19.11.2018 change 21.11.2018

Head of POLSA Grzegorz Brona: The Polish rocket systems market is experiencing a renaissance

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

The Polish rocket systems market is experiencing a renaissance, President of the Polish Space Agency Dr. Grzegorz Brona told PAP. In the second half of November this year, a test launch is scheduled at the Drawsko training ground of a prototype suborbital rocket Bigos 4, built by SpaceForest.

"Renaissance associated with rocket systems is observed at Polish state research institutes, for example the Institute of Aviation is currently building the rocket system Bursztyn, but also in the private sector. There are companies that specialize in rocket components, rocket fuel and entire rocket systems" - explained the head of POLSA.

One of those companies is SpaceForest from Gdynia, which will launch a new prototype rocket - Bigos 4 in Drawsko on November 18th. "It is a test system that will allow to check specific technologies built into this rocket in flights up to a dozen, perhaps even several dozen kilometres"- added Brona.

He noted that the altitude of 15 km does is not a result of technological limitations. "This is due to the area of the training ground, from which the rocket will be launched. It could probably fly higher, but the training ground safety requires a limited ceiling" - Brona explained.

Brona hopes that next year it will be possible to eliminate "certain restrictions, and some areas will be additionally secured" and flights - perhaps even suborbital ones (up to 100 km) - will be "fully viable" in our country, be it with the Bigos 4 rocket, or with its successor, or the Bursztyn rocket.

The projects like the Drawsko experiment are used to test systems - on the one hand, full rocket systems, on the other hand, instruments used to study the atmosphere, or space technologies, placed in the rocket`s "luggage compartment".

"The best place to test subsystems that are going to space in the future is the space itself. Therefore, such systems are very often placed on suborbital rockets. With the rocket, they slowly fall from outer space towards the Earth and are being tested. Only then they end up on satellites that travel in orbits, or are sent to other celestial bodies" - he explained.

According to Brona, Polish rockets are suborbital rockets, because "destination +orbit+ is even more complicated than suborbital flights". He emphasised that suborbital rockets would allow to test Polish devices or foreign instruments "on a purely commercial level".

President of the Polish Space Agency reminded that in the 1970s Poland had the opportunity to become a space power.

"We had Meteor rockets that, according to calculations, would crossed the space barrier - they would climb to an altitude of about 100 km" - he said.

In the second half of the 1970s the project was halted. "The rockets, which were already prepared for launch, were packed into crates and after that, practically until the 1990s, nothing happened in space rocket systems in Poland" - he said.

Brona noted that the flight of the Bigos 4 rocket, or any other rocket that we want to test at high altitudes (and 15 km is a high altitude) depends on the weather. "Especially on the wind at various altitudes. We do not want our rocket to turn and fly horizontally instead of flying up, and perhaps threaten infrastructure outside the training ground" - he said.

Therefore, before the launch of this type of object, the atmosphere is probed: meteorological balloons are released to check for jet winds, which can reach 100 km/h at the altitude of several kilometres. "The launch of Bigos 4 depends not only on the adequate cloud cover, but above all the lack of jet winds that could carry the rocket" - he concluded. (PAP)

author: Magdalena Jarco

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