Straubing (T-REX 2)
On Sunday March 1st we went to a rocket launch event in Straubing. Early in the morning at 7 o’clock we launched with two cars to our destination, the Modellfluggruppe Quax. On their site, this rocket launch event was going to take place. When we arrived as the first persons there at 10 o’clock we were greeted with a real Bell UH-1 sitting there on their field.
We started with building up our pavilion, which protected us from the strong winds and the sun which would have made it difficult to read the displays. After half an hour some more people arrived and the Modellfluggruppe Quax was very kind to provide an electrical generator for everyone, which was very important for us to power our laptops (we had up to three laptops simultaneously in use, one of them being a gaming laptop).
We then met our teammates from the SpaceTeam of the TU-Wien there who brought their own tracker prototype. This was the first time we saw our teammates from Wien in real life and the first time we saw their tracker prototype. It was very interesting to exchange information on the tracker prototypes.
Over the day there were roughly 8 rocket launches, half of it from different projects of the TU-Wien, even a clone of their flagship the Hound was there.
In fact, the Hound clone was the only rocket we actually tracked. We fell back to our standard detection method and used its good visible orange surfaces in the visible spectrum to track it.
Our main goal was to test the tracking in the NIR (Near-infrared, an area that normal camera sensors can see but your eyes cannot) spectrum which we had recently discovered as a simple possibility for rocket detection. However, we found out that this method cannot be relied on 100%. A smaller problem was that the sun shining on grass was brighter than we expected, and the major problem was that some of the rockets didn’t have a visible flame at all in that spectrum (and in the visible spectrum too). Our search to a reliable detection method continues.
In the evening, back in Würzburg with some slices of pizza in our hands, we made a debriefing to discuss possible improvements in software and operations.