Today, the “space race” might be over, but the fight over space is not. Everybody wants to reach for the stars, including Europe. But to position itself successfully in the global competition and to keep up with international competitors, the European aerospace industry has to further develop new technologies with future potential in order to secure Europe’s independent and affordable access to space in the long run. This is where solutions such as reusable rocket carrier systems come into play. The research team around the SUNRISE project (SUstainable depeNdable Rocket propulsion by Intelligent Sensing) is working on a future-oriented data collection concept for exactly these solutions.

The potential of reusable rocket carrier systems

To date, rocket carrier systems are mainly one-use products, the loss of which is accepted when launching a rocket. However, reusable carrier systems would not only be the more sustainable solution for our climate and environment, but also the more economically efficient way to save money in the aerospace industry in future applications. As a result, communication and earth observation technologies that are dependent on the aerospace industry can be made available to a broader customer base and access to space can be secured.  

The first step towards a more efficient aerospace industry is the intelligent regulation of rocket carrier systems, which can be used to collect key data and analyze it in order to optimize the operation and duration of existing carrier systems. This will enable the development of dependable, intelligently controllable and reusable carrier systems in the long run.

A literal SUNRISE on the European aerospace sky

The project SUNRISE is financed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and led by Manuel Freiberger of the Trustworthy Adaptive Computing research unit at SAL. Within this framework, SAL and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) work together to find ways for the intelligent regulation of rocket carrier systems both in-use and on the test bench via artificial intelligence (AI). These AI technologies will be the basis for effective processing and analysis of carrier systems data. This way, an intelligent and dependable sensing concept can be developed, which in turn is essential for the big end goal of reusable rocket carrier systems and their development and test environments. 


This project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).