European Consortium Seeks Input From College Students
graduate students studying in Europe can participate in developing
innovative solutions for an ambitious suborbital spaceplane project
developed by ACE (Astronaute Club Europeen) and led by European
astronaut Jean-Pierre Haignere. The deadline for application is
December 31, 2006.
The Vehicule Suborbital Habite (VHS) Challenge is based on an
air-launched reusable suborbital spacecraft and inspired by the
exceptional 2004 feats of Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne,
the first private spaceplane to reach space. Although numerous
similar projects have started primarily in the US, those aerospace
engineering skills also exist in Europe, giving the Continent the
capacity to embark on related endeavors.
With partners that include Safran, Thales Aerospace Division,
Dassault Aviation, Gifas, the French Aero-space Industry
Association and IAF (International Astronautical Federation), ACE
and Haignere have the ability to attract talented students and
challenge the solutions chosen for its VSH spaceplane with
innovative propositions from student teams.
The VSH is a reusable air-launched vehicle with its main
propulsion provided by a rocket engine. The flight envelope of the
vehicle is Mach 3.5 and 62 miles altitude. There are no exotic
materials or special thermal protection; the VSH is based on a
conventional metallic construction.
- Length: 38 ft
- Wing-span: 30.5 ft
- Weight: 13,600 lbs
- Propellant mass: 11,900 lbs
Students in a wide variety of studies, including finance, law,
aerospace and mechanical engineering, management, communication,
and design have been encouraged to put together teams and seek
endorsement from their home institutions before they apply to work
on one of the 10 work packages proposed by the Challenge.
Once approved by the Challenge group, teams can solicit advice
from their own academicians, as well as possibly Challenge partner
experts. At the end of spring 2007, they will present their
results, which will be evaluated and ranked by a special Challenge
committee. The best teams will be recognized during a special June
2007 event of students, partners and European aerospace industry
leaders. Team solutions will be compared to those currently
proposed for the VSH and may ultimately be used if deemed more
New work packages based on the results of the Challenge will be
proposed next fall.