Student rocket team DARE prepares for retaking height record

TU Delft students are braving the cold today in a bunker near Rijswijk to test the latest version of their Nimbus rocket engine. It’s the power house of the Stratos III rocket that will be launched in July and that will help the students retake the height record, they hope.

Filipe Barreiro in the Dream hall. (Photo: Nora de Vries)

“It’s a big bunker,” says Filipe Barreiro, chief propulsion engineer with project Stratos. “But there is no heating, and the days are long.” A larger rocket means a longer time to fill the oxidiser tanks and a longer time to heat them to build up pressure. The current rocket engine, Nimbus, is about twice as big as its predecessor, Stratos II+, that was launched in 2015. After a burn time of twenty seconds, the Stratos II+ broke the height record, reaching 21.5 kilometres. This record was later broken by students from Stuttgart University. The Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) team is confident that its current DHX-400 Nimbus engine will fire the Stratos III to a new record. Simulations predict a height of between 60 and 80 kilometres.