined direction, despite the rocket spinning at about 3 rotations per second. Furthermore, the ejection system is completely redesigned with several improvements, such as a much lower force in the retention cables.
This RMU with the new ejection system will be tested in flight to demonstrate it’s capabilities. We have a camera on board, and we hope to capture the whole flight and in particular the ejection sequence, in order to find out just how well the system performs and how precisely the directional ejection works. Of course we will also share the video with our followers, so stay tuned for more updates in the coming two weeks!
Oh, and I case you wondered: the launch date is not fixed, as it depends on the campaign progress and the weather, but it should most likely be between 27th and 31st of May.
Greetings from Kiruna!