Dales eist financiële stukken op

Geert Dales spant een kort geding aan tegen Hogeschool Inholland. De voormalige bestuursvoorzitter van de hogeschool wil kopieën hebben van de accountantsrapporten over de jaarrekeningen en van zijn eigen declaraties.

Volgens Dales heeft hij die stukken nodig om zich voor te kunnen bereiden op een gesprek met de Onderwijsinspectie in januari. De inspectie doet momenteel onderzoek naar onder meer het declaratiegedrag van alle leden van het onlangs opgestapte college van bestuur van Inholland.

Dales zegt dat hij niets te verbergen heeft. Al eerder vroeg hij de hogeschool om een overzicht van zijn declaraties openbaar te maken. Hij vindt het “bizar en veelzeggend” dat Inholland geen gehoor geeft aan zijn verzoeken.

Inholland-woordvoerder Hans Stupers laat weten dat de hogeschool de Onderwijsinspectie “niet voor de voeten wil lopen” bij haar onderzoek. De hogeschool ligt onder vuur, dus is men voorzichtig. “We gaan hierover met de inspectie in gesprek. Als die er geen problemen mee heeft, zullen wij de documenten alsnog aan Dales verstrekken.”

Geen bezwaar
Het lijkt erop dat Dales zijn zin krijgt. De Onderwijsinspectie heeft inmiddels aan Inholland laten weten dat ze er geen bezwaar tegen heeft dat Dales een kopie van de gevraagde stukken krijgt, bevestigt een woordvoerder.

Dare began with a dream that students could build and fly rockets. As the history goes, a small, cardboard rocket built by students swiveled out of control and crashed far from its intended landing site. It was decided then that if TU Delft aerospace engineers could design aircraft and project satellites, they should definitely be able to design and build rockets that fly and land instead of swivel and crash. A few months later, the Dare committee was officially founded.

Dare’s first big project was the Delft eXperimental-1 (DX-1) rocket. Launched in 2002, DX-1 reached an altitude of one kilometer and was successfully recovered.

Even though, at this point, the Dare committee had achieved its original goal, the rocketeers, encouraged by their success, decided to proceed to more advanced projects. Steven Engelen, who worked on the DX-1’s design and electronics: “Since DX-1 was a complete success, with all systems working well, we wanted to go to the next level.” Thus, the Advanced Propulsion group was born, with its goal to design and build a liquid propulsion system.
At the same time, each new academic year saw an influx of new Dare members, to whom it was crucial to pass on the basic rocket-building knowledge. “The idea was to first create a base of competent people who could then go on to more advanced projects”, says Mark Uitendaal, who designed the DX-1’s motor. “The perfect way to achieve this was with an SRP, or ‘Small Rocket Project’.” The SRP requires new members to design and build a rocket around a ready-made motor, which teaches them the basic principles of rocketry. This initiative eventually evolved into the ‘Scrambled Egg’ competition, in which rockets had to carry a payload — a raw egg — safely to apogee and back. In SRP’s first year, only one rocket was launched, but by spring 2009, there were nine SRP teams participating in the competition. 

Big dreams
In the CanSat competition, high school students build soda can-sized ‘satellites’ that a Dare-built rocket then deploys to an altitude of one kilometer. The idea originally came from Japan, where, in 2005, Engelen was presenting the Dare Deimos liquid propellant project at the International Astronautical Congress. During the congress, he attended a CanSat presentation being given to Japanese teams, and he immediately thought the project seemed like a perfect new endeavor for TU Delft’s rocketeers.

“I spoke with the ESA Education Board representatives, and they agreed it would be a great idea if Europe finally joined the competition – back then only US and Japanese teams competed”, Engelen recalls. “So the Netherlands became the first country in Europe to do CanSat.” Engelen then spoke with associate professor, Chris Verhoeven, about starting up the project with TU Delft’s support. Within a year, the first CanSat prototype was launched. Today, the CanSat competition is hugely successful, with dozens of Dutch high school teams participating each year.

The 2010 version of the CanSat launcher, the V6, is capable of deploying six CanSats simultaneously. This year 18 lucky winners (out of 40 participating teams) will get to launch their soda-pop satellites on the V6.

The Stratos rocket, which in March 2009 set a new European altitude record in amateur rocketry, began with an unrealized rocket motor. “The Bigboy motor was designed in 2006 for an earlier Dare project that was subsequently scrapped”, says Uitendaal, the Stratos project leader and Bigboy’s creator. “It was a shame to abandon such a nice motor, so I began fantasizing about what could be done with it: the Bigboy alone could take us up to 5 km, while adding an extra stage would take us to 8 km. But the ultimate goal was to go higher than 10.7 km, the European altitude record at that time.”
To achieve this goal, however, radical measures were required. A new, lighter and more powerful motor was designed based on the Bigboy, and combined with a monocoque fuselage structure and cluster of four powerful boosters: the Stratos was born.

Following the success of the Stratos rocket, Delft’s rocketeers have now set their sites on a bigger prize. The new ambitious Stratos II project, due to be launched in 2012, will literally take Dare to the next frontier: with a scientific payload, the Stratos II is set to go to 50 kilometers, but with a slightly modified design, the rocket could easily reach space at an altitude of 100+ kilometers.

This project however requires revolutionary design and new Dare technology, and currently there are five rocket projects within Dare focused on developing Stratos II – one small step at a time.
The students behind Stratos II are extremely motivated but they cannot do it alone: “A project of this proportion needs the university’s involvement”, Uitendaal says, “because the amount of time it consumes is mind-boggling; it should be segmented and incorporated into the curriculum in various projects and minors, so that students actually have time to work on it. Otherwise the project runs the risk of losing momentum and running off-course.”

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