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German students about to attempt launch of suborbital hybrid rocket

A student project at the University of Stuttgart in Germany is about to attempt the first suborbital launch of a hybrid rocket that has the possibility of setting a new altitude record for student-built rockets.

The hybrid rocket is 7.80 m long and weighs around 70 kg. It was built by around 60 students from the University Group HyEnD of the University of Stuttgart. “It’s one of the most powerful and advanced student-built hybrid rockets in the world,” says Max Öchsle, HyEnD project manager. With this, the students have big plans: They want to beat their own altitude record of 32 km for student-built hybrid rockets, which they set in 2016.

The students also hope to cross the boundary into space at an altitude of 100 km. In addition to the world record for hybrid rockets, this also makes the world record for student-built rockets in general possible. The previous record is 103.6 km and was set by the University of Southern California (USCRPL) team in 2019. “The world record is within our reach. We could indeed beat it,” says Öchsle. Öchsle is well aware that the record depends on other factors such as the weather.

The launch window begins on April 14th, and extends until April 25th, will take place at the new Esrange commercial spaceport in Sweden, and will be live streamed by the spaceport. Updates on the project can be found at the project’s own website.

What makes this particular student project interesting to me is its location, in Germany. That nation presently has three startup rocket companies racing to be the first to reach orbit. These students are clearly aiming for jobs with this emerging German rocket industry, and if successful at this project will bring to that industry some very sophisticated abilities.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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  • Allan

    Long ago we could buy the amateur/toy rockets at the hobby store. They used little solid fuel cylinders a few inches long. Electric ignition, parachute, pretty cool. Sometimes I wondered if you strapped a whole bunch together, in stages, how high…. I can also picture the fireball of a failure. Police and fire would be called and, if lucky, we would be sent home to our parents.

  • Mike Borgelt

    German academic student groups have a good record of success in the sailplane industry. Known as “akafliegs”. Some of the alumni have become famous glider designers (glider and sailplane are used interchangeably in the sport).

  • Tex the Mockingbird

    October Skies launch your rockets Auk 1 Auk 2

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