Engineering students from SDU Sønderborg will send a rocket into space
A group of engineering students from SDU in Sønderborg has ambitions to send a rocket into space. The goal is to participate in international competitions.
The 24-year-old Mexican is the initiator of the ARC. ARC stands for Als Rocketry Club and is an association of engineering students at SDU in Sønderborg, which has set itself the ambitious goal of sending a rocket into space.
- I have always been a bit of a Gyro Gearloose inventor type, and ever since my parents gave me a telescope when I was a child, I have been fascinated by the stars and space, says Gonzalo Villalobos.
As a 16-year-old, he decided to work with either space technology or renewable energy, which later led him to SDU in Sønderborg, where he has acquired the right engineering skills for mechatronics education. Gonzalo Villalobos has completed his bachelor's degree and is currently working on his master's.
- Space technology is about pushing engineering to the absolute extreme. A space rocket is exposed to extreme conditions in the form of speed, heat and stringent requirements in space, so tiny things have enormous consequences, says Gonzalo Villalobos.
At the time of writing, Als Rocketry Club has 20 students. At the time of writing, the student association is developing the rocket's engine.
- We have made a mockup, which we have 3D-printed in plastic. Of course, we can't test fuel on it, as in that case, it would melt, but it does provide invaluable knowledge about how the fluids are mixed in the engine. We have tested it with water under a pressure of 25 bar.
The students are constructing a so-called bi-liquid rocket with a double fuel supply. The fuel will consist of spirits and nitrous oxide. Just as two different kinds of fuel power the engine, so does the project itself.
- It is driven solely by passion and fascination. There are no exam grades involved, and we spend our free time on the project. The students are betting that they can participate in the high-profile competition Spaceport America Cup and the European Rocketry Challenge within five years, where university students from all over the world compete to send rockets up to several kilometres in height.
- We have excellent laboratories and unique equipment here at SDU. So, of course, we have ambitions to win.
Als Rocketry Club is affiliated with Arkadiusz Jaroslaw Goszczak, a civil engineer and special consultant at the Mads Clausen Institute at SDU. Like the students, Arkadiusz Jaroslaw Goszczak spends his free time on the project.
- There is so much science implemented in building a rocket, from the engine and the propellant to the rocket body, recovery system, and aerodynamics behind it. It involves a lot of hardware and software engineering, physics and chemistry. We start from scratch. A long learning curve gives students invaluable experience and knowledge, says Arkadiusz Jaroslaw Goszczak.
Als Rocketry Club is currently using things and cases that are in surplus at SDU to build the rocket.
- Space is for everybody. With The ARC we hope to give as many passionate students as possible the opportunity to contribute reaching it…well at least come as close to it as possible, laughs Arkadiusz Jaroslaw Goszczak.
However, in the long run, Als Rocketry Club wishes to apply for funding for the project and seek sponsorships. You can read more about the project on Als Rocketry Club's website right here.