Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Students' space experiment recovered from Arctic Circle

Date:
March 12, 2014
Source:
University of Strathclyde
Summary:
A team of students has recovered crucial data from an innovative experiment that could reduce the cost of space construction -- with help from Swedish hunters.

A team of students has recovered crucial data from an innovative experiment that could reduce the cost of space construction -- with help from Swedish hunters.

Science and engineering students from the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow are working with Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology to develop a smart space foundation for larger structures to be built on, from telescopes to a new generation of telecommunications antennae.

The web-like platform, known as Suaineadh -- or 'twisting' in Scots Gaelic, was launched on-board the sounding rocket REXUS12 from the Swedish space centre Esrange in March 2012.

However, the section of the experiment with the recorded data could not be found after re-entry and, despite a recovery mission in Northern Sweden, the students were forced to concede defeat after spending 10 days in freezing conditions above the Arctic Circle -- until its discovery by Swedish hunters 18 months later.

Thomas Sinn, Project Manager for the experiment at the University of Strathclyde, said: "We put a huge amount of work into the project and spent years in collaboration with partners with the hope of maximising the success of the experiment and advancing technology in a critical area of space research.

"We thought our work had been in vain but we were delighted when we received the news that the experiment had been found and it was a relief to find that all of the data had remained intact during 18 months in the wilderness.

"The cameras attached to the central section have provided almost 1,000 images that have let us see the ejection of the web and show the deployment -- held in tension by the centrifugal forces -- resulting in an interesting deployment sequence.

"This is a significant step forward and will allow future projects to improve the concept and help make ambitious space projects involving large structures more technically feasible."

Suaineadh is a web-like structure that can change shape when in orbit. It was launched on a rocket to an altitude of 90 km before being ejected into the low-gravity environment. The two-metre-square web, weighted in four corners, spins upon its release. In low-gravity, unlike on earth, the structure would be strong enough to act as a foundation for construction, which could be carried out by specially-designed robots.

Malcolm McRobb, of the University of Glasgow, added: "The purpose behind the Suaineadh experiment was to provide a proof-of-concept that is scalable in design.

"We imagine that such a device could one day be adapted to deploy much larger structures in space, ranging from huge antenna arrays, solar isolators, solar panels, solar sails, and even scaffolding structures from which to build other structures from whilst in orbit about the Earth.

"The possibilities are as endless as they are vast, and that is the reason why Suaineadh was such an exciting project to work on as a university student."

Researchers at the three institutions are now working on the post-processing of the collected data to validate deployment simulations. Such simulations can be used to develop space structures faster, without the need for expensive testing in space.

The management and system integration of the project was led by students from the University of Strathclyde, while the University of Glasgow team worked on the mechanical design and construction.

The team from Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology looked after the electronic design and telecommunications. In 2010, the team successfully bid at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) to have the project carried on a REXUS sounding rocket.

The project was supported by the universities and the Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Strathclyde. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Strathclyde. "Students' space experiment recovered from Arctic Circle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082524.htm>.
University of Strathclyde. (2014, March 12). Students' space experiment recovered from Arctic Circle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082524.htm
University of Strathclyde. "Students' space experiment recovered from Arctic Circle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082524.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — After more than two years, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover reached Mount Sharp, its long-term destination. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX's Elon Musk Really Wants To Colonize Mars

SpaceX's Elon Musk Really Wants To Colonize Mars

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Elon Musk has been talking about his goal of colonizing Mars for years now, but how much of it does he actually have figured out, and is it possible? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins