I could start with a space pun, but I would need a little more time to planet. So in the mean time, I’ll fill you in on the last week of activities, but where do I even start!? It probably makes most sense to start on a cold wet Sunday morning in Birmingham airport. Having met at 6 a.m. the team were a little sleepy eyed but raring to go.
Five hours, four coffees and two train rides later we arrived at our hotel in Oberpfaffenhofen. With nerves of our upcoming preliminary design review, or PDR in short, now settled, mostly due to sleep deprivation, we had a lovely first dinner together and headed to bed early for a much needed kip.
Instead of giving you a play by play of the entire week I decided to just highlight our favourite parts. Monday night saw a trip to what we naively thought was a monastery, but upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of beer and authentic German cuisine! This relaxed setting gave us a great opportunity to get to know the other students.
After waking up a little spacey (haha!) on Tuesday morning, we had some really interesting talks in which everyone from our team managed to stay awake, though I can’t speak for any of the other teams. My personal favourite was definitely the rocket dynamics session. Following this, we had our PDR . In this time we had to do a short presentation to a panel of experts summing up the main aspects of our design. Afterwards we had a really constructive discussion about the different parts, after which all members of the team felt they had been given great advice on how to further their respective sections, if not a little overwhelmed by the increased workload!
Wednesday and Thursday morning saw more really interesting talks, one of the best (in my opinion) being the lecture on the flight dynamics of sounding rockets. On top of the talks were also lucky enough to have tours of the flight control centre for Columbus and the robotics lab at DLR Moraba. Here, Enda was lucky enough to find a new dancing partner.
On Thursday night the organisers of the week very kindly put on an authentic Bavarian closing party, this followed a guided tour of IABG, a testing facility an hour outside of Munich. On the tour we saw the vibrations testing lab as well as a semi-assembled satellite. During the party lots of beer flowed and the whole team enjoyed the lovely food; I think its safe to say that this was everyone’s favourite evening.
After the last few talks on Friday morning it was time to say goodbye to all the other teams. We had all made new friends and the whole week was a great success.
As a way to let our hair down (apart from Jonathan, who doesn’t have much to let down) team Pioneers headed to Munich for the weekend. With a plan to paint the town red, we visited many churches (and bars) and wandered round the city soaking in everything it had to offer. We were welcomed back to Birmingham by storm Doris which nearly blew us away, although not as much as the whole experience that was Student Training Week.