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Fishing for the Future High in the Sky
Fishing and spaceflight aren’t two things you expect to be related. Not so for nine students who have designed a reel.SMRT “real smart” project. They are producing a low gravity platform for high altitude balloons using a fishing reel and line.
By: The reelSMRT Project
The team has recently completed an important training week at the German Center for Aerospace (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen and is preparing for a high altitude balloon flight in Autumn. Design and development has been underway to realise reel.SMRT’s vision for low gravity.
The prime objective of the reel.SMRT team is to design, construct and fly a mechanism capable of producing reduced gravity conditions in an attempt to replicate space-like conditions at 30 km altitude. In a novel solution to this issue, reel.SMRT selected to use a fishing reel from which a small capsule, called the FISH, is dropped from a balloon platform. During this drop, the FISH is in freefall which gives low gravity conditions. This capsule is then reeled back using a motor to power the fishing reel. In this way the drop can be repeated many times allowing future scientists to repeat their experiment many times on a single balloon flight.
reel.SMRT foresees a future where experiments can be conducted in low gravity many times on board high-altitude balloons. This will give an alternative to parabolic flights, drop towers and space missions with unique advantages. By scaling up the concept it will be feasible to drop capsules to distances of 5 km and beyond.
The nine students are all part of the European double masters program “SpaceMasters”
The reel.SMRT project shall fly on the BEXUS-9 (Balloon-born Experiments for University Students) from the ESRANGE rocket base, which lies near Kiruna, above the Polar Circle in Sweden. The team are supported by the European Space Agency, the German Aerospace Centre and the Swedish National Space Board, Daiwa Australia and Lulea Tekniska Universitat.
reel.SMRT is a dedicated team looking forward to investigating the feasibility and applications of fishing for low gravity from high altitude balloons in the future.
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International SpaceMaster Student Team, designing a high altitude stratospheric balloon platform for low gravity experiments.
For more information please visit their website: http://smrt.name/