Airbus Defence and Space Spacelab Prize honours student scientists
On Tuesday Airbus Defence and Space presented the inaugural Airbus Defence and Spacelab Prize awards for outstanding student thesis papers on microgravity research and enabling technologies for space applications. The Spacelab Prize was created in 2010 to mark the 25th anniversary of the first German Spacelab mission, D-1. This year’s awards were divided into two categories, with two prizes for applied microgravity (mg) research and four prizes for enabling technologies in the field of transport or human spaceflight. The winners receive a prize of 2,000 Euros, while the second prize carries 1,500 Euros.
The Airbus Defence and Spacelab Prize winners together with members of the jury. © Airbus Defence and Space
Germany’s ongoing successes in space research and human spaceflight began 26 years ago with the launch of the first German space mission, Spacelab D-1. These study prizes are awarded by Airbus Defence and Space in support of young engineers and to promote research in the fields of microgravity and enabling space technologies.
“The future of spaceflight is in the hands of the engineers and scientists of tomorrow, and that’s why we consider early, lasting support for tomorrow’s specialists to be so important,” said Dr. Michael Menking, site manager of Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen, at the awards ceremony that took place in the hanseatic city on Tuesday. “We want to give young people encouragement during their studies and nurture their future career prospects in a high-tech sector.”
Michael Menking, Vice President Orbital Systems and Head of Site Bremen together with prize winner Sascha Kopp, who in his bachelor's thesis analysed the question of why immune cells can no longer be activated under weightless conditions. © Airbus Defence and Space
The Spacelab Prize is awarded by Airbus Defence and Space in collaboration with leading German universities in Aachen, Berlin, Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart that offer study programmes with an emphasis on spaceflight. Professor Dr. Ernst Messerschmid of the Institute of Space Systems in Stuttgart, who was one of the astronauts on the Spacelab D-1 mission, values the competition highly: “This initiative promotes exchanges between science and industry by bringing together theory and practice, which leads to closer and more effective cooperation between the two sides. The prize encourages universities to make sure the courses they offer their students have a high degree of practical content that is applicable to industry, as well as promoting strong commitment from students.”
Professor Dr. Ernst Messerschmid, former astronaut on the Spacelab D1 mission together with Christine Hill of the University of Stuttgart, who in her masters' thesis investigated the level of radiation exposure inside the Columbus module. © Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space awarded a total of six Spacelab Prizes in two categories, with three first-place awards and three second-place awards.
The prize winners:
Two prizes in the field of microgravity (mg) research:
The first prize in the field of microgravity (mg) research went to Sascha Kopp of the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. His bachelor’s thesis topic: “Impact of gravity on the actin filament system of the macrophage cell line RWA 264.7.”
Christine Hill of the University of Stuttgart was awarded the second prize in the mg research category. Her masters’ thesis topic: "Dose assessment with passive detectors inside the Columbus Laboratory onboard the International Space Station ISS."
Another four prizes were awarded in the category for enabling technologies in the field of space transport.
The first prize in this category went to Vitali Braun of the Technische Universität Braunschweig. His masters’ thesis topic: "Konzeptentwurf für einen androgynen Docking-Adapter."
A further first prize was awarded to Andreas Fink of the University of Stuttgart. In his masters’ thesis he worked up a concept for a standard androgynous adapter for linking modular space transport systems together.
Second prize in the enabling technologies category went to Daniel Birgel of the Universität der Bundeswehr München. His masters’ thesis topic: "CFD Simulation of the SSME Main Combustion Chamber operated by H2-O2 and CH4-O2 with CFX and FLUENT including Thermal Gas Radiation."
Adam Boxberger was also awarded second prize for developing a thermal model for the AF-MPD ZT1 electric engine at the Institute of Space Systems in collaboration with the Institute of Aerospace Thermodynamics at the University of Stuttgart.