Press Release: MOVE student group launches stratospheric balloon with new satellite prototype
On Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, the Munich Orbital Verification Experiment (MOVE) team of the Technical University of Munich launched a stratospheric balloon carrying the current prototype of the fourth Cubesat satellite mission, MOVE-III . The goal of the balloon launch was to test the current status of the systems of the future MOVE-III satellite. These have been almost completely revised since the first test flight in June of this year, both from the hardware and software sides. Unlike the last balloon launch, this time a GlobalStar module flew along, which is a communications module based on a network of GlobalStar satellites. This was provided by the company OroraTech  and sends the current GPS data of the balloon every five minutes, so this time no external processing of position data was necessary anymore.
After the final permission for the flight of the stratospheric balloon had been received from the Munich tower, it took off at 9:30 am. Approximately 100 minutes later, the balloon burst as planned at an altitude of 34.4 kilometres, whereupon it flew back towards the earth, braked by the parachute. After a total flight time of about 5 hours, it landed in a field near Schnaitsee. To ensure that the satellite prototype survived the landing safely, it was placed in a polystyrene gondola that was attached to the helium-filled balloon with a rope. To recover the satellite prototype, the recovery team simulated the expected landing site daily during the week of the balloon launch. Using the simulations and live position data sent from the satellite, the prototype was then recovered without damage.
Selina Weber, student director of MOVE, comments, "Overall, the balloon launch was quite successful. This is because a first look at the data collected during the flight showed exactly the sensor data we had hoped for. This brings us another step closer to our goal of a functioning satellite that can perform measurements of submillimeter space debris as well as micro-meteoroid particles in space. The GoPro that flew with us also captured many great images, showing for example the campus of the Garching Research Center or the view towards Earth from an altitude of more than 34 kilometres."
A selection of these pictures as well as some pictures of the balloon launch can be found in the attachment. You are of course welcome to use them.
Matti Ukkola, also Student Director of MOVE, adds, "The goal of the MOVE-III mission is to validate and improve current space debris models, thus contributing to the characterization of the space environment in low Earth orbit. However, until the satellite is ready for deployment in space, all systems must be thoroughly tested. Bringing the satellite prototype to an altitude of more than 30 kilometres by means of a stratospheric balloon is the best way to test it in use before it is launched into space, due to the space-like conditions prevailing there."
Background: The MOVE student group is a student working group currently consisting of about 70 students from various faculties at the Technical University of Munich. It is currently working on MOVE-III, a small satellite (6U-CubeSat) that - once in space - will perform measurements of submillimeter space debris and micro-meteoroid particles. Space debris is created, for example, by collisions of defective satellites and is becoming an increasing problem due to the growing number of satellites in space. Even small particles with a diameter of less than one millimetre can damage solar cells and thus the power supply of other satellites or even the International Space Station . Small particles cannot be tracked by radars from Earth, so existing models for this rely on measurements in space . MOVE-III is expected to help improve the existing space debris models through its measurements. After the satellites, First-MOVE, MOVE-II and MOVE-IIb, the latter two of which are still operational in space , MOVE-III  is the fourth satellite developed by the student group.
Press contact of MOVE
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)