Behind the Scenes: TU Space Team

A group of students of the Technical University of Vienna are making their way to space.
TU Space Team

In winter of 2010 ten students came together to share their interest in aerospace engineering. Driven by the idea of designing, creating and launching their very own rocket they built their first rocket: STR-01 "Origin". "Origin", which is now the first of eight rockets, first flew at the C'Space event in France in 2011, where it won the "Prix Espace et Industrie" twice.
Since then members of their team design and build new rockets for the annual C'Space event on a regular basis.

By now, their team consists of more than 100 members.

PEGASUS and TU Wien Spaceteam

Pegasus Nanosatellit Illustration

The TU Wien Space Team developed, in collaboration with FH Wiener Neustadt and the Space Tech Group (STG), a CubeSat for the project QB50. The goal of this project was to internationally develop 50 micro satellites of dimensions 10 cm x 10 cm x 20 cm which were sent to space 2017.

The Space Teams main task was to develop the Power Supply Unit (PSU) and the integration of the Boardcomputer (OBC). The PSU is taking care of the power supply from solar cell to electric load while the OBC is handling the data from the sensors and RF module while taking care of the software for attitude control and microthrusters. The Space Team also developed the energy management system, which is in charge of shutting down defect components in order to maintain the efficiency of the rest of the satellite. Modules for the connection of the scientific unit and the GPS modules were implemented. The TU Wien Space Team also developed the software and hardware of the bottom plate which has a camera module which can take pictures from space.

The TU Wien Space Team has designed and developed vital components for PEGASUS, which was brought into orbit by an Indian rocket in June 2017.

DISCO One - A new cubesat

The advancing developments in space technology mean that it is now possible for a wide range of public and private institutions to develop their own satellites and place them in orbit. A common problem in all satellite projects, but especially for smaller ones, is the provision of power to all systems. A second common challenge is to distribute the radio frequencies for communication with the increasing number of objects.

The DISCO One project is developing and deploying a technology called Modular Retroreflectors (MRR) designed specifically for micro-satellites that addresses these 2 issues. By using the MRRs, the downlink of data can be done without radio transmission. To transmit the data, a ground-station directs a strong laser at the passing satellite. This laser beam hits the retroreflectors, which throw the light back in the same direction. Due to the modulators, the reflected laser beam can be influenced in intensity, in the simplest case, binary switched on and off. The reflected beam is detected by an optical telescope at the ground station and the transmitted data is determined. The modulation requires by orders of magnitude less energy than the transmission by radio and no radio channel is occupied for the downlink. Due to the high focus of the laser beam, it is virtually impossible for other satellites or ground stations to experience crosstalk or interference.

The aim of this project is to build a fully functional satellite-based setup with MRRs and ground station with laser and telescope, and to use the experience gained to develop a module that can be easily integrated into other satellite projects. For maximum compatibility, the finished module should not occupy more than 0.5U of a cube.

The Hound 2 - Launch at Balls 2019