The new board for 2024

It is simply in the nature of working on a big project like ours as a student in your spare time that your availability can change without you being able to prepare for it. This has been the case for two of our most current board members. As they no longer have the time to focus on ASTRA in between their studies, our CFO Arne Stemme and our secretary Frederic Bolgen are stepping down from their positions as of May. We would like to thank them for their great contribution to our project and wish them all the best in their future endeavours!

We are at least as happy to welcome our new board members! The position of CFO will be taken over by our former Deputy CEO, Kevin Matjeka (3rd from left). Having worked on our sponsor relations for the past year, he is very familiar with our financial situation and we are delighted to have him taking over our finances. The position of Deputy CEO will be taken over by our Propulsion Team Lead Taro Tokita (1st from right). As he is an integral part of our technical work, his expertise will be a great help in making more informed decisions on our board regarding all things technical. Finally, we also have some new blood on our board. Sara Nufal (3rd from right) joined the project management team just last December, working mainly with Kevin Matjeka on sponsorship and helping to organise our recent networking event with Starthaus Bremen. 

The new board starts it’s term at an exciting time: We are just starting to test the subsystems for our new rocket Phoenix for this year’s EuRoC 2024 competition. There is still a lot of work to be done and money to be raised in order to be able to compete.

So without further ado, let’s get to work and reach for the horizon!

Members of our team at EuRoC 2023

Our first attendance at EuRoC

Anyone who reads our website, talks to us, or receives a flyer from us knows directly: We want to reach outer space. We want to build a rocket that flies to 103.6 km, thus crossing the border to space. To achieve this, we are developing and building all the systems for a rocket which can achieve this lofty goal. 

But of course, safety is our top priority. That’s why it was clear to us from the very beginning that we would not simply launch our first rocket straight to 100 km. So what do we do? We decided to build a smaller rocket to test all of our systems and the design overall. This scaled down rocket would “only” reach an altitude of about 3 km, but will give us the opportunity to test technology and gain the experience we need to reach our final target. Accordingly, we are focused on building this smaller rocket KARMA. 

Over the last few months we have been working very hard to get closer and closer to this goal. We have completed many components, conducted countless tests of individual systems, and have also learned lots in the process. Then we applied to EuRoC 2023. EuRoC is a Europe-wide competition for student groups that build rockets. There you can launch different types of rockets to different target heights (3km and 9km). The rocket that most accurately reaches the designated target altitude wins the competition in its category 

After a long application period and a lot of preparation, a part of our team traveled to Portugal on October 7th – together with our 3m long rocket in our luggage. On site, many more tests were carried out and our rocket was fully assembled. Our engineers tried to implement as much feedback as possible in the short time and to improve and eliminate shortcomings in the rocket. Unfortunately, the time during the competition was not enough to change as much of the design as would have been necessary for a launch. Our launch was cancelled and our ASTRAnauts traveled back to Bremen. 

Of course, the trip to Portugal wasn’t for nothing. In the short time before and during EuRoC, we were able to make an incredible amount of progress in the development of our rocket. Through many tests we got a lot of opportunities to optimize details of our rocket. We will now collect the feedback we have received and take the time to incorporate it into our next design with one goal: to launch our rocket KARMA successfully in 2024!  

If you want to watch a short video about us at EuRoC, click here: 


ASTRA e.V. at Space Tech Expo 2022

The biggest exhibition for the space industry of Europe “SpaceTechExpo” took place in Bremen again in November 2022 and ASTRA e.V. got to be one of the exhibitors!
Every year this expo attracts exhibitors from the big players to small startups of the space industry who would like to present their ideas to an interested audience. This year was a special for members of space related student groups, because there was a group of booths at the SpaceTechExpo just for us!

Preparation for this event went smoother, because we already participated in 2021 and learned a lot from this. It was especially exciting displaying all of our new hardware protypes we were able to build in the last year. For the first time we had most of the final rocket parts to show to the public and this not only helped us getting more attention from curious persons, but also we got feedback and suggestions from some professionals or colleagues from other student groups.
Directly next to our booth there was the Dutch student group DARE and the Swiss student group ARIS as well presenting their projects. Talking with everybody at the SpaceTechExpo in person with the hardware directly next to us turned out to be very valuable! This lead to new testing opportunities e.g. for the drop test we got support from KST regarding this and from DARE with their wind tunnel.

In the end these three days were tightly packed for us at ASTRA e.V. with booth duty, B2B meetings and talking to other people at their booth. But it was absolutely worth the efforts!