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ArianeGroup supports students’ aerospace initiatives: Willem van Lynden tells us about a university association that is aiming high. Graduate student Willem van Lynden is Team Manager for the Stratos IV rocket project, developed by the DARE student association.
Tell us a bit about DARE
DARE stands for Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering. It’s a student society at the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) for research and development of rockets and related technologies. It has 170 members from Delft and other universities, and includes both Dutch nationals and exchange students. We are all enthusiasts for designing, building, testing, and launching rockets.
What was the origin of this rocketry society?
DARE was formed in 2001 by students of the Aerospace Engineering Faculty club. Since then we have gained almost 20 years of experience, starting with small rockets and working our way up to the Stratos I rocket, which set the European altitude record for amateur rocketry in 2009, and then all the way up to Stratos IV, which is aiming to get into space!
The project must have been a bit shaken by current events. Do you know what the next steps for launching Stratos IV will be?
Sadly, yes it has. Safety is always our first priority. To ensure the safety of all our team members, we will be working from home for the immediate future. This means that the launch originally scheduled for this summer will be postponed to next year. The current first steps are evaluating the new best and safest date for this launch and making sure we can still do as much as possible from home.
Are all the students involved in the project engineers or do you work on other aspects of space launches as well?
All activities that are necessary for this project are being done by the students, whether that is designing a rocket engine, organising test logistics, or making sure we communicate everything we are doing to the world! For example, we have students responsible for public relations, acquisition and, of course, a management group.
How did your partnership with ArianeGroup begin?
We contacted ArianeGroup because we felt that the leading launcher manufacturer in Europe would be the perfect fit with our Stratos III rocket. And that has proved to be correct ever since!
How did you personally get involved with the project?
I thought that it would be amazing to participate in every part of making a rocket. I joined DARE’s Solid Rocket Propulsion team at the end of my first year. After my first degree I wanted to see how much I could accomplish if I worked on the Stratos project full-time! Today, as team manager, it’s my goal to make sure that the team reach our goal of launching Stratos IV into space!
What advice would you give to young readers who want to get involved with aerospace?
Keep going! There are so many different ways to get involved in aerospace and I think the best way to do so is to choose something that you think you really want to do and then do your best! If at first something doesn’t work out, it’s not a problem! I had to apply twice before I got into DARE!
Looking forward to the launch of Stratos IV, ArianeGroup wishes the DARE team every success!
We can’t wait to see what you do next!