APPLICATION STORY

          

          
  Rockets use radio modem technology


HE Starchaser Foundation, together with Radio Data Technology
are not only chasing stars, it’s about to reach them. 
The most recent and very successful launches of the SHARP and
Starchaser-Discovery rockets in Morecambe Bay in July, is proof
that the RDT RM9600 radio modem series is cutting edge technology.

The RDT RM9600 modem was used as the key element of a telemetry
system in SHARP (supersonic high altitude research project) and
Discovery, which sent back vital information including height and speed
of the rocket to the control station. The modems also enable ground
control to control the flight of the rocket.

The Starchaser programme was the brainchild of internationally acclaimed
rocket engineer, Steve Bennett. He said the rockets reached over 600 mph
and nearly 20 000 feet; the telemetry never missed a beat.

Radio Data Technology specialises in the design, manufacturing and
marketing of advanced radio based data communications and sub systems
for world markets. The company has a policy of not only supplying a quality
product, but also providing first class back up and support. RDT has a high
level of in-house RF and data handling expertise, allowing efficient customer
support and development of products to consumer specification.

Starchaser’s aim in building and launching a rocket series is to build
Thunderbird, a low cost single stage rocketship designed to carry ordinary
people on short sub-orbital pleasure flights into space.  Steve Bennett and
two other astruanauts will board Thunderbird in August 2003 and steer it
into space as the first civilians to do so. The aim, amidst strong
competition from other international competitors, is to win the $10 000 000
X-prize.

The X-prize was set up in 1996 in St. Louis, USA by a private consortium. It
was started to promote the opening of the space frontier to paying
consumers, and to bring about the existence of space tourism. It follows the
lead set by the early 'aviation prize competitions' (1905 to 1935) where
many different people design, constructed and flew a multitude of diverse
designs of aircraft to win cash-prizes. The same applies here, a cash prize
of $10,000,000 is on offer to the first non-governmental organisation to fly
thre people into space (100km up) and then safely back down.

The rules are simple:
* The vehicle must be privately funded and privately constructed meaning
that a large government cannot come in and win the competition in a manner
which does not lead to economically viable tourist capability

* To reach an altitude of 100km because it is beyond the official 50-miles
that the US Air Force recognizes as "worthy of astronaut wings" but not so
high that the reentry speed requires exotic heat shielding.

* The vehicle should fly three people so that X PRIZE registrants will be
designing vehicles which can turn around after the competition and begin to
generate revenue traffic following their certification.

* The same vehicle should fly twice within two weeks meaning that the cost
per reflight is only the cost of fuel and the limited "touch-labor" that can
be applied in this short period of time. Therefore, the cost per seat will
be reasonable and affordable to many.

As well as amassing a considerable amount of scientific data, the highly
successful Starchaser programme has broken many British records.

Collaboration with schools and colleges has been of benefit to education and
significant funds have been raised for charity. The programme continues to
grow as momentum gathers towards an orbital launch by 1 December 2001.
The Starchaser Foundation is located with the Joule Laboratory, Physics
Department at the University of Salford.
____________________________________________________

For more information, please contact:-

Charné Kemp
Tel: +44 (0)1376 501255
Fax: +44 (0)1376 502312
Email: ckemp@radiodata.co.uk
Website: www.radiodata.co.uk

October 2000

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