And yet ASAT managed – despite the difficulties – to secure the first live Greek participation in the world’s largest rocketry competition and to perform its first fully successful launch of a high-power rocket, ranking 8th in the category in which it competed and 13th worldwide.
ASAT traveled a total of 12,700 km to finally end up in the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA to compete against 150 student teams from around the world, receiving 3 “on the spot recognition” awards, the 8th place in the 10K COTS category and the 13th place in the world ranking, with the rocket Andromeda, whose name is of Greek origin and inspired from the homonymous constellation.
Andromeda is the fourth high-power rocket designed and built by members of ASAT’s Rocketry Department and supports two types of solid fuel motors, either COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) or SRAD (Student Researched and Developed). In addition, a notable part of the mission was the experiment, which was integrated into the payload of the rocket, with the aim of studying the reaction of the red blood cells of a patient with sickle cell anemia, in conditions of high acceleration and oxygen deficiency.
Andromeda was launched 3,461 meters above the desert of New Mexico before both parachutes were ejected, landing it safely and intact, some kilometers from the launch site. The recovery of the payload was also successful, with the system being functional after the landing.
Despite the difficulties, that began from the very beginning when trying to secure the team’s participation in the competition, due to financial issues and the pandemic, ASAT managed not only to qualify for the event but also to gain a dominant position in the competition. During the competition, the team needed to get approved by two technical reviews, the Flight Safety Review (FSR) and the Launch Control Officer Inspection (LCO Inspection). Following the correction of some minor issues, highlighted by the judges, the team managed to acquire a signed flight card and prepare for launch.
After getting permission from the LCO, Andromeda was launched, while applauded by the viewers for its vertical trajectory. After its landing and safe recovery, the rocket was brought back for the Post-Flight Inspection, during which the judges rewarded the team for the excellent condition of both the rocket and its systems.
Meanwhile, the judges of the Spaceport America Cup praised the team for its overall participation during the entire year of preparation for the competition. The rocket stood out for its exceptional design (491.5/500 pts), while the payload experiment impressed the rest of the teams.
Looking back to the effort of the last few months and despite the challenges that arose during the construction of the rocket and the participation in the competition, all the members of ASAT unanimously agree it was an experience that provided them with knowledge, skills and memories and will accompany them for the rest of their lives.
Lastly, it is important to acknowledge the contribution of all our sponsors to this particular achievement, as without their support the team would not have been able to participate in the Spaceport America Cup.
Check out the video of Andromeda’s launch in Spaceport America Cup 2022 in New Mexico!