KSat Stuttgart e.V.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) offered a competition for students called “Überflieger” (“high-flyers”). The competition enables students to send their own experiment with ESA-astronaut Alexander Gerst to the International Space Station (ISS). All experiment proposals will be screened by experts and the teams with the best eight ideas will be invited to a selection workshop in Bonn where they are going to present their experiments. Finally, the three most persuasive experiments will have the opportunity to get conducted onboard ISS. The students will attend the launch in 2018.

As members of the small satellite student society of the University of Stuttgart (KSat e.V.) we proposed two experimental ideas to the DLR:

“Pump Application using Pulsed Electromagnets for Liquid reLocation” (PAPELL) will show the functionality of a ferrofluid pump in a microgravity environment. A ferrofluid is a liquid that can be magnetised, if a magnetic field is present. Hence ferrofluids are attracted to magnets and can be manipulated in shape and flow. This non-mechanical pump utilises a series of coils that act as pulsed electromagnets and functions through interaction of ferrofluid with these magnetic field sources. Multiple tests will be performed in an open 2D area and in a pipe system while cameras are recording movements for analysis. The transportation capability of this pumping system will be further investigated by the injection and carriage of solid bodies introduced into the fluid stream. Analysing the behaviour of ferrofluid and electromagnets in near weightlessness will allow conclusions on the functionality of such a pumping mechanism and will indicate further considerations for possible space applications. A possible application is a ventilation system, which would operate without fans resulting in much less noise and therefore stress for astronauts.

STELLA (STEreolithographic LAboratory) will act as a technology demonstrator for the Stereolithography 3D printing method in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Photosensitive resin is cured using an RGB Laser or UV light in order to building a 3D object in layers.
In addition to basic material property tests in microgravity, fine structures will be generated. These could be used for example as a starting point for tissue engineering (Growing living tissue, here in 3D printed matrices) for research, support purposes on long term space missions or for very lightweight components.
A miniaturized stereolithography printer will be constructed using as commercially available parts as far as possible. This printer has to fit in a 1.5 U (10cm x 10cm x 15cm) compartment according to the Überflieger specification.




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