About STERN

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) started an initiative to boost education for space transportation systems in 2012. The so called STERN (Student Experimental Rockets / STudentische Experimental RaketeN) programme set the aim to enable several student rocketry teams at different German universities to design, develop, build and fly their own rockets. The official goals of the STERN programme were for each student team to reach an altitude of 3 km and the speed of sound with their rocket. At the same time, the flight data should be recorded and transmitted to a ground station. The choice of propulsion system and rocket design was free. Most of the student teams chose hybrid rocket engines for their inherent safety and safe propellants. HyEnD had worked on hybrid rocket engines for several years and applied for the STERN programme in 2012. In Autumn 2012 the project started at the University of Stuttgart. HyEnD decided to aim not only for the official STERN goals but to over surpass them and create a new altitude record for European student and amateur rockets. Back in 2012 this record was at 12.5 km and HyEnD chose 20 km as the target altitude. In the 3 years of developing the HEROS rocket, the propulsion system’s performance was boosted and the rocket’s structure was completely design in lightweight design, which eventually enabled a much higher flight altitude than initially aimed for. Building a much larger rocket than the other German rocketry groups was of course also very challenging, but the students involved gained invaluable experience in the 4 years until the record breaking launch of HEROS 3. With the launch of HEROS 3 and its post flight data analysis, the STERN program ended for HyEnD. We highly appreciate the support the German Aerospace Center offered to us in these 4 years over different fields of expertise and are very grateful for this opportunity.

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