ISU Space Studies Program - SSP16 Aims High !

Using a high-altitude balloon, the SSP16 participants managed to launch a quadcopter drone at an amazing altitude of 27.3 km, with several ISU payloads onboard. The drone was recovered after one week in the ocean, off the coast of Haifa, Israel where this year’s SSP is taking place.

drone4The drone and payloads were tracked by a set of expert ground stations organized with local support. One part of the scientific payload included a Victor Francis Hess experiment. High energetic cosmic particle can be detected using that experiment. Due to the atmosphere, the energy of the particles decreases with lower altitude, therefore in higher atmosphere the probability of detecting a particle shower is higher than on earth.

To detect such partials, CR39 plates were used. When a high energetic particle collides with the CR39 polymer, a trail in the structure will be left. This trail can be seen with a microscope after a chemical treatment.

Prof Michael Paul from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel supported this work.

It is believed that this ISU drone has broken the World Record, and official papers have been filed. This will be definitely a first for the International Space University!


Less high, but certainly also spectacular, were the rockets produced by the ISU participants as a traditional part of the program. The highlights of this exercise can be viewed via the following link, with spectacular shots taken by the onboard cameras:


The winning rocket “Stellar” (312 m according to telemetry data) came closest to the competition objectives which included a 300m altitude target. Five rockets competed, and one staff rocket.
There was also a reward for the ‘coolest’ rocket, awarded to the “ZELE” rocket.

The competition requirements included: coming as close as possible to a final altitude of 300 meters, carrying a bottle of Israeli olive oil without breaking it, carrying a rock from the dead sea that was touching the bottle of olive oil, the rocket must be at least 1 meter in length and it must record or transmit video from the rocket. All to remain intact during a soft landing.

SSP16 continues to aim high!


rocket launch