14 October 2022 4 minute read

Flash two-way radios are the means of communication at Stratos IV rocket launch

The Delft Aerospace Engineering Team of TU Delft will launch their self-designed rocket: Stratos IV to space on October 15th . More than 75 students from TU Delft have joined forces to break the European record of a height of 32 km with their sustainable rocket. Flash Private Mobile Networks supplied three Motorola DP 2400 VHF two-way radios and a Motorola base station DM 4400 VHF for critical communications during the launch. Alex van Roon, External Relations Stratos IV: “We cannot afford any delays or interruptions in the process and the two-way radio is our last resort”. Read Here how the students of TU Delft are preparing and how radio communication contributes to a new European record!

Reliable communication

At the Arenosillo test Centre in Mazágon, a launch site in the country side in Spain, testing is underway and there is no internet access in the wider area. Alex van Roon External Relations Stratos IV: “We have been preparing and testing here for four weeks, we are in the final phase for the rocket launch. Safety is our top priority and reliable communication is crucial to us. Together we go through all the steps prior to launch to ensure that everything is perfectly aligned. In this final test phase prior to the launch, we leave nothing to chance and communicate exclusively via the two-way radio. Due to us testing in rural areas, communication by two-way radio is much more effective and reliable than communication via mobile phones. We cannot afford any delays or interruptions to this process and the two-way radios are literally our rescue here.”

Mission control

For a safe rocket launch, the Aero rocket Engineering team has to go through many protocols. In practice, this means working and communicating with each other remotely. Alex: “You can imagine that for security reasons we work from a protected building (bunker) about 800 meters away from the rocket launch site. We use the two-way radios for mutual communication and they are deployed in three phases. From mission control in the bunker we have close contact with safety officer and together we go through all checks and activities remotely. The safety officer passes the commands on to the test conductor at the launch site, who follows the instructions via his two-way radio. It is a fine example of teamwork and the work requires extreme precision. Every step and second is crucial. From this rural area without internet, the two-way radios are the only guarantee to communicate with each other.”

Flash also took care of the request for the correct frequency of the two-way radios at the Spanish agency. Alex: “Flash arranged the correct frequency in advance so that there were no conflicts with aviation or other users in the area. That was very nice. We were able to get started right away on the launch site.”

Environmentally conscious rocket

The sustainably built rocket is set to break all European records, it measures at 8.3 meters and is made of extremely strong, lightweight materials such as carbon, twaron and 3D printed titanium motor that is powered by liquid nitrogen. Alex: “When designing and building the rocket, we looked for the best technological materials and solutions to use sustainable energy and to keep our CO2 footprint as small as possible. We want to learn from this mission, how we can achieve our goals as environmentally conscious as possible by using sustainable materials and energy sources. We do not only want to improve the record in space, but we also want to gather knowledge to be even more environmentally conscious in the future”.

Ready, set, go!

With only a week to go, the tension is building up. For the perfect launch, the right weather conditions and preparation are important. Everything has to be right. Alex: “We hope that on October 15 everything will come together: good weather and the right conditions. Before the launch, the two-way radios will be linked to our live stream so that everyone can listen in real-time to what is being said in mission control. We see the importance of breaking the European space record with our new technological design and sharing our knowledge. It is a super exciting moment. Reliable communication is crucial here, we only have one chance to do it right”.

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