Space Propulsion, Ascent and Re-entry Trajectories
This theme focuses on the characteristics and optimisation of ascent and descent trajectories as well as the design of launchers and shape of entry and re-entry vehicles. The research activities complement and support the solar system exploration theme, such as the atmospheric entry and landing of missions to the planets. It builds on the department’s experience of mathematical optimisation techniques and trajectory analysis. The activities in rocket design are closely related to an ambitious project initiated by an enthusiastic group of TU Delft students (DARE) for developing a simple and inexpensive ’amateur’ sounding rocket (STRATOS-2) to set an altitude record of 50 km. Eventually, this research might lead to the design and development of a small launcher for nano-satellites, which links up to research miniaturisation in Space Systems Engineering.