The Australian Space Research Institute Ltd. (ASRI) is a non-profit organisation formed out of the merger of the Australian Space Engineering Research Association Ltd., and the Ausroc Projects Group. ASRI was formally created to consolidate the various non-profit space engineering research groups, within the country, into a focused, integrated national education program.
ASRI is currently undertaking research, development and educational programs in launch vehicle and satellite technology areas. The Institute has been formed to fill a void in these research, development and educational disciplines within Australia. ASRI is coordinating numerous space engineering projects at various universities to allow students and ASRI members to gain practical space engineering experience. This paper describes the current structure and activities of ASRI.
It is hoped that this "hands-on" approach to launch vehicle and satellite technology education, as provided by ASRI, will enhance the national technology base and provide a small stream of enthusiastic engineers and scientists capable of participating in future national or international programs.
M. A. Blair W. R. Williams B.E.(Mech.), M.I.E.Aust. B.E.(Mech.), M.I.E.Aust.> ASRI Director ASRI Director Ausroc Program Coordinator Scramjet Program Coordinator
INTRODUCTION The Australian Space Research Institute Ltd. (ASRI) is a non-profit organisation formed out of the merger of the Australian Space Engineering Research Association Ltd., and the Ausroc Projects Group. This merger was formalised on the 17th May 1993. The CSIRO and the Australian Tax Office have approved ASRI as an 'Approved Research Institute'. ASRI was formally created to consolidate the various non-profit space engineering research groups, within the country, into a focused, integrated national education program. ASRI is currently undertaking research, development and educational programs in launch vehicle and satellite technology areas. The Institute has been formed to fill a void in these research, development and educational disciplines within Australia. ASRI is coordinating numerous space engineering projects at universities around the country to allow students and ASRI members to gain practical space engineering experience. This paper describes the current structure and activities of ASRI. It is hoped that this "hands-on" approach to launch vehicle and satellite technology education, as is provided by ASRI, will enhance the national technology base and provide a small stream of enthusiastic engineers and scientists capable of participating in future national or international programs. OBJECTIVES The Australian Space Research Institute was formed to provide support Australian space activities through the conduct of research, development and educational programs. The objectives with which ASRI has been founded are: * Develop and advance space science and technology. * Conduct, encourage and promote research in the field of space science and technology. * Educate and extend knowledge in the field of space science and technology and to make available education opportunities in the field of space science and technology to supplement and further those opportunities made available by established educational institutions. * Conduct, co-ordinate and support projects for the advancement of the above objects. ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE The new ASRI organisational structure consists of a board of 7 directors and a research committee of 5 members. These are: Board of Directors. Chairman Mark Blair - DSTO Vice Chairman Craig Lindley - CSIRO, Information Technology Secretary Gary Luckman - Research Chemist, Bush Pty. Ltd. Treasurer Tzu-Pei Chen - Director Ardebil Pty. Ltd. Research Dir. Ian Bryce - Hawker de Havilland John Coleman - President, Space Association of Australia Warren Williams - DSTO Research Committee. Ian Bryce (Hawker de Havilland). Dr Ian Tuohy (BAeA Space Technical Manager). Phil Pearson (ex-DSTO-GWD). Dr. Miles Moody (QUT-Head Electrical Eng.). Dr. Brian Embleton (Director COSSA.) ASRI PROJECTS The current ASRI projects cover a broad range of space technology fields at various levels of complexity. These projects cater for the involvement of students from the high school level through to university post graduate level. The major program areas are determined by the directors acting on the advice and suggestions from the ASRI members. The program coordinators determine the subproject breakdown of their particular program and forward the subprojects to the ASRI membership as well as to national universities as student projects. University staff and industry personnel assist the ASRI members in the supervision of the student project work. A description of the ASRI projects is provided below. CARATEL - Experimental Liquid Fuelled Vehicle Caratel is a 2.6m liquid fuelled rocket based on the Ausroc I propulsion system with a newly developed payload and improved aerodynamic surfaces. The emphasis has been on thorough analysis and testing with development of some innovative instrumentation concepts. To date, the majority of the vehicle systems are complete including the propulsion system, fins, recovery system, payload module and avionics. Further systems integration, test and evaluation is to be carried out in the near future. Regular meetings are held every 2 weeks by the Caratel working group at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). The Caratel flight trial is planned for later this year, or early 1995, pending the successful completion of final systems tests. It is hoped to launch Caratel from one of the local military ranges located in the Sydney district. AUSROC II-2 - Liquid fuelled Demonstration Vehicle. Ausroc II-2 is the modified and updated vehicle based on the original Ausroc II. concept. The original Ausroc II suffered a launch failure in 1992 due to faulty LOX valve actuator operation. The design flaws of the original vehicle identified after post flight inspection, have resulted in the re-design of some systems, and these have been incorporated into Ausroc II-2. The development of Ausroc II-2 hardware has been progressing at a steady pace, and it is hoped that final assembly of the vehicle structure will occur in August. Essentially all internal systems such as valves, actuators, check valves, plumbing, hatches, mounting adaptors, pressurisation system, recovery system and fin unit are complete, and are awaiting installation into the vehicle during the final assembly. The electronics module is complete, with the exception of the memory board, and is in the process of being extensively tested. Custom test equipment has been fabricated for use in this program. At the completion of the final assembly of the vehicle in Melbourne, it will be transported to ASRI's test facility in Adelaide for a comprehensive series of tests. These tests will include vibration mode analysis, pressurisation trials, cryogenic temperature effects, pyrotechnic component evaluations and sequencing trials. HQ-Australian Defence Force has approved ASRI's request to use the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia for the Ausroc II-2 launch which is planned to take place late 1994 or early 1995. This approval has cleared the way for ASRI to define specific details of the trial with RAAF-Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU). AUSROC III - Developmental Sounding Rocket. Ausroc III is the third of the Ausroc series of liquid fuelled launch vehicles. Ausroc III is aimed at promoting space based education through the development of launch vehicle technologies. Ausroc III is a sounding rocket capable of lifting 100kg of useful scientific payload to an altitude of 500km with a recovery capability. The vehicle is also being developed as a test bed for a number of technologies that have direct application in satellite launchers. These technologies include: regenerative liquid propulsion, composite structures, inertial navigation, 3 axis vehicle guidance and control, telemetry and flight termination systems, ground support, tracking and range safety. ASRI promotes and supports the Ausroc III program through cooperation with Australian Universities and a team of dedicated ASRI members. Test rigs for the hydraulic gimbal system and the cold gas roll control system have been designed, and are in the process of being manufactured and tested at Adelaide University. The launch pad, tower and supporting ground infrastructure component designs are making significant progress at the University of Southern Qld. and should be manufactured by the end of the year in preparation for tests in early 1995. Students from Sydney University are significantly advanced on the Ausroc III fairing design. Given that the required manufacturing support is available, prototype fairings may be ready for test by the end of 1994. Several students from the University of South Australia are presently developing hardware for the telemetry system. Prototype circuit boards will be manufactured in the near future with the overall objective of this particular task is to produce an end-to-end telemetry system. Students from the Queensland University of Technology are tasked with Ausroc III range safety, impact prediction, tracking and flight termination. This system is to be implemented at the Woomera Range in support of the Ausroc III flight safety requirements. Range trials of these systems should commence in 1995. In addition to these student projects, numerous members are involved in providing technical assistance and advice, as well as undertaking various other projects. These other projects include the glide recovery parachute system and the Ausroc III rocket motor development. The Ausroc III program has now been in existence for 3 years and in that time approximately 70 students from 10 Universities around the country have undertaken engineering design exercises from the broad range of launch vehicle disciplines making up the Ausroc III system. The program represents a learning experience for all those involved since no launch vehicle of this type has ever been developed in Australia. AUSROC IV - Satellite Launch Vehicle. The ultimate goal of the Ausroc Program is to develop a capability to place a micro-satellite (20-40kg) into a polar orbit. The Ausroc IV project is still very much in its infancy and its future depends very much on the success of Ausroc III. In its current form, Ausroc IV will consist of 3 stages. The first stage consists of 4 Ausroc III modules clustered around a fifth central core module which forms the second stage. A solid fuelled rocket motor is planned for the third stage. Preliminary trajectory simulations have confirmed that the proposed configuration will attain a 300km polar orbit with an Australis class microsatellite weighing approximately 20kg. A solid fuelled rocket development program has recently been commenced by students at Adelaide University to develop a composite solid propellant to fill a Waxwing I upper stage rocket motor donated to Ausroc by Royal Ordnance in the UK. Waxwing I motors were used as 3rd stage motors in the British Black Arrow satellite launch vehicle and are ideally sized for the Ausroc IV application. An educational R & D program of this type and magnitude has not yet been undertaken anywhere in the world. If completed, this program will represent a significant milestone for space technology and education within Australia. AUSTRALIS-1 - Micro-satellite. The Australis-1 project is currently in the systems definition and preliminary design phase, with considerable progress being made in 1993. Milestones completed so far include: - completion of the Concept Definition Document - completion of the top level design of the attitude control system - completion of the top level design of the telemetry and power systems - establishment of a ground control station at QUT - completion of the top level design of the IRIS imaging system - completion of the Australis-1 Top Level Design document - completion of the autonomous control architecture - commencement of functional prototyping The projects being undertaken in 1994 include the solar panels, telemetry systems and system reliability analysis. A number of members are continuing with developmental work on the IRIS imaging system, system architecture, structural design layout and coordination activities throughout the year. It is currently planned to have Australis-1 launched from an Ariane Satellite Auxiliary Platform (ASAP) on Ariane 4, or as a Get-Away-Special (GAS) deployable payload on the Space Shuttle. The interfacing issues related to the future launch will be defined during 1994. HTV Project. - Scramjet Development Program ASRI is currently involved in a joint program with the University of Queensland leading to the development of free flight scramjet systems and an engineering mock-up in 1994. Given the inherent complexities of scramjet technology, it has become apparent that there is a requirement for some precursor free-flight hypersonic research trials to be undertaken to validate and compliment the shock tunnel data being obtained at the University of Queensland, and elsewhere around the world. This data will greatly assist in the future development of prototype scramjet engines. For some time now, ASRI has been searching for a suitable booster rocket to undertake a hypersonic research trial. Negotiations are currently underway with both NASA and the Australian Space Office (ASO) regarding the possible launch of a Hypersonic Test Vehicle (HTV) at the end of the planned NASA sounding rocket campaign to be held at Woomera in September 1995. Hopefully, a positive decision will be reached by both the ASO and NASA in the near future regarding this proposal. This opportunity offers considerable cost savings to ASRI and UQ over conducting such a trial independently. Given that NASA personnel would conduct the firing, it also alleviates some of the problems associated with obtaining the US State Department approvals associated with the procurement of the booster rockets. The HTV is an experimental payload module intended to be flown atop a NASA provided launch vehicle. The launch vehicle in question is a 2 stage Taurus /Nike rocket motor combination. Both these motors are surplus ex-military rockets. The intended flight profile will involve launching the vehicle at a launch angle of 70 degrees to the horizontal. The first stage Taurus burns for 3.5 seconds and accelerates the vehicle to approximately Mach 2.6 before separation. The second stage Nike and HTV payload then coast to an apogee of approximately 12 km before ignition of the Nike motor. The Nike burns for 3.5 seconds and accelerates the vehicle to approximately Mach 5. The HTV payload will remain attached to the burnt-out Nike motor case which provides aerodynamic stability. Immediately after the Nike motor burn-out, the HTV fuel valve is opened allowing a fuel flow to the hypersonic combustors to initiate supersonic combustion. The HTV will operate for a period of approximately 5 seconds and log combustion pressure and temperature profiles and other system parameters. A telemetry system will transmit this data in real time to ground receivers for reduction, analysis and evaluation of system performance. At the completion of the burn period, the HTV will be separated from the Nike booster. The recovery mode will rely on the HTV aerodynamic instability to create a low speed ground impact. This will allow for a post flight inspection of the HTV. The HTV payload consists of 6 instrumented hypersonic combustion modules arranged around a central core containing the fuel supply system. The hypersonic combustion modules contain an air compression intake, a cylindrical combustion chamber and an expansion nozzle. The fuelling system consists of a 28 L. fuel tank pressurised by gaseous nitrogen. The ethylene fuel is fed under pressure to heat exchanger modules surrounding each of the 6 combustion chambers. Due to system ignition constraints, silane gas will be dissolved into the fuel to act as an ignition aid. The core structure of the HTV consists of a conical fore-body, a cylindrical center-body and a cylindrical aft- body which attaches the HTV to the Nike booster rocket. The low temperature regions of the HTV structure are to be manufactured from high strength aluminium alloys. In regions of moderate temperature, stainless or mild steel will be used. The high temperature regions of the structure will be manufactured from molybdenum or protected by ablative materials. The avionics equipment will be located in an instrumentation bay in the forebody and will consist of a flight management system and a telemetry system. The flight management system controls the flight sequence and data logging to the black box flight recorders. The telemetry system receives, conditions and encodes the sensor and system data and transmits this data to ground receivers. The ASRI/UQ program was originally planned to be based over a period of approximately 3 years. This opportunity, however, will require the program to be placed on a fast track to meet the 1995 launch deadline. We believe that this proposed program will satisfy 3 major objectives as follows: * To increase education, skills and experience of Australian Researchers. * To advance the technical knowledge base related to hypersonic flight and scramjet combustion. * To raise the profile of space engineering activity within Australia. This proposal represents a rare opportunity for ASRI / UQ to undertake a hypersonic research trial at minimal cost. If the proposal is accepted, we will be looking forward to an exciting and intensive 16 months of activity to advance hypersonic research activity within Australia. 83 mm and 127 mm Rocket Motor Educational Program This is a new program which has stemmed from the availability of surplus military solid rocket motors in the 83 mm and 127 mm diameter class. Negotiations are currently underway with the RAAF to arrange transfer of these motors for ASRI educational programs. If all goes well, ASRI will be able to store these motors at the Woomera magazine for use at the Range in the near future. It is envisioned that ASRI will design and manufacture the payload modules for the 2 rocket motor types, and offer flight slots to members, research institutions, universities and high schools around the country. These rockets have the capability to place payloads of up to 10kg to altitudes between 5-20 km. Several payloads are presently being developed for demonstration trials coinciding with the Ausroc II-2 launch campaign in late 1994 or early 1995. Preliminary discussions are presently underway to allow Avionics engineering students at QUT opportunities to fly electronic payloads as early as 1995. RESEARCH DISCIPLINES In order to carry out these ASRI programs a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines are being pursued by the Institute. These include the following: * Liquid, Solid and Hybrid rocket propulsion systems. * Guidance and Control Systems. * Composite and Lightweight Structures. * Telemetry Systems. * Launch site development and operations. * Aerodynamic testing and analysis. * Flight Safety Systems. * Spacecraft Structures. * Space qualified electronics. * Supersonic airbreathing propulsion technology. * Systems Engineering Methodologies. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FACILITIES Since its inception, ASRI has been searching the nation for facilities and services to support the space engineering developmental work it undertakes. The ASRI directors have declared 1994 as 'Infrastructure Year'. This has resulted in the formation of ASRI mechanical workshops in both Melbourne and Adelaide. The Melbourne workshop is located in Noble Park and consists of machining equipment provided to ASRI on long term loan from COSSA. This facility has approximately 40 sq.m of floor space. The Adelaide facility is located in Salisbury and the building consists of 11 work bays and 650 sq.m of floor space. The building, which was previously used as a rocket motor integration building has been leased to ASRI from the Department of Defence. Machining equipment, which has been provided to ASRI on long term loan from the DSTO Scientific and Engineering Services, has been moved into the building for manufacturing support. This facility can be used for the integration and systems testing of all the ASRI launch vehicles and payloads. Further facilities are made available by the universities involved in the ASRI programs to support the student project work being undertaken. To date, the following Universities have been involved with the ASRI program activities: Adelaide University Monash University Queensland University of Technology Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Sydney University University of NSW University of Queensland University of SA University of Southern Queensland University of Technology, Sydney Thus, ASRI now has the technical and facilities base to fully support its project work. These facilities are enabling ASRI to further its 'hands-on' approach to space technology education. PROGRAM SUPPORT SERVICES Technical reports which are produced during the course of student and member project work are kept in the ASRI library system. To date approximately 74 technical reports have been produced and 14 conference papers have been presented. Copies of ASRI technical reports and papers can be ordered through the Institute. A newsletter is produced every 2 months and distributed to members Australia wide. An annual ASRI Conference is held some time in the period Dec.-Feb. of each year and provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of project work that has been undertaken for all project areas in the preceding year. PROGRAM RESOURCES The resources for the various ASRI programs are derived from a variety of sources. Firstly, from the ASRI membership fees, which are used for the administration costs of the Institute (ie. newsletters, journals, printing, postage, conference expenses and the annual audit costs) as well as for the purchase of required project hardware. Secondly, the majority of the financial and material resources are derived from government grants and sponsorship arrangements with commercial organisations. Government agencies which have provided support to ASRI include: Australian Space Office (ASO) CSIRO Office of Space Science and Applications (COSSA) Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Explosives Ordnance Division (EOD) Guided Weapons Division (GWD) Scientific Engineering Services (SES) Department of Defence Explosives Factory Maribyrnong (EFM) Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) South Australian Economic Development Authority (EDA) The current commercial organisations supporting the ASRI programs include: Ardebil Pty. Ltd. Australasian Rocket Engineers (ARE) Australian Defence Industries (ADI) Australian Space Insurance Group (ASIG) Commonwealth Industrial Gases (CIG) Davidson Pty Ltd Hawker De Havilland (HdH) H. I. Fraser Pty. Ltd. Paradynamics Pendry Pty. Ltd. Russell Engineering Pty. Ltd. The last, but by no means the least, source of program support comes from the multitude of private individuals who have given their own time and personal resources to assist in the fulfilment of the Institute's activities. This voluntary human resource pool consists not only of professional engineers, scientists, tradesmen and technicians but also of lawyers, graphic designers, insurers, reporters and others from around the country who believe in the creation of a national space program and are prepared to undertake the groundwork required to achieve it. It is this very resource and its' enthusiasm that led to the creation of the Australian Space Research Institute and which will sustain it in the future. CONCLUSION Much of what we strive to achieve through ASRI was undertaken in one form or another by the engineers and scientists who comprised the halcyon days of the Anglo-Australian Joint Project and the Woomera Rocket Range. Many of these people still reside in Australia and can provide substantial 'real life' expertise and input into our programs. Much has been learned already from a number of such individuals who also share our vision of a vigorous national space program. The 'cascade' of technical know-how from the aging members of Australia's space history to the junior ranks has essentially dried up through several decades of inactivity. Such loss has seriously affected our nation's technological data base and makes our task all the more difficult. Much effort has been expended to create a formal institution which can assist in the promotion and development of space science, technology and education within Australia. International links have been established with a variety of organisations, pursuing similar objectives to ourselves, in recognition of the growing need to interact on a global scale in future space programs. Our nation currently has a deficiency in the R&D and educational aspects of space science and technology and it is because of this that we believe ASRI has a distinct role to play in the future of Australian space technology education. It is the belief of the ASRI directors that the "hands-on" approach to launch vehicle and satellite technology education, as is currently being provided, will enhance the national technology base and provide a small stream of enthusiastic engineers and scientists capable of participating in future national or international programs. The ASRI program is, indeed, ambitious and presents us with a demanding set of challenges. But without the challenge, vision and commitment, essential for a space program, we will not advance, nor will we be able to interact with our international neighbours in the future. Figures - Caratel - Ausroc II-2 - Ausroc III - Ausroc Models - Australis - HTV - 83 mm & 127 mm Rockets - Building 5
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Steven S. Pietrobon, Australian Space Centre for Signal Processing Signal Processing Research Institute, University of South Australia The Levels, SA 5095, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org