It has been an exciting 15 months for the DISCOVERER project since its start in January 2017. This first period has predominantly focused on design elements. Much of this work has involved planning and developing technologies for the Rarefied Orbital Aerodynamics Research facility (ROAR) which will be commissioned early 2019 and the development of the payloads and bus for the project’s Satellite for Orbital Aerodynamics Research (SOAR) which will be deployed into very low Earth orbit in early 2020.
Other developments during this period have included a full analysis of the state-of-the-art aerodynamic technologies and development of control concepts using these technologies, identification of novel materials to reflect atomic oxygen, review of and preliminary developments for Atmosphere-Breathing Electric Propulsion (ABEP) systems.
The consortium has met twice in the UK in Manchester and Surrey and once in Stuttgart in Germany. Masterclasses to share knowledge amongst the full general assembly were kicked off in December 2017 and a mentoring scheme has been introduced to help develop early career scientists within the project.
“We’ve made fantastic progress to date, with designs for the major activities in a mature state, and the fundamental developments showing very encouraging results. The project is now moving from a design and fundamental research phase into an implementation and build phase. Activities over the next year or so will be very exciting!” stated Dr Peter Roberts, DISCOVERER’s scientific coordinator.
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