The most part of the UPM team is working in a research university institute (Instituto de Microgravedad “Ignacio da Riva”) which has a long experience in Space Systems with a multidisciplinary team working in mechanical design, structural analysis, thermal design and testing, etc. More particularly, IDR/UPM has participated as the responsible for the thermal analysis and design at system level in the three SUNRISE missions. The first one was flown in 2009 and the second one in 2013. The third flight of this balloon-borne solar telescope is currently under its design phase and is expected to be launched in June of 2022. IDR has continuously improved the methodology to apply space thermal design methods to the balloon-borne flights. A research line to characterize the thermal environment and to standardize the thermal analysis is currently ongoing.

In order to get a multidisciplinary team for the BEXUS program a collaboration with other institutes from the UPM has been established. STRAST (Real-Time Systems and Architecture of Telematic Services) is a group specialized in electronics and computing. These two institutes have been working together for a long time. A good proof of it is the successful launch of the UPMSat-2 microsatellite in 2020, which was design by both groups and tested in the IDR facilities.

Prof. Isabel Pérez Grande would be the professor in charge of the team. She is a Full Professor at UPM, teaching Thermodynamics and Spacecraft Thermal Control. At UPM she is Head of the research group Aerospace Development and Testing since 2005, she has co-authored more than 40 papers in refereed journals, and she participated in both SUNRISE missions as thermal engineer.

In addition, the team would be technically advised by:

  • Prof. Ángel Sanz-Andrés (Aerodynamics).
  • Prof. Santiago Pindado (Anemometry)
  • Dr. Lilian Peinado (Thermal Design).
  • Prof. Victor Muntean (Fluid Mechanics).
  • Prof. Javier Cubas (Attitude Determination).
  • Prof. Juan Zamorano (Software).
  • Prof. Javier Malo (Electronics).
  • Prof. Javier Pérez (Mechanical Design).

The idea of this experiment comes from a research program in the IDR linked to some of the working team member’s thesis related to the thermal environment characterization for improving the thermal design of these platforms. The IDR has already participated in several stratospheric balloon missions (SUNRISE I, II and III) as well as space missions such as Solar Orbiter, ExoMars, etc. Regarding this specific application, several scientific publications show the work done by the team members and the professor involved in this proposal:

  • Pérez-Grande, I., Sanz-Andrés, A., Bezdenejnykh, N., Farrahi, A., Barthol, P., & Meller, R. (2011). Thermal control of SUNRISE, a balloon-borne solar telescope. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 225(9), 1037-1049.
  • González-Llana, A., González-Bárcena, D., Pérez-Grande, I., & Sanz-Andrés, Á. (2018). Selection of extreme environmental conditions, albedo coefficient and Earth infrared radiation, for polar summer Long Duration Balloon missions. Acta Astronautica, 148, 276-284.
  • González-Bárcena, D., Fernández-Soler, A., Pérez-Grande, I., & Sanz-Andrés, Á. (2020). Real data-based thermal environment definition for the ascent phase of Polar-Summer Long Duration Balloon missions from Esrange (Sweden). Acta Astronautica, 170, 235-250.
  • Peinado, L., Muntean, V., & Perez-Grande, I. (2020). A free convection heat transfer correlation for very thin horizontal wires in rarefied atmospheres. Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science.
  • Peinado Pérez, L., Ayape, F., Fernández-Soler, A., Martín, J., González-Bárcena, D., Muntean, V., and Pérez-Grande, I. 2021. Experiments of the Prototype for a Stratospheric Balloon-Borne Heat Transfer Laboratory. P. 12 in 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES).

In addition, experience gathered during the thermal analysis and design of SUNRISE balloon missions have revealed the need for a deep study of the ascent phase as well as the potential convective heat transfer at the floating altitude.

Due to the large experience of IDR in the anemometry field carrying out calibration for the industry, some research lines are ongoing on the performance of this kind of instruments at low pressures. An anemometry equipment would be on-board the experiment not only for obtaining the relative velocity but also for validating the use of this instruments and correlating their measurements at low pressures. The idea of the Nadir sensor experiment comes from a doctoral dissertation (cited later) where the process of creation and validation of a Nadir Sensor based on passive infrared sensors is described.

The main idea is to redesign this sensor and use it for stratospheric flight. A. García Sáez, J. M. Quero and M. Angulo Jerez, “Earth Sensor Based on Thermopile Detectors for Satellite Attitude Determination,” in IEEE Sensors Journal, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 2260-2271, April15, 2016