Space

T-Minus Engineering develops, manfuactures and launches rocket systems and other space/aerial vehicles. The T-Minus DART and T-Minus CanSat launcher are offered off-the-shelf, but as every project comes with a different set of requirements, we can design rocket-related products that exactly meet your needs, from low-altitude launchers to full sounding rockets for space research. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Sabine CS Rocket Tower with sun glare.jp
 

T-Minus DART

The T-Minus DART is a system for fast and low-cost probing of the upper atmosphere. A certain part of the atmosphere is hardly investigated until now. At altitudes between 50 and 120 km, the air density is too low for balloons to float, and too high for satellites to maintain their orbit. Sounding rockets can be used to perform in-situ measurements, but these are usually too expensive for simple and frequent missions.

The T-Minus DART system is designed to fill this void. With this low-cost and rapidly deployable rocket system, small payloads can be launched to altitudes above 120 km, from which they can descend through the atmosphere and perform in-situ measurements. The vehicle consists of a lightweight and powerful booster motor and a dart-shaped payload compartment. The booster diameter is 118 mm, compatible with existing Viper IIIA launch equipment. The diameter of the dart is only 35 mm, in order to minimize drag losses.


Download T-Minus DART information leaflet

Scientific payload

Three types of payload are currently envisioned:

  • Passive payload (reflective chaff or inflated sphere)

  • Smart-dart with PTU sensors and inertial or GPS-based flight path determination

  • Customized payload: a dart with customer-designed sensors, equipped with service system and telemetry link

 

The maximum payload volume is 30 x 250 mm (DxL) The use of a recovery / deceleration system is optional for increased measurement time.

Range test vehicle

Other than the use as scientific probing vehicle, the DART serves as an excellent range test vehicle as well. Its small size, low cost and ease of operation make it an ideal platform to quickly map the weather conditions in the higher layers of the atmosphere. Next to that, the correct functioning of range equipment such as telemetry and radar stations can easily be verified in realistic mission conditions.

Upon ignition, the booster provides thrust for 6.5 seconds. After burnout, the aerodynamic forces cause vehicle separation and the dart coasts until it reaches apogee altitude, approximately 150 seconds into the flight. Here, the recovery system is activated, so that the measurement time is maximized. The booster follows a ballistic trajectory until it impacts on the ground.

In 2017, the DART project was awarded an Horizon 2020 SME-Instrument grant. Within the SME phase 1, a feasibility study will be performed that addresses the final steps required for commercialization: a detailed survey of user demands, formation of a European consortium for executing two demo launch campaigns and addressing the regulations regarding transport and operations. It leads to an elaborated business plan and market implementation roadmap.

Booster characteristics

Dart characteristics

Motor dimensions

  • Diameter 0.118 [m] (Viper IIA compatible)

  • Length 2.3 [m]

Motor performance

  • Burn time 5 [s]

  • Average thrust 8 [kN]

Motor weights

  • Propellant mass 22 [kg]

  • Loaded mass 29 [kg]

Other characteristics

  • Propellant type        AP composite

  • Casing material      Carbon fiber reinforced plastic

  • Nozzle material      Aluminum/graphit

 

Dimensions

  • Diameter35 mm

  • Length1.2 m
     

Weights

  • Total mass3.5 kg

  • Payload mass0.5 kg

 

T-Minus DART

The T-Minus DART is a system for fast and low-cost probing of the upper atmosphere. A certain part of the atmosphere is hardly investigated until now. At altitudes between 50 and 120 km, the air density is too low for balloons to float, and too high for satellites to maintain their orbit. Sounding rockets can be used to perform in-situ measurements, but these are usually too expensive for simple and frequent missions.

The T-Minus DART system is designed to fill this void. With this low-cost and rapidly deployable rocket system, small payloads can be launched to altitudes above 120 km, from which they can descend through the atmosphere and perform in-situ measurements. The vehicle consists of a lightweight and powerful booster motor and a dart-shaped payload compartment. The booster diameter is 118 mm, compatible with existing Viper IIIA launch equipment. The diameter of the dart is only 35 mm, in order to minimize drag losses.


Download T-Minus DART information leaflet

Scientific payload

Three types of payload are currently envisioned:

  • Passive payload (reflective chaff or inflated sphere)

  • Smart-dart with PTU sensors and inertial or GPS-based flight path determination

  • Customized payload: a dart with customer-designed sensors, equipped with service system and telemetry link

 

The maximum payload volume is 30 x 250 mm (DxL) The use of a recovery / deceleration system is optional for increased measurement time.

Range test vehicle

Other than the use as scientific probing vehicle, the DART serves as an excellent range test vehicle as well. Its small size, low cost and ease of operation make it an ideal platform to quickly map the weather conditions in the higher layers of the atmosphere. Next to that, the correct functioning of range equipment such as telemetry and radar stations can easily be verified in realistic mission conditions.

Upon ignition, the booster provides thrust for 6.5 seconds. After burnout, the aerodynamic forces cause vehicle separation and the dart coasts until it reaches apogee altitude, approximately 150 seconds into the flight. Here, the recovery system is activated, so that the measurement time is maximized. The booster follows a ballistic trajectory until it impacts on the ground.

In 2017, the DART project was awarded an Horizon 2020 SME-Instrument grant. Within the SME phase 1, a feasibility study will be performed that addresses the final steps required for commercialization: a detailed survey of user demands, formation of a European consortium for executing two demo launch campaigns and addressing the regulations regarding transport and operations. It leads to an elaborated business plan and market implementation roadmap.

Booster characteristics

Dart characteristics

Motor dimensions

  • Diameter 

  • Length 

Motor performance

  • Burn time 

  • Average thrust 

Motor weights

  • Propellant mass

  • Loaded mass 

Other characteristics

  • Propellant type

  • Casing material

  • Nozzle material

 

0.118 [m] (Viper IIA compatible)

2.3 [m]

5 [s]

8 [kN]

 

22 [kg]

29 [kg]

AP composite

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic

Aluminum/graphite

 

Dimensions

  • Diameter

  • Length
     

Weights

  • Total mass

  • Payload mass

 

35 mm

1.2 m
 

 

3.5 kg

0.5 kg

T-Minus Can Sat Launcher

he T-Minus CanSat launcher is a 3.17-meter tall rocket, capable of launching and deploying 6 CanSats simultaneously at an altitude in excess of one kilometer. The rocket itself has a diameter of 0.2 meters. The rocket has an "ogive-shaped" nosecone and a conical tail cone for good aerodynamic performance after motor burnout. The mass of the rocket, including 6 CanSats, parachute, and rocket motor, is approximately 23 kg. 

The rocket is equipped with a parachute in order to safely recover the vehicle. When landing correctly, the vehicle could be re-used after a refurbishment and check-out. The vehicle is aerodynamically stabilized and has no active stabilisation controls. The rocket motor produces 4300 Ns of impulse, and has a burn time of 4.2 seconds. The propellant formulation is chosen such that the environmental impact is as low as possible.

In order to speed up the actual launching operations, the vehicle is divided into two sections:

  • A fin section, which contains the rocket motor and other pyrotechnical equipment. This section is stored away from the students.

  • The CanSat bay, which houses the six CanSats, is completely non-pyrotechnical. It is the only part with which the students interact.

 

T-Minus CanSat Launcher

The T-Minus CanSat launcher is a 3.17-meter tall rocket, capable of launching and deploying 6 CanSats simultaneously at an altitude in excess of one kilometer. The rocket itself has a diameter of 0.2 meters. The rocket has an "ogive-shaped" nosecone and a conical tail cone for good aerodynamic performance after motor burnout. The mass of the rocket, including 6 CanSats, parachute, and rocket motor, is approximately 23 kg. 

The rocket is equipped with a parachute in order to safely recover the vehicle. When landing correctly, the vehicle could be re-used after a refurbishment and check-out. The vehicle is aerodynamically stabilized and has no active stabilisation controls. The rocket motor produces 4300 Ns of impulse, and has a burn time of 4.2 seconds. The propellant formulation is chosen such that the environmental impact is as low as possible.

In order to speed up the actual launching operations, the vehicle is divided into two sections:

  • A fin section, which contains the rocket motor and other pyrotechnical equipment. This section is stored away from the students.

  • The CanSat bay, which houses the six CanSats, is completely non-pyrotechnical. It is the only part with which the students interact.

 

 

 

 

+31 6 1977 87 36

T-Minus Engineering B.V.

p/a Nouryon

Zutphenseweg 10

7418 AJ Deventer

Contact person: H. Olthof

T-Minus Engineering B.V.
Molengraaffsingel 12-14
2629 JD Delft
The Netherlands