European students commemorate 30 years of Ariane
In December 1979, the first Ariane rocket blasted off from the European Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. Almost 30 years and several hundred launches later, the Community of Ariane Cities (CVA) decided to commemorate the Ariane success story by launching a summer of educational programmes.
Tailored to match the participants’ ages and backgrounds, each programme was aimed at a different target group: high school pupils, engineering students, and teachers of maths and science.
The CVA brought together its 18 member city administrations and as many industrial firms involved in the Ariane launcher programme, in order to inform the students about the benefits of space technology for everyday life and the importance of investment in space activities. In addition to learning about the design, manufacturing and operation of the Ariane rockets, the participants were able to visit space-related research and industrial facilities.
One of the key objectives of the initiative was to motivate young people to embark on scientific and technical careers. Through the introduction of team studies, the programme was also able to promote intercultural learning and European technology cooperation.
During the first half of July, 30 high school students from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland participated in a 10 day programme, hosted by the city of Hardthausen/Lampoldshausen and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The young people, aged 15 to 17, were able to visit the nearby rocket propulsion test facilities and took part in hands-on workshops at DLR’s School Lab, where they were able to “learn by doing” about the basic principles of liquid propulsion, vacuum environment, microgravity, etc, with the help of experts from the centre.
For three days, the students were joined by the participants of CVA’s REVA teachers’ seminar, also held at Hardthausen/Lampoldshausen. A dozen teachers of maths and science were able to launch water rockets and share ideas about how to motivate students in the classroom, using space-related themes to make lessons more exciting and increasing the curiosity of the pupils with regard to space sciences, Earth sciences and engineering.
CVA Summer School
CVA also held a highly successful Summer School in Augsburg, Germany, during August. The month-long course on European Space Transportation brought together 36 students of engineering and young graduates who are working in the space industry. The intensive programme included lectures on many different disciplines related to space transportation, ranging from propulsion and launcher systems engineering to project management and costing, the history of the Ariane programme, communication and media relations.
The teams of young engineers were then divided into six teams and asked to produce a conceptual design for the next generation “Ariane 6” launch vehicle, capable of launching human crews as well as satellites. Final student team presentations took place on 27 August, at the University of Applied Sciences in Augsburg. The winning team was composed of six students: Constantin Huber (Bremen), Nimesh Patel (Bremen), Martí Minoves (Barcelona), Edouard Jeanmougin (Toulouse), Alexandre Mangeot (Bordeaux) and Christian Hoffmann (MT Aerospace, Augsburg). Their proposal was an interesting adaptation of Ariane 5, and an evolution of the European ATV vehicle to carry astronauts, taking into consideration the main subsystems and constraints for a human flight.