The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) supports the development of European launchers within the framework of the European research framework programme HORIZON 2020. soft2tec GmbH from Rüsselsheim is a permanent partner.
The area of responsibility within DLR's research work is to reduce the costs of transporting the satellite into space - and to do so in the most environmentally friendly way possible. A major goal is to return the rocket stages after launch by intercepting them in the air so that they can be reused. If this is possible, size and weight could also be reduced in advance. Rocket stages contain fuel and are responsible for rocket propulsion for a certain period of time. After use, they are separated to reduce the total mass in space.
soft2tec with its 3D motion tracking systems under the nexonar brand has now been called in as a permanent partner (www.nexonar.com). The company has a great amount of experience in the field of position monitoring of movements in three-dimensional space. Together with other international partners, they have now been developing and testing technical possibilities for 3 years as part of the EU project FalCon (Formation flight for in-Air Launcher 1st stage Capturing demonstration) since March 2019. Various ideas for autonomous capture and towing of the rocket stages are to be implemented and demonstrated with smaller superstructures.
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