Team SQUID Del 9 – Georg Schlick

Georg cross-country skiing on a lake near Kiruna

Now that the students ended their winter sleep SQUID is getting reinforcements. First planning to join the project in late August Georg has already been working on our first mock-up.

Hello Georg! How old are you, and where are you originally from?
I am 24 years old and from Innsbruck a City in the western part of Austria somewhere in the Alps between Italy and Germany.

What is your role in the SQUID project?
I am going to take responsibility for the dynamical modelling from Mario as he has quite a lot to do designing the SCALE and setting up all the test-scenarios.

However at the moment I am mainly spending time in the basement building our first mock-up.

What did you study at your previous college, and what are you studying now here at KTH? What made you choose to study here?
I am here as an exchange student, so I am at least officially still studying at my previous college, the technical university Munich. I’ve been studying mechanical engineering there and I am extending my studies in that field here at KTH.
The choice to come here was more accidentally and based on the exchange program I am in. I don’t think I could have made a better choice though.

How did you come to join the SQUID team?
I attended Gunnar’s course on non-linear finite element methods and at some point during the course he mentioned, that the team is looking for new members. So I read up on the project and eventually I decided to join.

Where and with what do you hope to be working in ten years’ time?
I still hope to get around a bit during the next ten years which makes the where quite tricky.
To tell with what I want to work isn’t that easy either, but I would really like to work as some sort of teacher or trainer some day.

Worst space movie ever?
I like most space movies even if they are more fiction than science. However Lost in Space is the one I would call the worst I’ve ever encountered.

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Cutter test

To improve the cutter design for ejecting the parachute, Gustav and David suggested a new design some time ago. The design has since then been discussed together with some of the members of the LAPLander team and a decision to test the performance of such a cutter where taken. The design of the new cutter is quite simple and consists of a pipe made of ceramics with good heat propagating properties. The pipe is then threaded and a cantal wire is twisted around it. The result is that the cutter works as an owen and melts the rope which is guided through the pipe. The test showed that the cutter performs quite well even in this early stage even if there are a number of improvements that needs to be added to the design.

The new cutter with an enthusiastic David behind it

The art of making streamers

Jacob writes

After two presentations at Bergtorpsskolan in Täby and two more at Naturvetargymnasiet in Södertälje the school visit part of our outreach plan is done for the time being. All work is now focused on the tasks that need to be finished for the Critical Design Review in the beginning of June!

One such task is choosing the proper streamer for the landing system.

In order to minimize the risk of the parachute getting entangled with the free-flying-unit (the ejected part of the experiment), it needs to be pulled out and away from it. We hope to be able to do this with a simple streamer, which is kind of like a long ribbon of cloth or plastic.

Streamers are commonly used on model rockets in place of parachutes, but we haven’t found any good info on them being used for anything bigger. This means we have to do some testing! What we’re mostly interested in is how the drag from the streamers varies with speed, the weight of the material, and the dimensions of the streamer itself.

This weekend I have a great opportunity to test just this my holding them out on a stick from a car, but first I need something to test! During lunch today I headed to a hobby store which just happened to have some streamers for model rockets at hand… including some big 7*70 inch ones!

The model rocket streamers are very light while the info we’ve found on the subject says that a heavier streamer might provide a lot more drag. However, thanks to the LAPLander team we have a lot of thick, heat- and tear-proof airbag cloth lying around at the lab, so I immediately got to work cutting out more streamers of various dimensions from that.

It’s going to be fun sitting in the back seat of a convertable testing all these during the weekend, I’ll write up a post about how it went next week!

Oh, and here’s a pic from one of the presentations we held at Bergtorpsskolan. It’s been great fun and the students have been really interested, and haven’t been afraid of asking us tricky questions! Hopefully we can go out and do this again after summer.

David and a group of students at Bergtorpsskolan

SQUID visits schools!

Jacob writes

Last week it was finally time to head out to some schools to tell the students about our experiment and student life at KTH.

The first stop was Naturvetargymnasiet in Södertälje, my old school. On Thursday David, Gustav, Jiangwei and me
carried our heavy bags packed with plasma experiments and accompanying transformers all the way there.

The students seemed really interested in what what we were doing, and for me it was pretty fun to meet my old teachers. At this first visit we presented for the International Baccalaureate class, so we held the presentation in English. Tomorrow we will have two further presentations in Swedish.

The presentation itself took about 50 minutes and afterwards we had some experiments set up for the students to try. The plasma ball and Jacob’s Ladder from KTH öppet hus were there, but this time we also had a wooden model of the FFU and model of the SCALE system. There was also a computer simulation, where the students could try minimizing the swinging of the wire booms at the end of deployment by controlling the deployment speed. Overall it seems both we and the students enjoyed it, and we’re looking forward to returning next week for two more presentations.

On Friday we headed to Stockholm Observatory in Saltsjöbaden, where Kunskapsgymnasiet for astronomy is housed. It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate place for a space presentation, and the students here were even more interested, asking me, David and Gustav many difficult questions during the presentation. We were quite proud to have been able to answer at least some of them. 😉

Afterwards we got to see more of the building, which is located at the top of a tall hill in Saltsjöbaden. The hill is littered with domes, for various telescopes, and the centerpiece is a 20-or-so-inch refractor (lens) telescope.

Yuri’s Night in Stuttgart – Part 3

On the last full day of the visit we finally had some real work to do. The event was set to open at 13 and we arrived in good time to set up our equipment. The things we still had left was a wooden mockup of the experiment, a SCALE system prototype, two actual circuit boards for the SCALE probes, a whole bunch of stickers, and two posters.

We were expecting mostly teenagers, but it turned out most visitors were families with children and we didn’t get far with our English. I tried to talk a bit in German, but I’m not very good and sometimes the German REXUS teams at the same table had to help out. We also made a last minute decision to have the presentation talk translated, and Juergen did a great job with it.

Still though, the SQUID stickers turned out to be really popular and there were a lot of visitors, probably several hundred. The biggest crowd magnet was probably the rocket buildling workshop (with model rocket engines!) and the planitarium show.

At 18 the crowds were starting to thin out and it was time to pack up. We headed to the Sky Bar near the train station, where one had a great view over the town. Beer was consumed and Facebook friends added. There was one more stop that night, at a mexican-styled restaurant that served huge and cheap drinks (Germany is amazing!), before heading to bed for an early flight the next day. Juergen and Tina were great hosts and we are really happy that we were invited to this great event.

The trip home actually went according to plan, so there’s not much to write about there. I discovered an awesome Sv. Michelsen’s chocolate shop at the Copenhagen airport and stocked up on chocolate with my name on it though.

Yuri’s Night in Stuttgart – Part 2

Today we took a bit of a break from the space-related work and took a trip into town, with our target set on the new Mercedes-Benz museum. It’s on the other side of town from Vaihingen where we’re staying, but the S-bahn took us there in just 20 minutes.

The museum was extremely impressive, both from the outside and inside. Three elevators carry visitors up to the top of the central concourse, and the trail then goes down in a spiral, starting with the humble beginnings of the first Daimler and Benz cars and ending with the latest luxurious supercars and a massive display of the legendary Silver Arrow race cars. I won’t say much more and let the images speak for themselves.

We stayed over three hours, there was just so much to see. Once we did get back to town we had some food (strange german sausage-pastries) and checked out some stores, before heading to the observatory. Most of the preparations for Yuri’s Night had already been done though, and we were treated a rather strange laser show in the planetarium, a mashup of mummies, dinosaurs, and astronauts.

Last but certainly not least we headed to the train station tower from which we could see much of central town, and then to a traditional german pub which served the most amazing dinner. We did not stay very late though, as we had a job to do the next day…

Yuri’s Night in Stuttgart – Part 1

After a week of work on the next version of the experiment documentation, me (Jacob) and Gustav traveled today to Stuttgart in southern Germany. Together with some of the German REXUS teams we will be attending an event at Yuri’s Night on Sunday, to which we’ve made some neat posters and brought along prototypes and other material from our project. Yuri’s Night is an annual event the world over, celebrating the anniversary of the first human spaceflight.

Juergen and Tina from EXPLORE were kind enough to offer us a place to stay. We just came back from a bar here in the town of Vaihingen right outside of Stuttgart, where we participated in a strange peanut-throwing ritual. Beer was cheap and there was free gulasch soup served after 12. We’ll just have to see if we ever come back to Stockholm again!

Tina, Gustav and Juergen at a pub in Vaihingen

After 12 o'clock they brought out "tomtebloss" and gave us peanuts to throw at each other! This place is amazing!

The trip here was far from great though, with one flight being cancelled and a bag being lost along the way. Luckily we (almost!) didn’t loose any SQUID-material with that bag, so the project and presentation won’t be affected. One of us will have to buy some new clothes though…

Tomorrow we’ll be checking out town and finish the preparations for the expo and presentation in the planitarium on Sunday. Hopefully we’ll have time to visit the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums too!