von Hugh Wessel
A small group of STAR members travelled to Stuttgart last weekend at the invitation of KSat e.V., a longstanding student association at the University of Stuttgart. Over the course of a few days we had the opportunity to meet members of other space-oriented student groups from all over Germany and further afield; in addition to STAR, KSat hosted TUD-SAT from TU Darmstadt, ERIG from TU Braunschweig and Octanis from EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Following a punctual arrival on Friday afternoon, we were treated to a tour of DLR (German Aerospace Center) Institute of Structures and Design on their site nestled directly within the university’s Vaihingen campus. Following this, we headed into town to unwind in the pub Wirtshaus Troll. The next morning we were shown around the Aerospace Centre Baden-Württemberg as well as the various installations of the university’s Institute of Space Systems. In the control room we were able to catch a flyover of the institute's Flying Laptop and even transmit our own commands to the polar satellite. Afterwards, each group had the opportunity to present themselves and their projects, before a round of workshops, in which experience and advice for various themes, such as sponsorship and project management, were exchanged, and many new ideas generated. The day ended with dinner at a traditional Swabian restaurant, where we were able to sample such classic regional specialities as Käsespätzle (Swabian style pasta with cheese). After a Sunday morning breakfast in a café next to Stuttgart’s New Palace, we said our goodbyes and hit the road back to Dresden.
Overall, this gathering was a great success, and we are very grateful to our hosts at KSat for organising this weekend as well as giving us such a warm welcome and especially for providing accomodation. The main takeaway was that there exists a clear desire from all sides to develop stronger ties between space-oriented student groups. We at STAR are excited about the possibilities for future cooperation, and look forward to the next get-together, which is due to take place in Darmstadt in September.