PRINCETON, N.J. — Perle Systems is sponsoring a student group at the Technische Universität München (TUM) in their quest to build a liquid-fueled sounding rocket that will participate in international competitions to hit a target altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 m) as accurately as possible.

Scientific Workgroup for Rocketry and Spaceflight (WARR, Wissenschaftliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Raketentechnik und Raumfahrt), the largest student group at TUM, is focused on developing, testing, and launching experimental sounding rockets. Project Nixus, the latest challenge taken on by the motivated team of students, aims to design a liquid-fueled sounding rocket that will participate in student competitions, such as the Spaceport America Cup and the European Rocketry Challenge. Prizes are awarded for attaining specific target altitudes, the best technical report, the best design implementation, the most outstanding team cohesion and effort, excellence across the board, and flight precision.

“We are designing the rocket and all the electronics from scratch,” said Antonio Steiger, electronics team lead for Project Nixus. “As you can imagine, there is a lot of complex equipment that communicates, monitors, and coordinates a successful launch and flight. Every component we choose must undergo careful consideration in terms of suitability and placement. In our quest to find some critical device networking equipment, we approached Perle for sponsorship.” 

“Giving back through education and supporting students on their journey to learn is always a worthwhile effort,” said John Feeney, COO at Perle Systems. “Therefore, we are pleased to sponsor WARR with a Serial Device ServerIndustrial PoE Switch, and long-range Ethernet extenders.” 

The IOLAN SDG2 TX Device Server is used to facilitate RS485 data transmission and conversion between onboard rocket flight computers and the Ethernet ground infrastructure and monitoring software. 

“RS485 allows us to have, a simple wired connection from the rocket to the Chronos launchpad interface,” Steiger said.

 The IDS-108FPP Industrial PoE Switch supplies 30 watts of power to several IP cameras that monitor the rocket from the launch pad to provide important insights to the team of rocket scientists sitting in the ground control station.

Perle's TC Ethernet Extenders solve the problem of transmitting data over 1,000 meters between the control room and the launch pad. 

The system design is now complete and construction is underway.