Aether Launch Campaign Update

Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) aims to launch Project Aether, a technology demonstrator for future DARE spaceflight featuring active aerodynamic stabilization and high-speed parachute deployment, in the first half of 2017. Since the deadline is only a few months away, the Aether launch campaign department started its work on non-technical related tasks, such as logistics, arranging accommodation, and media exposure. This group within Aether is dedicated to providing a smooth operation of the launch campaign and to provide support to all its members and sponsors along with keeping the very enthusiastic public up to date with our activities.


On Friday 23rd September, Project Aether tested several of its subsystems at the DARE launch day at ASK ‘t Harde, which you may have heard about or seen on our Facebook livestream. After a successful first engine test earlier in March 2016, the Solid Six Propulsion Team conducted their second test for the Asimov engine. The Capsule & Recovery Team flight tested the mortar-based parachute deployment system, which was previously tested on the ground. The Advanced Control Team (ACT) launched for the second time this year their actively stabilized rocket. This launch’s objective was to test an upgrade of the system and to improve the simulation data, after the first actively stabilized launch of the society in May 2016.

The tests conducted this September at ‘t Harde had various degrees of success. In this blog, a preview of what happened will be given. In depth details from the individual sub-teams, including (flight) data of the tests, will follow in blogs next week.

The launch day started with the Solid Propulsion Team engine test. Unfortunately, the outcome of the test was not what the team had expected, currently the team is investigating the situation and more details on this test will follow in a later post. In the last launch window of the day, both Capsule & Recovery Team and ACT launched their rockets.The pyro bolt and the mortar-based parachute deployment system of the Capsule & Recovery Team V7M worked as they were designed. Unfortunately, the parachute line snapped on deployment, which resulted in the rocket falling ballistically to the ground. The Capsule & Recovery Team are compiling a comprehensive forensic analysis on what exactly happened during flight and will look into improving the recovery system.

Immediately after the launch of the CanSat V7M, the ACT V7S was launched, which successfully performed the second roll controlled rocket launch of DARE. First results of the flight data indicated that the V7S exited the tower with zero roll rate, and, after a couple of seconds, the steerable wings deflected to increase the roll rate. In the upcoming blog posts, the teams will reveal their test data, footage, and conclusions.

After the teams have investigated the results of the September launch campaign, Aether will continue working towards the final flight hardware. To guarantee the success of this project, more tests of Aether subsystems will be conducted in the upcoming months. The Solid Propulsion Team wants to conduct at least two more tests, to measure the performance of the Asimov engine. Furthermore, the Capsule & Recovery Team will test the pyro bolt and mortar systems again.

In the meantime, the Aether crew is working towards their next big deadline, which is the Critical Design Review of the 17th of October, where DARE and external experts will review the final design of Aether.

If you want to be notified when Aether posts a new update, you can subscribe to the DARE newsletter. If you want to know what DARE is up to in the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter, Linked or like our page on Facebook.

DARE and Aether launch crew at DARE launch day at ASK ‘t Harde on 23-09-2016

DARE and Aether launch crew at DARE launch day at ASK ‘t Harde on 23-09-2016