Sunday, May 30, 2010

DLR Delegation from Cologne Visit Leipzig


by Ralf Heckel
International Space Education Institute
www.spaceeducation.eu

Leipzig, May 20th 2010

Photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623984704043/

Last Thursday our initiative welcomed official space agency representatives of our country for the first time in the 8 years of our existence. This visit was designed for us all to get to know each other and we've toyed with the idea as early as December 2008 in Philadelphia.

Mr Michael Heinze, advisor to the board of directors, DLR, and Dr Wolfgang Mett, scientist and director of business development Neustrelitz, DLR, arrived by plane from Cologne. Their first impression was surprise about the changes of the Leipzig area during the post unification years.

It was the intention of the International Space Education Institute to show the delegates as much as possible of the enthusiasm, excitement and pioneering spirit in the area of space education in Leipzig as bridge between Huntsville and Moscow. The focus was to present an overview of the achievements of networking outside state funded schemes, in particular how this resulted in a winning team at the NASA Moonbuggy Race 6 weeks earlier.

Accordingly, the schedule was packed and there wasn't time to visit all ports of call on the itinerary. But at all times there were constructive conversations on an almost visionary level. At the end of the day both parties gained profound insights into each others' work and formed a strong basis for future cooperation. Throughout the day, they surprised each other with an open and cordial air, subject competency and a personal interest at the core of change for education and vocational orientation.
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The following places and people were visited:

Observatory Kletzen
Mr Henri Schulz, Director



This is private, self-constructed observatory acts as school observatory for SEI students and their high school science projects. It also broadens the horizons (optical and philosophical) of young people. The designer, builder and owner is a member of the institute and has acquired all related knowledge and skills autodidactically and through practice. Both guests appeared impressed and interested in all details. Mr Schulz cherished the spotless subject matter expertise of his guests.
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Chamber of Crafts, Leipzig
Mr Joachim Dirschka, President
Dr Andrea Wolter, Communications Director

The surprise success of the trial project Mooonbuggy as vocational orientation measure has made close allies of the Chamber of Crafts and the International Space Education Institute.
This meeting served as encounter of two industries who, according to received wisdom, don't go together. SEI understands craft, engineering and science as integrated unit and practices that in its training programme.

The discussion mainly focused on necessary ways for a new approach to education and vocational orientation. A common denominator was quickly found.

At the end of the visit, ambassador Yvonne Heckel presented the president of the chamber with the world champion award of the Moonbuggy team and thanked them for their support. The Chamber of Crafts displayed selected parts of the Moonbuggy and its processes and engineering background in a cabinet.
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Discovering Leipzig's unknown space history
Tour guide Ralf Heckel

The guests of DLR were shown the remains of the houses were Prof Dr von Puttkamer, Prof Harry O Ruppe and Rudolf Bromme were born, as well as the early workplaces of Eberhad Rees. Thus they learned a lot about the historical roots and their evolution from crafts and engineering into today's spaceflight industry. It was a surprise for the guests to find that parts of the Korolyev family (Sputnik) have been in Saxony already since 1907 and are still here today.
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International Space Education Institute

The core cell of the institute is the recently acquired estate in Wurzener Straße 4. The five storey Wilhelminian style building boasts 2000 m² of green grounds, workshops, seminar rooms and dormitory, and is a popular meeting point for youngsters who want to get ahead. The simplicity of the building and its interior encourages down-to-earthness and hard work in home-rule. Remaining overnight accommodation is utilised as part of the "Space Hostel" during fair season to cover overheads and project costs during.
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Sports Grammar School and Moonbuggy
Mr Rädler, Head Teacher
Dr Wolfgang Gerber, Geography & Astronomy Teacher
Max Frank (17), Moonbuggy Team Trainer



As sports elite school, the Sports Grammar School Leipzig presents an opportunity of professional sports for students without chances of further education. They support vocational orientation in crafts and techology without neglecting sports and fun. On one hand the Moonbuggy offered the perfect prerequisites and combined them with the necessary thrill of the new for the students. On the other, the sports students focus their construction team on a single mission goal with their enviable training drive. The SEI has learnt to appreciate this symbiosis very much.

Max Frank trained the world champion Moonbuggy-Team 2010 and held a talk to 8th graders. The DLR guests observed that lesson and saw the student's enthusiasm sparked by Max during the break when all admired the Moonbuggy on display. The cabinet also contains parts, processes and awards. They made a big impression on the guests. The meeting with the students, enthusiastic teachers and the competency of Max opened hearts.

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Space Hotel Leipzig ***
Lunch

As the Space Hostel's "big brother", the Space Hotel Leipzig *** recently opened as trial project in Gräfestraße 15. This low budget business model benefitted from the experience of over 70 flight trips in the framework of SEI. The conference hotel is intended as venue for international exchange groups, workshops, seminars, and of course as another business and vocational instruction centre.

The interior walls consist of hundreds of images from our many excursions through the world of spaceflight. In the tradition of the third US president Jefferson, the bible usually found in the drawers of hotel room furniture was swapped with the books "On the trails of chief constructor Korolyev" and "To the Moon with Bolts and Nuts" (about Eberhard Rees). Thus the focus was placed on science, craft and technology. The Business-Centre was rebuilt into a Miniclub. The former breakfast buffet is now an online-restaurant with PCs. All food is delivered in 15 min on the push of a button while you work next door in an integrated NASA-style way.

This is where we have lunch together with the director of the Vocational & Technology Centre, Dr Schmidt. There's the local speciality Leizpiger Allerlei, followed by kettle goulash and red cabbage.
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Vocational & Technology Centre Borsdorf
Dr. Schmidt, Director

This place combines 35 vocational apprenticeships under one roof. The fragrances change from motor oil and welding smoke, from butchery, wood workshop to construction. We don't have time to look at everything. Nevertheless, the integrated concept and the enthusiasm of new possibilities through the Space Euducation Institute convince with their ability to provide visions and goals for the apprentices.
Dr Schmidt guides the delegates through the halls and earns their praise and recognition at every stop, above all through the innovative combination of apprenticeship and further education. During a coffee break at around 4pm, we reflect on the visit and decide it was not the last one.

At 5pm a long but very eye-opening day ends for everyone.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623984704043/

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Some Statements of all Parties.

Hi Mr Heckel,
I hope you had a successful day yesterday. Have only heard positive news from Dr Schmidt.
Many thanks,
Dr. Andrea Wolter, Communications Director, Chamber of Crafts Leipzig

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Dear Mr Heckel

I was impressed by your considerable historical and up-to-date knowledge of spaceflight in the US and equally in Russia. I don't know of anyone who is that excellently connected to the contemporaries of the beginnings of spaceflight and their descendants.
In particular I liked how, as space visioneers, you and your wife managed to win youngsters, industry and even the Chamber of Crafts for your Moonbuggy project, and thus sparked their fascination for spaceflight. We should couple your approach (fascination of space, sports ambition, student-led high tech development, cooperation with industry) with ours at DLR (DLR_Campus) and make sure that, for instance "your" spaceflight fans visit our DLR_School_Lab in Neustrelitz and we do a Moonbuggy event there at the same time. We could also think about a collaborative summercamp.
Before I end I have another compliment for the owner of the private observatory, Mr Henri Schulz (correct name?): He has fulfilled the dream I had as a teenager aged about 18. And he did it without formal degrees in astronomy, electronics, optics or construction. Amazing!

Dr Wolfgang Mett, DLR

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Leipzig is still worth a trip today

It was hardly known a few years ago that this town was home to some of the godfathers of spaceflight. Those roots were found only after the investigations of the SEI, and they reach far into the past into times where the term spaceflight itself was still unknown. But from an aviation, aerospace and astronomy perspective, Leipzig is not only a historically interesting venue. There are also new approaches to get young people into engineering.

The broad range of activities in technology and science are given the cutting edge by aviation and space. This paved the way through integration of private intitiative, and the areas of enterprise and education. It is great to see that representatives of DLR came to get a first hand impression and were able to witness themselves what was created here in the past years.

Now it's important to focus the existing forces to sustainably and continuously strengthen the position of the area as a location for vocational orientation. The successes of the Moonbuggy as product of international collaboration of motivated youths show us a direction where the results of future collaborative support through the areas of aviation and space could make Leipzig into a source of future technology development.

I will continue to support the students of SEI in the future. This is what I see as my commitment as a member of DGLR and, to be honest, it's fun to work with motivated youngsters.

Peter Scheuermann,
Teacher for IT, astronomy and amateur radio

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Awards for 50 Supporters and a Cheque for the Winners

written by Ralf Heckel
International Space Education Institute
translated by: Regina Peldszus BA MA
Kingston University London
www.spacepass.eu

Leipzig, May 8th, 2010

On Saturday night, May 8th, we celebrated a world champion. More than 60 invited guests, among them sponsors, supporters, family and instructors, joined the NASA Moonbuggy Team of the International Space Education Institute for the annual award ceremony. (press releases: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157620442432603/)


The Chamber of Trade shone with a lush buffet, put together by the food technology apprentices of the Vocational Technology Centre of the chamber. The apprentices had also produced the 50 awards to be presented that night.
http://spaceeducation-de.blogspot.com/2010/05/herstellung-der-weltmeister-awards.html

A big surprise was the cheque of €2,000 presented to the International Space Education Institute by the owner of Frank-Fahrzeugbau Ltd. The gift was part of the prize money the company received recently as winners of the PUULitzer Prize. Sponsored by PUUL Ltd., the Chamber of Trade Leipzig, IHK Leipzig, Sparkasse Leizpig and ARGE Leipzig, the award honours "Exemplary Organisational Culture". A keg of beer was thrown in, too.
http://www.hwk-leipzig.de/3,0,2096.html

Other companies joined Frank-Fahrzeugbau and assured their continuing support based on the achievements of the Moonbuggy Team. Thus, HinzTec presented us with an additional data module for modulating telemetry with the hint for additional Moonbuggies. Mr Hinz also pledged to support the furnishing of the Moonbuggy-trailer with a protective SMS security system.



Mr Ronny Hessel of the turnery Günter Jakob counted pennies of serial production costs of the Moonbuggy differential gear and said: "Since the students designed this themselves, since their drawings were accurate and the development was free, I can now batch-produce these high precision parts for only €250 a piece". He offered free production for the next five Moonbuggies. The serial drive is supposed to go into production immediately in order to give more than 100 interested Moonbuggy teams worldwide the opportunity to acquire and assemble them during an engineering workshop in Leipzig. These workshops will be lead by existing German team members in the framework of a management course.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157622892694723/



Around 8pm all guests assembled in the conference room for a presentation of SEI director Ralf Heckel. The talk touched on recruiting in Russia, the team's preparations in Leipzig and the race in Huntsville. An introduction with an excerpt of the film "Magnificent Desolation", narrated by Tom Hanks, was received particularly well. Also the Moonbuggy Race films "Speedrecord", "NASA-TV" and "Russian Moonbuggy" were met with great applause.
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#g/c/D43CCA12213F30AC

At 9.30pm it was time for space education ambassador Yvonne to present the long awaited awards. More than 30 guests received the valuable stucco work that night. More awards will be presented at the ILA in Berlin and sent to Moscow and Huntsville.

A team of young journalists produced a news story.

Photo gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623911089177

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Moonbuggy World Champion – An Unexpected Title

written by Ralf Heckel, International Space Education Institute
translated by Regina Peldszus, Kingston University London
corrected by Terry Wall, MSFC
www.spacepass.de

Huntsville, April 12th 2010


photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623824598544/
video: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#g/c/D43CCA12213F30AC

The unexpected has happened. Beating 2nd place team by just one second, our team became the 1st place winner this year. The following 4 teams were close behind, within 4 seconds. Of all the scores, even of the university class, our team is the best worldwide. It's not explicitly mentioned, but it's a fact.

One team (Jupiter High School of Florida, USA) was faster by 4 seconds on the race course, but their design was lacking when un-folding the buggy. While our team was ready to gorace in 6 seconds, the faster team took 16 seconds. The fastest assembly time was only 4 seconds, but that team's parts wouldn't have fit into a collection of luggage suitcases.

Thus in this sense, our team is the world champion! – a title that's logic, but which wasn't mentioned.

Today is a cosmonautics celebration day. 49 years ago, Yuri Gagarin went into space, and 29 years ago the Space Shuttle first orbited Earth. I'm looking towards the future: Will we succeed in having a Russian team join us in the upcoming anniversary year? It could be a small but important "space race" for the youth. For next year, also the Lunar Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary. In my experience, national thinking is not easily left behind when not working in multi-national teams. Here, it could serve for motivating all parties to achieve their best.

I'd like to recap the previous hours while they're still fresh in my mind. Again I'm taking the team to the Space & Rocket Center. The kids are full of energy and drive, cool and focused, ambitious and deliberate in their striving to unite their feelings for a single cause. This is how I've known them for four years. This is the most amazing time for every teacher or youth educator. But this moment only happens before the Moonbuggy Race or in Moscow / Star City. No-one but me, Yvonne and a small number of teachers really know how this moment feels.

I know that this moment won't last and that it really depends on the success and attention of the organisers. We lost too many students during the last years due to "burn out" following the race – the requirements in addition to the long journey and high costs are too tough. Those who stuck with it and didn't give up are here behind me. I'm driving as carefully as if I was carrying the national gold reserves in my van.

It's not busy yet on the course. The team is toughened up after the success yesterday. Max goes through his training drill with the drivers and I re-position the cameras. This time the van will become a Mission Control Center for the telemetry data that we cherish so much. It has a long antenna mounted to the roof.

I notice that there is none of the usual Moonbuggy excitement as there's hardly anyone in position. The team isn't worried. There are no typical worries such as: "Do we need to be faster today? ... How are the others doing? ... What do we need to take special care of?" To be in pole position is a heavy lot. However, the birds are chirping and the warming sun reaches out over the tree tops and doesn't distract from the goal. Both drivers have watched their board video and telemetry data for a long time yesterday. They have developed new strategies with their 17 year old trainer Max, and position their pedals in a cross. That's how they want to avoid progressive thrust and slip during the start.

The reward comes promptly: NASA twitters: "Steffi and Stefan get off to a killer start – no Obstacle 1 penalties". I'm at the toughest obstacle, the Lunatic Curve and have three cameras ready. The two come in with incredible speed (according to telemetry 15mph/24kmh). Stefan looks relaxed after experiencing his speed record of 50mph/80kmh on a trail, and hits the brakes 2ft/50cm before the obstacle. After a fraction of a second he immediately releases the brakes. He knows that he's now in control of more than 1g, which in turn heats up the brake discs to 600°C. He is steering a machine with a combined mass of more than 400 pounds/200 kg.

For a short time, the buggy dives as far as it's able to into its front axle suspension travel and then, released again, rises over the steep hill. After checking telemetry, Stefan managed an acceleration of 36,5 ft/s² (11.5 m/s²). That's an overload of more than 1g. Well done! This is how you turn "Hase-shock absorbers" into kangaroo legs with gauge airpressure. While the wheels touch the uneven gravel, they are not strained. Stefan's front wheels cannot grip and the moonbuggy starts to fishtail slightly. Steffi's rear wheels have reached the obstacle. She has S-Ply-Springs from glass fibre, a material that Mercedes is using for their rear axles in the new S Class. Although Stefan is immediately regains control of the vehicle again, the momentary swerve of the front wheels causes an undeliberate sideways shift to Steffi. Her end of the vehicle twists sideways like an untamed mustang, riding on a single wheel for several tense seconds. After our off-road training she knows to stay cool and trust the moonbuggy's design and construction. Nevertheless she utters a loud "ooops". At 30° floor pitch the angle limiter in the torsion joint of the vehicle frame grips. The right rear wheel starts to deform menacingly sideways. Then Steffi is catapulted back into horizontal, both drivers go full throttle and speed away, after they brush a concrete block from the course with their left rear wheel.




The onlookers – at this point still few – hold their breath for a second. When they realize that all went well, they break into a loud and astonished laughter. Nevertheless, I'm not happy – we lost about 2 seconds here. In my head, torsion bar absorbers and double track rims with double upright profile flash up. But there is no time. I run straight over to meet them at the next position.

In the moon crater, I can see no mistakes nor faults. The vehicle delivers an outstanding performance. They drift around the concrete curves. This puts strain on the rear wheels that are not entirely finetuned yet for a Moonbuggy Race. Here we have to sit together with our tire sponsor "Schwalbe" and soup up "Big Betty" (a new profile at 3.75inch tire width). Until now we had used suitable tires for the rear bar, but they were not the sponsor's – not very sophisticated. "Schwalbe" will have to step it up in future to stay on board. The photos and videos are taken. I hurry onwards.

Max leaps over a hedge and positions his camera as agreed below the obstacles in front of the Saturn I rocket. When the buggy shoots by, there is a swerve on the obstacle and he recoils. I sense that both drivers have reached their limit and that we need a steering damper when the buggy is flying. When it's going uphill, I'm cheering them on. And I'm out of breath myself. I point the camera at the two and run after them.

When they reach the downhill track in front of the Space Shuttle, Steffi is catapulted up. Here we definitely have to increase the damping effect of the rear absorbers. Then they speed away to the sand obstacle. I don't worry about that one. That was never a real problem for us. I take a shortcut and try to meet them at the finishing line. I just about manage to take two pictures when they thunder through the finish with a loud honking of our 120psi (8 atmospheres = 118psig) pressure tank for our DEKRA-sponsored air horn (a superlight green plastic Sprite bottle).

Again, both drivers are absolutely exhausted and only listen to the time for their run. It is announced as, again, 3:31min. This is the exact same time as yesterday. Nobody knows what to think of this. Now, is that good or not?

The other teams make it through the course in quick succession. It's a festival without comparison. Wheels give way, tires burst with a loud pop, tie rods bend, chassis break up. Some of them make it through, even in the same time as we did – but none of them reach our total score. Then there is a fleet from India. Some call it "Rikshah-fleet". Many buggies are too high and not stable enough. I feel compelled to offer some advice, but have to get back to the laptop. The tips can wait til our Moonbuggy summer workshop.

I collect videos and photos. We had 6 cameras on duty! Then I start processing them, evaluate telemetry and upload first results online. The organizers have measured the race time exactly. With board video and telemetry I'm getting the same results independently – and in our case this is exact like an atomic clock. After 6 hours my head is smoking and I'm hungry. We're still number one.

I walk towards the buggy. It's 2pm. There are only the "bones" left of the German Moonbuggy. Everything is dismantled. I sit down in the tent and work away in the shade while the team is busy getting the buggy flight-ready. Terry gets the truck and everything is loaded. There a 6 suitcases left and a few parts of our "fighter jet".

We send the final emails off and are ready just before the awards ceremony. Good timing!




Now it's uncharted territory for us. According to the rules of the hosts we should receive two awards – "Winning Team" and "Best International Team Award". We already got this award, endowed by NASA Headquarters a year ago. But this year we have managed the best time amongst all international teams – even better: amongst all participating teams. I particularly remember the meeting I had with the director of the organizers, Sabrina Pearson, in the Marriot Hotel in December 2008. Then I reported the additional hurdles an international team has to take and asked for a small acknowledgment. I was heard – even at NASA administration. Prof. von Puttkamer himself, born in Leipzig, came from Washington and presented that award to us from Leipzig.

This award ceremony was different. We received an award for "Winning Team", without getting a receipt like the US teams, which is the actual purpose of this award. The regulations for "Best International Team" were apparently changed without notification. Another team got that award. Also, we were very surprised when the "Most Improved Award" was this year endowed with a cash price of $250 for the US team. We received this award last year, but had to pay €50 customs for it – without a cash price, although it was presented by the same founder, "Jacobs Industries".

The assumption is starting to form that the hosts are not yet ready to meet the immense increase in international demand (caused and promoted by NASA HQ) of the Moonbuggy Race. There is a real need for support so as to avoid a loss of sophistication of the race. I am in the process of thinking how I can assist in this respect as an integrated adviser. We really need to reduce the progression of international participants without damping their enthusiasm. We need continental rounds. We can take care of Europe and Asia, but not more.

For this to work, the hosts need to be prepared to share reputation and workload, as the NASA values suggest.



Presslinks:

NASA:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2010/10-029.html
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/moonmars/moonbuggy.html

Huntsville Times:
http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1270977347296030.xml&coll=1
http://blog.al.com/breaking/2010/04/great_moonbuggy_race_ends_with.html
http://blog.al.com/breaking/2010/04/video_great_moonbuggy_races_at.html

Spaceref:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=30579

Redorbit:
http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/1848327/winners_of_17th_annual_great_moonbuggy_race_announced/index.html

AllVoices:
http://www.allvoices.com/news/5583991-germany-triumphs-in-nasas-great-moonbuggy-race

Canvasse:
http://www.canvasseopinion.com/germany-triumphs-nasas-great-moonbuggy-race/

Fox10TV.com
http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/fairhope-wins-nasa-moonbuggy-award

Space Pragmatism:
http://spacepragmatism.net/2010/04/in-alabama-passed-competition-moon-buggy.html

Fotoglif:
http://www.fotoglif.com/f/sgu2o05m9qb8

ddp (german press agency):
http://www.ad-hoc-news.de/deutsche-mannschaft-siegt-beim-great-moonbuggy-race-in--/de/Nachrichten/21200304
http://www.themenportal.de/nachrichten/leipziger-jugendteam-reist-zum-moonbuggy-rennen-nach-alabama-55352

German Press in english:
http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20100411-26475.html

Freie Presse:
http://www.freiepresse.info/NACHRICHTEN/REGIONALES/1713882.php

German Spacenet:
http://www.raumfahrer.net/news/raumfahrt/12042010164139.shtml

LVZ-online (Leipzig):
http://nachrichten.lvz-online.de/leipzig/citynews/leipziger-team-wird-moonbuggy-weltmeister-erster-platz-beim-nasa-rennen-in-den-usa/r-citynews-a-25523.html

Info-TV Leipzig (same as channel 31):
http://www.info-tv-leipzig.de/news/info-tv-news/allgemein/leipziger-mannschaft-siegt-beim-great-moonbuggy-race-in/

Yahoo-finance-Germany:
http://de.finance.yahoo.com/nachrichten/leipziger-jugendteam-reist-zum-moonbuggy-rennen-nach-alabama-ddpnews-c5b17aa0d39f.html?x=0

Mainfranken:
http://www.mainfranken24.de/index.php?id=11&no_cache=1&tx_gfmddpNews_pi1%5Bsingle%5D=129424

Start-Up Magazine, Germany:
http://www.unternehmenswelt.de/news/unternehmertum/team-deutschland-ist-weltmeister

chamber for handicraft:
http://www.hwk-leipzig.de/3,0,1942.html

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NASA ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 17TH ANNUAL GREAT MOONBUGGY RACE

April 10, 2010

Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
256-544-0034
angela.d.storey@nasa.gov

NEWS RELEASE: 10-029

NASA ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 17TH ANNUAL GREAT MOONBUGGY RACE
Teams from Germany, Puerto Rico top high school, college divisions

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA has announced the victors in the 17th annual Great Moonbuggy Race: The team representing the International Space Education Institute of Leipzig, Germany, won the high school division; and racers from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao took first place in the college division.

The teams bested more than 70 teams from 18 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, India and Romania. More than 600 drivers, engineers and mechanics -- all students -- gathered with their team advisors and cheering sections to take part in the matchup of wits and wheels at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center April 9-10 in Huntsville, Ala.

The race is organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. It challenges students to design, build and race lightweight, human-powered buggies that tackle many of the same engineering challenges dealt with by Apollo-era lunar rover developers at the Marshall Center in the late 1960s.

The International Space Education Institute, known among moonbuggy racers as "Team Germany," has been a prominent contender in the competition since they debuted in 2007 as the German Space Education Institute. Their team this year included two Russian students, reflecting the school's expanded international scope.

The University of Puerto Rico in Humacao -- the only school in the world to enter a moonbuggy in every race since the event was founded in 1994 -- won the second-place prize in 2009, and finally took home first place in this, their 17th appearance.

The winning teams posted the fastest vehicle assembly and race times in their divisions and received the fewest on-course penalties. The International Space Education Institute finished the roughly half-mile course -- twisting curves, treacherous gravel pits and other obstacles simulating lunar surface conditions -- in just 3 minutes 37 seconds. The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao posted a time of 4 minutes 18 seconds.

Finishing in second place this year in the high school division was Fajardo Vocational High School of Humacao, Puerto Rico, which entered the competition for the first time in 2009. Third place in the high school division yielded a tie: race newcomer Jupiter High School of Jupiter, Fla., matched perennial top-three winner Huntsville Center for Technology Team 1
of Huntsville, Ala. -- who also tied last year for the top high school trophy.

The University of Utah from Salt Lake City won second place in the college division, boosting them onto the trophy platform for the first time since they debuted in the race in 2007; and the Rhode Island School of Design from Providence, R.I., took home third place in their first race appearance --  despite having no engineers on their team (all team members are industrial design students).

Race organizers presented both first-place winners with trophies depicting NASA's original lunar rover. NASA also gave plaques and certificates to every team that competed.

The first-place high school team also received $500 and a week at Space Camp, courtesy of race sponsors ATK Aerospace Systems of Huntsville. ATK awarded the second- and third-place high school teams $250 each. Race sponsor Lockheed Martin Corp. of Huntsville also presented the winning college team with $5,700 in cash. Individuals on the winning teams also received commemorative medals and other prizes. (For a complete list of additional awards for design, safety, innovation and spirit, see below.)

"Each year, NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race clearly demonstrates the popularity, worldwide reach and intrinsic value of the agency's education initiatives," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office, which organizes the race. "It's our goal to augment and enrich the classroom experience, and inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and explorers to carry on NASA's mission of discovery throughout our solar system and deliver untold benefits back home on Earth."

The moonbuggy race is inspired by the original lunar rover, first piloted across the moon's surface in the early 1970s during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. The first race, held in 1994, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. At the time, the event was only open to college teams, and eight participated. Two years later, the event was expanded to include high school teams.

NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race is hosted each year by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Major corporate sponsorship is provided by Lockheed Martin Corp., The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman Corp., and Jacobs Engineering ESTS Group, all of Huntsville

For photos of winning teams, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/moonmars/moonbuggy.html

For more information about the race, visit:
http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov

For information about other NASA education programs, visit:
http://education.nasa.gov


NASA's 17th annual Great Moonbuggy Race
ADDITIONAL AWARDS AND PRIZES

Best Moonbuggy Design (for solving engineering problems associated with
lunar travel)
o Teodoro Aguilar Mora Vocational High School Team 2, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico
o University of Alabama in Huntsville, Ala.

Featherweight Award
o Jupiter High School, Jupiter, Fla.
o University of Puerto Rico in Humacao, Puerto Rico

Best Performance by an International Team
o Fajardo Vocational High School, Humacao, Puerto Rico
o Krishna Engineering College, Ghaziabad, India

NASA Systems Safety Award (for the safest approach to building, testing and
racing)
o Tudor Viamu National High School of Computer Science Team 2, Bucharest,
Romania
o University of Alabama in Huntsville, Ala.

Pits Crew Award for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems during
the race
o Carlisle County High School, Bardwell, Ky.
o C.T. Institute of Engineering, Management & Technology, Jalandhar, India

Crash and Burn Award (for the team that endures the most spectacular vehicle
breakdown)
o Erie High School Team 2, Erie, Kan.

Best Team Spirit (for overall team energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie)
o Pana High School, Pana, Ill.
o Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Rookie Award (for fastest course completion by a new race team)
o Jupiter High School, Jupiter, Fla.
o Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.

Most Improved Award (for the most dramatically improved engineering and
performance)
o Fairhope High School Team 1, Fairhope, Ala.
o Cameron University, Lawton, Okla.

-end-

News release
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2010/10-029.html

Photos
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/multimedia/photos/2010/photos10-029.html

Follow Marshall news and interact with the NASA Marshall community on
Facebook, Twitter and Flickr:

http://www.facebook.com/nasamarshallcenter
http://twitter.com/NASA_Marshall
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/sets

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Will we live the dream?

Stefan Martini
Mission 3, Moonbuggy 2010
www.spaceeducation.de

Huntsville, April 9th, 2010

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/collections/72157620442564423/
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#g/c/D43CCA12213F30AC

It's 5 in the morning when Steffi tries to wake me up gently. Despite the short night I'm quite awake. After a hearty breakfast we're on our way to the Space & Rocket Center. Upon arrival, we take the Moonbuggy straight to the welding machine to finally fix our handle bar. With a mix of metric and imperial tools we tweek away at an improvised solution. Then we're back at our booth and spend 15min warming up, 10min less than planned. Max changes the programme and warms us up with several scuttling exercises. We get on the buggy, get our energy drink and focus on the race.

5 minutes to go. Surprisingly I'm hardly excited at all. Nevertheless Max goes through the course with me mentally and tries to prepare me perfectly for the race. I'm glad to have a veteran like him in our team. Steffi who's behind me on the buggy can hardly keep quiet. She chats to anyone who passes by and keeps getting off the buggy. That's probably her way of dealing with the pressure.

Team 5 passes by. As we're directly next to the gate of the start, we can join Team 5, as we're ready to go. Someone from the official NASA team comes over and asks us whether we're ready. We agree and drive over to the spot where they evaluate whether you're complying with all the rules. Also, the buggy is folded up and carried a short distance. Then we get the first timed race. We have to get the buggy ready to start as fast as we can and sit in it with all buckles fastened. If you look at the video, I'm amazed myself that we managed to do it that quickly. In all our previous attempts we've managed about 8 seconds. But now we're full of adrenalin. The umpire measures an amazing 6 seconds. That's fantastic.



Motivated we proceed to the start. It's almost too swiftly for me. I almost can't focus on the course, but I'm glad we've done that before the race. After a short interview, it's time. Ready, set, go! We tread the pedals. Both wheels go into overdrive. We give less juice. At once there's the first obstacle, funnily enough the buggy flies over the first obstacle. The rest goes smoothly and we don't realise the remaining bumps. Then it's downhill, followed by a difficult obstacle which you need to take with a lot of speed. The problem is that there is a 90° hard shoulder straight afterwards and you can easily jump off track. That proved the buggy killer number one in previous years! A lot of rims gave up here in the past. Also because Steffi shouts "break!" from behind, I'm taking the hurdle with more respect. When it's behind us, I realise that the officials have made this quite a bit smoother than last year.

Now there's the horizontal part with a few pebbled tracks. After that there's another 90° curve with a hurdle. That means I have to aim to get into the curve in a wider berth to approach the hurdle directly and use the entire force of the drive to avoid falling of the side of the bump. As planned we pass the dirt bump. The track goes on uphill over two obstacles and along a couple of pistes into the crater. As in the final years, this is the most exhausting part in the middle of the race. I try to negotiate as many loose rocks as possible, since in the concrete crater it is in fact the rocks that make driving hard.

Then there are more curves with more or less difficult hurdles where I start feeling my legs. A sharp curve below the rocket and through to the final steep ascent. He're everyone's down to walking speed. That means you're exerting your final power reserves, if you have any left.

Then it's just downhill, over a couple of dirt hills back to the Shuttle. Here another few tricky hurdles await. There's a 4m long sandbank and dovetailing hills on which we've tailored the steering mechanism in our buggy perfectly. Nevertheless, we lose, as all the other teams, a lot of time here as the ground is soft an offers a lot of resistance.

That's why the final meters are pure torture. I remember that I'm supposed to honk the horn and enter the finish with Steffi, totally exhausted. Everything worked out and is still stable. My gutfeeling tells me that the race must have been good, around 4 minutes and therefore maybe a score in the front area of the field. I've given everything and can't even sit up straight when the NASA reporter is there to ask me questions. I try to answer but can't string a coherent sentence together, so she goes over to Steffi. She still has some strenght left and kann answer, at least in short sentences. The only thing I want to do is lie down. I unfasten my seat-belt, summon my last ounces of strength and sit down on the dewy grass, knees shaking. That my clothes get wet doesn't bother me. I notice how someone jumps on me with a great shriek. It's Steffi who announces amazedly that we were 3 seconds faster than the team of the Huntsville Technology Center who scored best last year. At once we wonder how long they need to fold up their vehicle. After a short while we get confirmation that we drove the annual track record with 3:31min and also needed 3 seconds less for the fold-up.

I'm absolutely speechless. We're first!!! And that despite of the fact that most of the best teams started before us. I'm proud of our achievement. But somehow I knew that the buggy had matured into a single unit with Steffi and myself in order to pull of a miracle and reward our hard work during the past years. The team gathers together around us, who're still on the grass, exhausted but elated. We can hardly believe it. The track record is about 3:15min. But as it will turn out later today, this isn't nearly reached.



On getting some strength, we're off back to our booth. Apparently the news spread through the grapevine, as there are congratulations from everywhere. A lot of people make a point of dropping by to congratulate us, and also when we move around the area we're met with beaming faces, some of whom are even German and wish us all the best in our mother tongue. It's so unbelievable how nice and open everyone is.

We spend the remaining long day in the area. We either go and see other buggies on their test drives, check out the rides or stroll through the museum. We regularly come back to the score tables on which we're leading for a long time. However, towards the end of the race we get the news that another team beat us by 3 seconds. Again we're asking ourselves immediately how long they needed to fold up the buggy. With a small delay, there are the news that they actually took 10 seconds longer. So we keep the first place until the end of the day and are overjoyed. Finally, we invite the other international teams for a little get-together to get this international community to further coordinate their collaborative efforts and to promote the Moonbuggy Race in the entire world.

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/collections/72157620442564423/
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#g/c/D43CCA12213F30AC

Moonbuggy Race - Day One

Stephanie Fleischer
Moonbuggy Team 2010
www.spaceeducation.eu

April 9th, 2010

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/collections/72157620442564423/
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#g/c/D43CCA12213F30AC

I get up at 5am to have a shower, then wake up the boys and Lauren. We all make our way to the kitchen to grab a quick bite to eat. We're so excited that we can't eat as much as we'd want to. Just after 6am we're off. While in the car, we make a couple of quick phone calls to people in Germany. The Chamber of Trade, for instance, has given an interview at Radio Leipzig since no-one of our team was in the country. Some of the apprentices and masters from the Vocational & Technology Center can't believe we've just descended a hill in Huntsville with 80km/hr, and I'm so excited that I can't stop talking.

We arrive at the Space & Rocket Center and the excitement in the team and the seriousness of the competition becomes obvious when we check out the other teams with their trailers and Moonbuggies. Also the cool whether causes us goose-bumps. We still have to fix the steering bar. So we're walking over to the Pit-Tent to sort it out, where other teams are already queuing to welder their buggies.

Now we're over at our own tent to warm up. Tension is mounting and it really shows with me. I can't sit still and talk non-stop. Now it's time. A last glance on my watch tells me it's just after 8am, when one of the organisers picks us up.

At first we meet the examiners who ask us to fold up the Moonbuggy and put it on the scale. Our vehicles weighs 179lb, that's around 90kg. Then we go to the area of the tournament were we have to carry the vehicle 6ft. Then we stow it away in a cube with 4ft long sides (1.21m). We've only practiced that a couple of times and always needed 8-10 seconds. The guys from Huntsville were faster with 5 seconds. We focus and take a deep breath. We're not aware of anything around us, just of the 'ready, set, GO!'. Everything works surprisingly well and quick. We lift our hands and the time is taken. We're breathless as the umpire announces the time: 6.2 seconds. That's a German Team record. The fastest the German Moonbuggy has ever been folded up was 6.4 seconds!



But we don't have time for cheers, as we're taken to the start where Angela Storey awaits us with a mike and a camera. She asks a few questions about the Moonbuggy which we answer quickly. Ralf keeps finetuning the buggy til the umpire gives the go. We start in the first gear, but our wheels are a bit in overdrive so we lose a tiny bit of time. We fly over the first obstacles and Stefan masters the curves amazingly. We slow down a bit in the Moon crater to avoid sliding off track. The final part is slower, as we're treading uphill and lose speed due to a pile of sand. But we pass the course without penalties, i.e. we don't get off track or take down hay stacks or traffic cones which are placed on the piste. Vermont Hedrick, who's hosting us at his place, cheers with extra fervour and shouts that we should honk, as we're the only team with a horn. So Stefan takes the finishing line honking. Done!

We're out of breath and stay put in our buggy for now. The journalist is straight over to ask us more questions. I'm letting the race pass again in my head and think we could have been faster on one or the other occasion. Stefan is so short of breath he can't properly answer the questions of the journalist. So she comes over to me. But all I can say at the time is that I'm really out of breath. Stefan and I get off the buggy and join our group, who's already waiting for us with some water. An umpire tells us the time: 3:31min. It's a good result for us, as the track records is just over 3min. We're content until someone walks over and tells us we're first place, faster than the Center of Technology team which was first last year. We nearly cry with joy. We all end up in a big gear hug and can't believe it.

Then we're off to the tent, where we – still amazed – talk about the race and all the different questions of our team. The Moonbuggy, which stood the test of the race without hick-ups, is checked once more and no faults are found.



Our pulse is back to normal and so we go and see some of the other teams to get to know them and admire their Moonbuggies. None is like the other and everyone we talk to is really open and very, very friendly. Some of them even chat me up at the Space & Rocket Center and ask whether I wasn't Steffi, and that they saw me on Channel 31 with the weather guy on Easter Sunday. Or that they read the reports I wrote in English and Spanish, or that they saw my picture on the frontpage of NASA. I blush every time and can't believe the traces I'm leaving during my first ever visit to the US.

It's a long and hot day. I'm glad our race was in the morning when it was still nice and cool. Our group goes out and visits the Space & Rocket Park again. We ride a centrifuge, see Darth Vader and cheer on other Moonbuggy teams who we'd made friends with.

The afternoon is spent in the cafeteria where we meet with some other international teams to start a Moonbuggy-Tour Europe. We want to collaborate with a lot of different schools and convince others to consider doing Moonbuggies. This is important, since our constructions could be precursors for a Marsbuggy. The team of Puerto Rico which comprises of many schools is really interested, and so are Canada and India. That means the international teams might be doing a tour and races already next year, where everyone could join and check out the Moonbuggy and the idea behind it.

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/collections/72157620442564423/
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#g/c/D43CCA12213F30AC

Friday, April 9, 2010

Registration Day

Stephanie Fleischer
Moonbuggy Team 2010
www.spaceeducation.eu

Huntsville, April 8th, 2010

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623687955411/

This morning we get up at 8 am and had a very tasty breakfast, with cereals, fruit, milk, beagles (which you don't have in Germany) Philadelphia, ham and cheese.

At 10.30 we arrive at the Space & Rocket Center, but without our Moonbuggy, because it is still in the Center of Technology. At the big parking lot of the Space & Rocket Center a few schools built up their Moonbuggies.



There is a ig tent for the registration and there we get our number for the moonbuggyrace. It's the lucky 7. Then are looking around when one guy talk to me. „You must be Steffi, nice to meet you. I saw you on TV last Sunday. You did such a great job", he sais. He introduces himself as Richard Smith . He introduce us to give an interview for Education TV of Huntsville City Schools and the Nasa Education Channel. I am so nervous, but the interview proceed good. Then we meet the organisator of the Nasa Great Moonbuggy Race Frank Six. He creates the Moonbuggy Race about 17 year ago. He is very glad to see us and especially Ralf, because Ralf invites and encourages international teams to come to Huntsville and participate in the Moonbuggy Race.

Stefan and me are walk around and looking at the different vehilcles. We meet a lot of international teams, like Romanians, Puerto Recanians, Serbians and a lot of Indians, which we invite to a international meeting tomorrow evening to get to know each other and to exchange our experiences.

After lunch Ralf guide us through the Center and the cours we have to ride on. It is 1,2 kilometers with a lot of curves and obstacles. I hope we will get through without any problems.

Then we visited the museum where we watch a lot of for passed astronauts and engeneers of all over the world.



Then Ralf, Stefan and me drive to the Center of Technology to pick up our Moonbuggy. Then Stefan and I go by Buggy to the Space & Rocket Center. When we arrive the opening Ceremony already started. It was very beautiful because a man is singing the american hymn and Mrs Washington, Hedquarters of NASA, Angela Storey, Press of MSFC and some sponsores of the race for example Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Jacobs Industries, are thanking us to be here and to wish us good luck.



After the ceremony we drive one time through the Moonbuggy parking lot and go home. We have to go to bed early because tomorrow we will ride at about 8 o'clock in the morning and Max, our personal trainer says we have to get up 3 hours earlier before the race starts.

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623687955411/

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Moonbuggy Speed Record - 50 MPH!

Stephanie (Steffi) Fleischer
Moonbugg Team 2010
www.spaceeducation.de

Huntsville, April 06th, 2010

foto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623792531598/
movie: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#p/c/D43CCA12213F30AC/8/ZO-5RjBeFoU

Today we start the day with a warming up and a very tasty beagle- breakfast. At eleven o`clock we drive to Hendrick's to fetch our Moonbuggy. The sun was very strong, the thermometer suggest about 25 °C (77 F) and we have to wear our suits. I hope Ralf is right with his thesis, that the blue cotton spaceesuit an the race- shirt will isolate.



Now begins the first ride and for the first time we crack our speed limit. 80,9 km/h (50,3 mph)!

No it can't be true, Let's try it another time. But we do it a second time. It is the same speed. Now I'm so happy the DEKRA GmbH is our silver sponsor. This company is inspecting cars and airplane pieces, also in USA. Maybe without their sponsoring we won't be able to make timelimits like these. I can't believe it. I drove 80 km/h (50 mph) with Stefan in Alabama.

After our litte time of success we startet to train. We drove about 31 km, from the Rainbow Hill till the Space- & Rocketcenter in Huntsville. It's a very hot and long ride, but so I can meet lots of workers of Moonbuggies. So we visited the UAH-college team 2010 and the vice-president of the "von Braun Research Hall", D. John M. Horack.



When we arrive at our last station, the Space- and Rocket Center some pedestrian are showing their interest. One guy for exmple helps his niece to take pictures of important things in Alabama. So this man shoots a foto of us and and the painted figure (a spacemann).

After that Stefan and me drive to the hotel, where we can rest and chat until the rest arrives. They take the Moobuggy to a garage oft the Center of Technology. Then we get something to eat at a Taco Bell.

It's Midnight an we analyse the telemetrie-datas and discuss the other themes. So we go to bed very, very exhausted.



foto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623792531598/
movie: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#p/c/D43CCA12213F30AC/8/ZO-5RjBeFoU

First ride on our Moonbbuggy in the USA

Stephanie (Steffi) Fleischer
Moonbuggy Team 2010
www.spaceeducation.eu

April 05th, 2010

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623781634176/

Only four days left until the race begins and our Moonbuggy is still in our bagage.

First I get up at 7 o'clock. Today we gonna make our first training together. I wake up Stefan and Max, which were seleeping like babies. We go out and run in our neighboourhood. After that we strech and have breakfast. Then I call my Grandma in Germany to tell her what happend the last days. She is very excited and cannot beliefe what I experiance here in America. It`s alost eleven o'clock in the morning and we have to go to Ralf's and Yvonne's friends' Kay and Vernon.

At Headrick's garage we have the possibility to assemble our vehicle. We take about six hours to unpack the parts and tools of the Moobuggy.



My flap is still so big, because of the TV- Show yesterday. So I sing along happy with the songs on the radio. At the evning we get already ready. When Vernon, the housekeeper, shows us a very nice viewpoint near his house, while the sun is setting.

After the walk and some grips on our vehicle it's time for our first ride in the USA. We ride down the Rainbow Hill. We did an speedrecord of 57 km/h or 35 mph, in night! I am so frightened, because Stefan has got all the power. But we arrive secure und healthy at Hedrick's. Very tired we drive to our Hotel and go to bed.



Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623781634176/

Monday, April 5, 2010

First impressions of America

Stephanie (Steffi) Fleischer
Moonbuggy Team 2010
www.spaceeducation.eu

Huntsville/Alabama, 04/04/2010

TV: WAAY, Channel 31:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#p/c/D43CCA12213F30AC/6/oNKjhbPu-94

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623648579361/

My first night in Amercia. During the night i can't sleep because i have headache and i think i'm getting a cold. At 8 o'clock in the mornig we meet at the lobby of the hotel and have brekfast together. We eat typical food of America, like beagels, muffins, waffels and orange juce and coffee. After the very sweet breakfast we get together for an briefing. There we discuss our scedule of today.

At 10 am we leave and visit the Spae & Rocket Center. After that we make a fotoshootin. With a lot of teammspirit and good mood we cn take beautifil pictures in the 25 degrees warm sun. Then we visit the Marriot Hotel, where we chill in the swimming- pool, Beause of the hot wheather in Alabama we leave the Hotel and go to the Wal Mart, a very big supermarket, ehere you can get everything you want. From Pharmacy, clothes, shoes, magazines to american food, fruits and soft drinks. There we buy something to drink, energy shots for the race, creams and shampoos and my favourite one, n Comsmopolitan. To stop our hungryness we stop by chercker's, a fast food restaurant. There we buy a lot of burgers and pomes, oh no here they ar called fries, a new vocabulary for me.

At 2 o' clock in the afternoon we meet Terry, our friendly and sympathic driver and friend, who visited the Maple Hill Cementary with us. We visited the grave of Professor Ernst Stuhlinger, also called as the „navigtor of Wernher of Brown" (Zitate of Huntsville Times). Then we drive to the grave Konrad Dammenberg and a lot of other important ingeneers fro Germay who were in the pollo Project. The graves in America are very beautiful, with a lot of flowers or pictures.



After that we drive to several Houses whrere we get to know the house where other famous scientists live, like the House of Wernher of Braun. After a while we drive to Monte Samo, you can call it „ Sauerkrautberg", too, with a lot of buildings of the 50's and 60's. Most of the German ingeneers, who work in Huntsville ave got a house there, On the the way to huntsville city center, we stop at Walter Jacobi's, but he wasn't at home. So we go on with our sightseeing tour and stop the doors an make some pictures with his house. Walter Jacobi was an very important ideas for the landing on the Moon. and he is the first human beeíng who showed people his racket in public. But that is not all. We drive to the Rainbowmountain, where Ralf organized an interview with the Wheaterman of Alabama. We shall be there at 10 pm o'clock.

In the afternoon we drove all together to the city Center, for taking a walk in the nice parc near the Walther of Braun Institute, where we watched a very big picture and a stone of rememberence of the famous scientist.

6 o'clock in the evening we met Terry and his fammily and the Hendricks at an restaurant where we have a very delicious dinner. After the dinner we are on the way to the TV station where a lot of people waiting for us. We all are standing in front of this dark camera, which can sees evrything and records everything you say and do. So there are Minutes left and so nervous. What will he ask, will i find the right wird's to answer the questions? How is my hair? i am so friightened of failing on air in Alabama. But did it pretty well. Ralf answere the questions like a master nd me, i explain a piece of the chassie with an angle limiter.



I AM IN THE AMERICAIN TV IN ALABAMA. After the interview i am very excited and later when we arrive at our hotel was jumping like a four aged girl getting a very big Barbie. When Terry visited us in the Hotel it get worse. I see myself in american tv.I can not stop smiling. I'm so happy. And another fact is that i can't stop talking for a long time. But know I'm going to bed because tomorrow we have to assemble our Moonbuggy and rebuild it.

TV: WAAY, Channel 31:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SpaceEducation#p/c/D43CCA12213F30AC/6/oNKjhbPu-94

Fotos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623648579361/

Back From The Future

written by Ralf Heckel
International Space Education Institute
www.spaceeducation.de

translated by. Regina BA MA
Doctoral Researcher Spacecraft Habitability Design
Kingston University London

Leipzig, April 2, 2010

fotos night: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623752385014/
fotos day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623631402963/

It looks futuristic: The NASA Moonbuggy of the German Team 2010. Around midnight, late-night pedestrians in Leipzig were quite intrigued to find themselves facing a low-flying vehicle that left a trace of dazzling light against the pitch-black of the night in its wake. One of the punters remarked: "Did you see that? Seems like they've just come straight out of the film 'Back to the Future'!"

And they're indeed from the future. Stefan Martini (19, Munich), Stephanie Fleischer (19, Unterschleissheim), Max Frank (17, Leipzig) and their Russian colleague Ivan Therekov, joined by the mechanics crew Robert Hempel and Daniel Mueller of the Vocational & Technology Centre of the Chamber of Crafts, will not only participate in the NASA
Moonbuggy Race, April 8-10, 2010 in Huntsville/Alabama. They are also the first official construction team of the Mars500 Rover, a project that will reach out far into the future.

Throughout the previous 11 months, the International Space Education Institute has shared a lot of know how and practice from engineering and craft in 132 workshops. The press conference, held in Leipzig on March 30, 2010, received world-wide attention.

Accompany this unique European team to the US and the NASA construction competition of the up-and-coming engineers against 1088 other students.

fotos night: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623752385014/
fotos day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623631402963/

Friday, April 2, 2010

NASA Race in Double Seater

Student team of Leipzig institute to compete at Moonbuggy-Race in Huntsville

Leipzig Today, March 31, 2010

The countdown is on: Under the auspices of the Leipzig-based International Space Education Institute (ISEI) a team of students will be competing at the Moonbuggy Race at Huntsville, US. The crew is aiming for a place on the pedestal with their vehicle - called Ganymed - in the competition hosted by NASA.

Stefan Martini, Stephanie Fleischer, Max Frank, Robert Hempel, as well as Daniel Mueller and many others have spent months building the pedalled buggy. Also students from Russia and Hungary lent a hand, supported by experts of Leipzig firms such as Doerffer Sandstrahltechnik GmbH or Dreherei Guenther Jacob. "We didn't go to sleep until the early hours yesterday just to put the finishing touches on the vehicle," says Daniel, 18, who is currently doing an apprenticeship at the Vocational & Technology Centre of the Chamber of Crafts. He is, like 16 year old Robert, a mechanic in Ganymed's crew.

Despite the short night there was not an ounce of tiredness when the creators presented the 93kg two seater yesterday. Quizzed on details of the quad-cycle buggy - which according to NASA requirements cannot exceed 1.2 by 2.5 meters - Stefan explains with great enthusiasm: "Double chain drive, 28 gears, GPS datalogger, mounted camera". The 19 year old grammar school student from Munich has regularly been spending his holidays at SEI which is registered as association. Stefan has been on the SEI team since the original model of Ganymed took part in the Moonbuggy Race. 19 year old Stephanie from Bavarian Unterschleissheim, however, only joined the institute in 2009 and will be kicking the pedals for the first time in Huntsville: "I hope the construction and my fitness will be up to scratch". The test drives were not always perfect. The race in Huntsville, where NASA used to build their moon rockets, will be a first also for Max who is studying at the local sports grammar.

Institute director Ralf Heckel has double-checked the line-up: "109 participants from all over the world have registered and will be maneuvering their buggies through a course studded with obstacles". The off-road piste is 1.2km long, there are penalties for mistakes. "I have total faith in our material and crew. If they make the same effort in the race as during construction, then we'll be up for a better score than last year's 6th position".

"We'll give everything, and we really want a place on the pedestal," says buggy pilot Stefan. "We also owe that to our sponsors and supporting companies." This weekend, the crew is off to Huntsville. They'll train and further optimize Ganymed. The race will take place on April 9 and 10. "We cross our fingers vigorously," assures Sigrid Zimmermann, managing director of the Chamber of Crafts, Leipzig, who is actively involved as project partner.

written by Mario Beck, Leipziger Volkszeitung

translated by Regina Peldszus BA MA, Doctoral Researcher Spacecraft Habitability Design

------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Unbelievable worldwide press reactions / Imágenes del día

EUROPE:
epa 02098497
http://www.fotoglif.com/f/sgu2o05m9qb8

Pupils Stephanie Fleischer and Stefan Martini ride their 'Moonbuggy' in Leipzig, Germany, 30 March 2010. Both form part of a team of pupils that competes in a NASA Moonbuggy Race on 08 April in the United States. The NASA competition demands to build a muscle-powered vehicle according to exact specifications like size and weight. The vehicle has to prove its competence on a demanding course. Over the last three years, 13- to 19-year-old pupils of Leipzig's International Space Education Institute (SEI) earned ten NASA Awards at the races and lead the constructors' championship.

Photo: JAN WOITAS EPA/JAN WOITAS
........................................................

SPAIN/LATINO:
Las Palmas, Canary Islands
http://www.canarias7.es/multimedia/galeria.cfm?id=3842&n=6

Zaragossa
http://www.sonorama.com.ec/sistema/imagenes/imagenes.php?id=351

VENEZUELA: Carracas, El Clarin
http://www.elclarin.net.ve/fotosdia.html

Los estudiantes Stephanie Fleischer y Stefan Martini montan en su
"moonboggy" en Leipzig (Alemania). Ambos forman parte de un equipo de
alumnos que competirá en una carrera de "moonbuggy" de la NASA el próximo 8
de abril en Estados Unidos. La prueba de la NASA requiere construir un
vehículo propulsado por el hombre con unas especificaciones concretas de
tamaño y peso. El vehículo va a probar su competencia en un circuito
exigente. Durante los últimos tres años, alumnos de entre 13 y 19 años del
Instituto de Educación Espacial Internacional de Leipzig han ganado premios
de la NASA en carreras y lideran el campeonato de constructores.
Foto: EFE

.....................................................

Korea: Daum
http://photo.media.daum.net/foreign/view.html?cateid=1007&newsid=20100330211206576&p=yonhap

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My first test drive

written by Stephanie Fleischer, translated by Regina Peldszus
Moonbuggy Team Germany/Russia 2010

www.spaceeducation.eu

Leipzig, March 20, 2010

After a four hour journey and full of anticipation, I arrive in Leipzig with my friend Stefan who I've known for many years. He once told be about a Moonbuggy Race for which they were developing a "Moon Vehicle" to stand the test in a competition. At the time I thought that was all very interesting but you'd need to be good at physics and that it would be difficult to get into the field. Until my friend asked me whether I was up for taking part in such a race. Since then I've been hooked.

This is why I'm in Leipzig now, looking for project director Ralf Heckel. At the institute we found out that he's in the workshop with the apprentices, tinkering avidly on the Moonbuggy. When we get to the workshop it's indeed packed and work on the Moonbuggy is in full swing, although it's Friday and close to 8pm. Stefan mills another reinforcing truss for the frame of the rear seat. "Milling", that's a term I've never really had to incorporate in my vocabulary so far. Suddenly he takes my hand and guides me to that monstrous mill where he's supposed to work on the rod. After a small presentation and induction I'm allowed to have a go and mill a part for our vehicle. Actually it's not hard at all. I'd never thought I'd ever operate a machine that big.



Afterward it's off to the big parking lot where I test-drive the Moonbuggy for the first time. First I have to get used to the fact that I have to totally rely on my front-seat driver, who literally controls all buttons and levers. I can't intervene if I evaluate a situation differently than he does. So I'm full of adrenalin sitting there in the back seat of the Moonbuggy and my legs shake when I get off. It's like the tandem was re-invented. Afterwards I'm back at the workshop and check out the machinery, which leaves me in awe. Ralf is the next person to take me around and show me the next green machine with a big drill. It's a lathe. Again, after a small briefing, I'm allowed to show my newly acquired skills. I drill a big hole in a piece of aluminum, turn phases and engrail the surface. I don't even have a boilersuit like all the others, but I'm proud of the finished part that is spit out by the machine, steaming.



After all these new impressions on that first evening, I was off to bed and crashed.

Photo gallery
working: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623659344100/

training: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623532378909/
city tour: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623659323832/

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Countdown 2010 - Just 4 Weeks Left

written by Ralf Heckel
translated by Regina Peldszus

http://www.nasa-moonbuggy.eu/


The NASA Moonbuggy Race demands utmost commitment of its participants. 11 months after the last event we're in final preparations again. There are only 4 weeks left until the race, and our plane takes off in three.

After experiencing 4 Moonbuggy-Races and taking part myself three times successfully, I would have thought there'd finally be a routine. But far off. Again we're under pressure to get everything done on time, and it affects us as teamleaders more than the other members of the team. There are no Easter vacations, and therefore no time for unforeseen events. Despite all this, many things are different this particular year, and that's why I want to offer some insights and encourage people to participate.

The original Team Germany of the last years does not exist anymore. Most of them have graduated from highschool last year and are now all over the world, also thanks to the unique references of the Moon Buggy Race. Nadine is studying, Vanessa is doing work experience in the US, Lisa is in New Zealand, Thommy is doing compulsory army service, and the others mostly went straight into engineering degrees. Therefore we have been focusing on promoting the Moonbuggy Race and Space Education throughout 2009. The German Moonbuggy was on the road in 8 European countries over 10,000 km (6200 miles). We even built a bespoke trailer which delivered everything you need on such trips, including solar power. Our core task was to raise awareness in Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, Hungaria and Russia.

Hence we took the Buggy to the marinas on Crimea, to the piers in Rostock, to Budapest, Bucarest, Munich, to Dresden's Frauenkirche and to Prague. There was a lot of interest and astonishment everywhere. However, only a few students and schools are really prepared to accept the challenges that are associated with it. We did 120 workshops and events with and for students. We invited Russian space students to Moonbuggy workshops in Germany and gave countless talks at schools.

We were especially delighted to cooperate with the Chamber of Trade, Leipzig, and their vocational education centre. It is there where the Moonbuggy really begins to feature as an object of orientation for a technical vocation. Many apprentices lend their hand to work on the Moonbuggy.

As a result, our Moonbuggy is now entirely modeled in CAD and, with a prototype series of five slightly different types, we have a proper fleet that serves test and training purposes.

In the past few years there was no winter and spring. The only important topic for the first 3 months of the year was – the Moonbuggy. That required the team leader and most of the students to put in 18-20hrs a day.

It's a bit different today. Of course we're still very busy, but we manage to call it a day on time and make time for family and others every now and then. The students are more independent, and there are more of them. It's not just individual esponsibilities any more, but more delegation of different tasks throughout the team. The cold days of the winter are spent in the warm workshops of the technology centre of the Chamber of Trade to work on the Buggy.

However, traveling to the competition is still an open book. There is no knowing whether it'll work out. There are two new hurdles to take. These are different luggage regulations and the selection of the racers. We need to raise 100 Euro more in fees for luggage for each suitcase. Last year, each passenger was permitted to bring two pieces of baggage for free – today the second suitcase is charged at 100 Euro. The third suitcase is 400 Euro already. The Moonbuggy fits into 7 suitcases – but we're only 4-5 passengers. So far, we've always beenable to fit everything, including our personal items, into 12 suitcases. Now we can only use 4-5. So we'll have to pay dearly.

The selection of racers and the Huntsville-bound team has become more complicated. The old hands have left high school and the universities have little time for the Moonbuggy. The Masters degrees require a lot of commitment from the students. The youngsters, however, have a lot of respect for the race. Most of them don't feel ready for it yet, or aren't able to fund or raise the high travel costs. German schools don't sponsor the programme financially. It is even more difficult to find a female racer. One of our candidates is in an important different competition, the other one is abroad on student exchange, the last one had a skiing accident. Another possible driver is so young that her parents would have to chaperone her on the trip – but cannot afford the ticket. If the problems of the past years were of practical nature, we're now at a stage where we can only find solutions with experience and good management. The actual construction of the Moonbuggy, however, is more of a routine now.

This weekend, Thommy and Stefan want to get the Moonbuggy ready for a test drive. A new girl will be the test-driver. A lot of sports cyclists are already interested in this, and are keen to participate in the workshops – as soon as there is time.

Will the Moonbuggy and its many new refinements in stability and weight reduction be ready in time? Will the new test driver (she's only 13) meet the requirements?

You will find out by April 3rd 2010, our planned date of departure!


See our blog at: http://www.spaceeducation.de/en/online-news.html