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The second section of work for the European Space Agency (ESA) contract that was awarded to Starchaser is nearing completion. This section of work focuses on the design and validation of the Starchaser 5 / Thunderstar capsule space tourism concept. A lot of time and effort has been put in to analysing several aspects of the design, ranging from Finite Element Analysis of the capsule to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculations of the aerodynamics of the system as a whole, to mass distributions for the capsule and all its related systems. A new flight simulation tool called ASTOS that is used by ESA contractors to simulate and optimise trajectories has been used to validate the flight data.

Once this technical section is completed, which is the largest section in the contract; there is a business case to produce and a risk assessment which will complete the contract by September. Starchaser would like to thank ANSYS Fluent and PTC for their assistance with this work. The results and experience that we have gained from working on this contract has helped enormously to expand our working knowledge in some of the more technical areas and should help improve future system designs. Some of the images from the work are included below:


Thunderstar Capsule Stress Analysis (Original Design)


Thunderstar Capsule Stress Analysis (Optimized Design)


Thunderstar Cutaway Diagram


Thunderstar Mass Distribution Model


CFD Analysis at Mach 2.954


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