This year looks very fructuous for the Perseus project, especially the SERAs demonstrators. With the successful launch of SERA-2 last year, the student demonstrator SERA-3 should be launched this spring from the ESA base of Esrange, in Sweden.
What is SERA ?
The SERA project consists in experimental supersonic rockets developed through the Perseus project by students. It started with the launch of SERA-1 in 2014. It leads engineer students passionated by space to build student rockets. With the support of the CNES (the French space agency), the PERSEUS project makes them discover teamwork and project management to achieve an innovative program.
SERA, third of the name…
SERA-3 should reach greater goals than SERA-2 or SERA-1, with new goals and higher challenges.
If predicted flight performances are not improved (Mach 1.4, apogee at 5km), SERA-3 architecture is more impressive and complex. It is the biggest rocket ever launched by PERSEUS, with 5m long and almost 80kg at launch.
For the first time, PERSEUS will launch a rocket with three pro98. Those engines must lead to an acceleration of 10 or 12G at ignition. The synchronization of the engines ignition is one of the greatest challenge for the students’ team, helped by professionals.
The fuselage of the rocket has also changed. It is no longer like a uniform cylinder, because the rocket has now a skirt between the first and the second stage.
Such improvements prepare further technologies, like bi-liquid propulsion and two-stage rockets.
SERA rockets also carry many experiments and make many pressure measurements, in specified locations.
The architecture of SERA-3 integrates far more pressure measurers than its predecessor. They will take measurements on the skin and on the skirt in particular, in order to deduce the forces endured by the rocket on those parts of the fuselage.
Two payloads will be launched with the rocket. The Technologic University of Luleå, in Sweden, designs one of them.
A rich environment
The SERA project leads its members to work together in a large European cooperation of students and scientists. It is performed thanks to a dynamic cooperation between student associations, the SCube (Supaero Space Section), the ISS (Ipsa Space System), CLC (Centrale Lyon Cosmos), SSC (Swedish Space Corporation) and OCTAVE (Evry).
The work is supervised by the members of the PERSEUS project partners : IPSA, MI-GSO and GAREF Paris PERSEUS and accompagnied by the Université de Rennes.
Furthermore, the characterisation of the thrust of the engine in its cluster configuration and the synchronization of the engines ignition were tested by ONERA.
The Swedish Space Corporation gives, on his part, a significant support, mainly during the launch campaign.