Exactly one year ago, I first invited the members of what was to become danSTAR to our very first meeting. But origin of danSTAR actually dates back to a few months earlier, to Grøn Dyst 2016. I attended that conference with a colleague from a student-project developing an Hyperloop prototype, organised within a student organisation named WARR, known for building sounding rockets. This topic, the development and construction of small rockets, was also my focus in this group, that I had been a member of for 3 years.
On Grøn Dyst we were also shown the workshops of Skylab and DTU Roadrunners,which we were genuinely impressed about,and were given an overview about some student projects at DTU.Doing some quick research, I noticed, that DTU does give its students the opportunity to work on the utilisation of space not only by studying at the Denmark’s National Space Institute (aka DTU Space), but also through participation in student project for CubeSat’s. What was missing though, was a way of learning anything about the access to space, in other words, rocketry. Which I found somewhat sad, as DTU had already done some cooperation with the world’s most famous amateur rocket-program, Copenhagen Suborbitals. Given that there was an institute full of engineers and the Danish equivalent of NASA on campus, I concluded, that there must be an untapped source of potential aerospace engineers at this university.
Why this is important becomes apparent when you look at the current development of the respective industry: New competitors as SpaceX, Blue Origin, or Rocket Lab, with new technologies to mass-produce and even reuse orbital launchers are disrupting the entire market, making spaceflight more affordable overall, causing the launcher market to grow by over 50% in the last decade. This is paralleled by new and resurging amateur-rocketry groups all over the world, many of which are located at the corresponding institutes of universities.
DTU is providing some awesome infrastructure to its students through Skylab and the premises at Energivej, which is outperforming both the facilities of DARE in Delft and those of WARR in Munich by far. And this could also leverage the first student rocketry organisation in Denmark, a country you can’t study aerospace engineering in. But danSTAR might be able to make the change, by demonstrating the need for education in this subject. Spaceflight doesn’t start in orbit, observing the stars or the surface of our planet; it starts down here. And with no-one to build the rockets and spaceships required to leave our gravity-well, humanity might stay stranded down on Earth.
I hope, that through danSTAR, I could enable more aspiring, young students to unfold their potential in this new space age. It will be in our lifetimes, that we will see the first permanent settlements on other worlds, and you could become an active part in their development.
So, I leave you here with a quote from Carl Sagan about our Solar System:
“Those are the worlds, promising untold opportunities, beckon. […] Silently, they orbit the sun, waiting.”