Who we are and what we do:

We are the propulsion team of ASTRA e.V. and involved in the process of designing, building, and testing the engine and all the engine-related equipment.

For our current project, Phoenix, we are overhaughling the prior engine design of KARMA. This engine is a hybrid that uses nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as the liquid oxidizer and parrafin wax (just like candle wax) mixed with hot glue sticks as the solid fuel. The engine can basically be divided into 3 subsystems. The first subsystem is responsible for the injection of the nitrous oxide into the combustion chamber, the second subsystem. The combustion chamber is mostly made up by the fuel grain (the parrafin wax mix) and here the fuel and the oxidizer react in a violent combustion reaction. The products of this reaction are mostly hot gases that escape through the final subsystem, the nozzle. This part sits at the very bottom of rockets and this is where the flame (the hot gases) are expelled out of. The nozzle speeds up the gases to speeds higher than the speed of sound in order to increase the thrust of the rocket engine.

At the moment the team is focused on making a new design of all parts of the engine. This actually includes many more parts than the three subsystems that are described above! For the designing of these parts we use Fusion360. In the next step, these parts are ordered from companies or manufactured by ourselves. This is done with different machines like a drill press, lathe or a milling machine. After the parts arrive, they are assembled and tested.

In this case testing means to fix just the rocket engine on a test stand and fire the engine multiple times. This is necessary to understand how the engine behaves. This test is currently planned to be in April of 2024.

A few ASTRAnauts introduce themselves

I am Shancia and I am a member of the propulsion team. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in Space Engineering offered by the University of Bremen. I like to spend my leisure time reading. Witches, fae folk, and any books dusted with a bit of magic intrigue me. The idea of the KARMAN project and the aspirations of ASTRA captivated me. I joined ASTRA to work with people from diverse backgrounds and implement theoretical knowledge for practical use. Being a member of the propulsion team has been an adrenaline rush taking me through unexpected roads and ideas. At the moment, we are looking forward to our hot-fire test.

my name is Malte and I contribute to the propulsion team of ASTRA. As my main job I work at OHB as a systems engineer.
While I mainly play video games in my free time, I also drive around with my longboard when the weather allows. Working with ASTRA offers me a great opportunity to get more hands on experience about the engineering that goes into designing and building a rocket, as well as being able to accompany a large amateur rocket all the way from conception to flight. And since I always had a big interest in rocket engines specifically, the propulsion team was the perfect fit for me.

If you find this project as intriguing as we do, join our team by clicking on the button below.