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I have to say, the decision between having 2 months of summer holidays, enjoying the sun, and doing an internship in an office, wasn’t an easy one. But after 3 weeks at the Austrian Space Forum, I can say, that I definitely took the right decision.
My name is Sascha Thöny and I’m currently studying at the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), where I also heard about the OeWF for the first time. As a student of environmental, energy and process engineering, I first wasn’t sure, if I had the skills needed, to work in this field. But also, here I was convinced the opposite.
During my internship I’m embedded in the spacesuit electronics & computing team at the OeWF and currently I’m investigating new concepts for the thermal control system, a so-called TCS. Its function is to keep the Analog Astronaut warm in cold environments and keeping the temperature in a comfortable range in hot environments, as for example for missions in a desert. Further, the Analog Astronaut has to be provided with fresh air all the time.
What wouldn’t be a big challenge itself, gets interesting if all the requirements are regarded a bit more in-depth. Every subsystem in a space suit has very strict requirements in terms of weight, volume, and energy consumption. Every gram and every cubic centimeter needed for your system, has to be thoroughly analyzed and has to be justified.
My work at the moment includes conducting a lot of experiments and testing different potential systems. In the simplistic experimental setup below, I wanted to get a rough estimate of the air flow, which could be expected by the fan. Further, I checked the influence of the filters, which protect the Analog Astronauts from the sand in the deserts, on the pressure loss of the system.
As an intern at the OeWF, I have the chance to take a lot of responsibility and work independently. If I do however have questions or need information, everyone is glad to help out and support me with my tasks.
I’m really looking forward to the next 6 weeks of my internship and to all the challenges, I will have to face during my project.
Author: Sascha Thöny
- 23.05.2019 - 01.09.2019: Exhibition: Austria in Space – a country takes off!
- 26.09.2019 - 27.09.2019: Deutsche Astrobiologie Gesellschaft - 4th annual workshop
- 04.11.2019 - 06.11.2019: European Mars Conference
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