It is rocket science for BEST

A group of students from across Europe recently spent a week with BEST Delft learning how to build
rockets and friendships.

BEST, or the Board of European Students of Technology, was founded in 1989 as an organization to help provide communication, cooperation and exchange opportunities across Europe. Each chapter typically hosts an annual course and engineering students from universities across Europe are invited. For the recent spring course, the local Delft chapter organized an aerospace-focused programme that culminated with teams building an actual rocket.

The visiting students, who must be studying engineering or technology, attended lectures given by two TU Delft aerospace professors. Professors Barry Zandbergen and Eberhard Gill, who is also chair of space systems engineering at TU Delft, gave lectures centered on rocket design, theory and construction.

Participants then collaborated with a TU Delft Dream Team called Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE). In workshops they were presented with technical problems to get practical experience with rockets. Finally, each of five teams worked to design and build their own rockets. At the end of the week, these rockets were taken to the Dutch military base ’t Harde where they were tested. The first two were successful, but the third launch attempt resulted in a fire that destroyed the launch pad. There was a bit of excitement as the fire department was called in, and unfortunately the remaining rockets were not able to launch.

But the exchange programme is more than just a technical event. According to BEST Delft public relations representative Nina Turk, they also aim to promote communication and build relationships between the participating students. This year the 20 visiting students included people from Spain, Italy, Latvia and Montenegro. According to Turk, who is from Slovenia and pursing a master’s in bio-physics, “We wanted people to have some fun and to get to see a bit of Dutch culture while they were here.” Participants also enjoyed touring Delft, Amsterdam and the windmills at Kinderdijk.

Turk said that BEST receives support from TU Delft to organize this annual event because it is a good opportunity to increase visibility of the university across Europe. And there was very positive feedback from programme participants. “Seeing your rocket go up to 230 meters was pretty cool,” said Vitaly Olshevsky, a student from Latvia. “TU Delft is a great environment for studies. Students and professors are passionate about what they do. I look forward to doing an internship here.”

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