What is UASL?
The UASL project (Upper Atmosphere Space Launcher) is an initiative that aims to perform a balloon assisted parabolic flight to the space boundary (100km) with a P/L of 1kg. This would provide a platform for students, university researchers and space
enterprises to perform experiments and certifications in microgravity, reentry simulation and studies in space conditions. It is also a first step on a field of keen interest for the industry: launch microsatellites into orbit in an efficient and inexpensive way.
Conventional space delivery systems are not optimized for light P/L and therefore they are very expensive and inefficient. The main cause is that no matter how small the P/L is, the launcher wastes most of its fuel going through the denser layers of the atmosphere.
Launching from the stratosphere with the assistance of helium balloons minimizes drag losses and allows optimizing the nozzle for high atmosphere conditions.
Fuel needs are significantly reduced and allowing the rocket to be lighter and less pollutant. All this together with the electronics miniaturization provides a wide range of possibilities.
Who is UASL?
The UASL project nurtures from several EUROAVIA Terrassa working groups that have gained experience in the development of several subsystems, mainly TRT (Terrassa Rocket Team) and NESLAB (NEar Space LABoratory).
Using a lifted launch pad that reaches the stratosphere. Launching from an altitude of 35 km reduces the drag effects and allows the nozzle to be optimized for vacuum conditions allowing less fuel consumption making the rocket cheaper and greener.
With tested telemetry, guidance and communication systems
that combine external technology with self developed electronics. Redundancy on critical devices and exhaustive tests both on the software and hardware ensure to keep the equipment in working order.
Hybrid rocket propulsion systems. Hybrid propulsion systems can employ energy management via throttling and restart, and they are environmentally friendly.
Composites and pressurized structures are needed to avoid that the structure bruises. Additionally, composite materials provide high stiffness without introducing too much weight.
Thrust vector control (TVC) is the most effective method while the main propulsion system is operating. This control system basically consists on redirecting the exhaust gases in order to change the orientation of the rocket.
The parachute configuration must create enough drag so as to assure a safe landing. Therefore, the recovery system consists of two parachutes: a first drogue ejected at high altitudes and a main parachute, ejected at lower altitudes.
Aim high, go beyond!