Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) is one of the most advanced student rocketry groups in the world. We are a group of ambitious students sharing an intense passion for rocket design, build and launch rockets that serve scientific and educational purposes. Our members challenge each other by self-initiated projects. In DARE people get the opportunity to obtain a kind of hands-on experience which is unique in the world.
The flagship project of DARE is Project Stratos. The goal is to continuously push the boundaries of student rocketry. We are striving to be the first student organization to reach space. The Stratos II+ broke the European altitude record this year, by launching it to 21.5km altitude. The launch livestream was watched by more than 150.000 unique viewers. Besides this, the launch was big news on all national media, and made it to several international media like Der Spiegel Online and Business Insider.
We had a picture perfect flight from the El Arenosillo launch site on the 16th of October. We broke the record and so far it seems that virtually all systems of the rocket worked very well. We did have some extremely tense moments in the last minutes of the countdown when the fuel line umbilical failed to detach properly. Our team succeeded to remotely disconnect the umbilical only to be slapped in the face with a failure of the Flight Termination System (FTS) directly after. This however turned out to be a trivial problem allowing us to finally push the button at 16:33 CEST. 13000 horse power equivalent roared to life as planned in the engine and the rest is history.
At this moment we identifying possible points of improvement. The next big step will be to actively stabilize the rocket during to make sure it will fly straight up, making its flight trajectory independent from the wind. This will not only make our rockets go significantly higher, but will also increase the safety during the launch of our large rockets. The active stabilization system has been developed on a small scale and will make its first demonstrator flight in April 2016. If this is successful, the system will be scaled up and will be demonstrated in under supersonic conditions in November 2016. Another new development within DARE is the design of an even higher performing engine using liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as propellants. The first tests of this radical new engine are currently planned for June 2016.