Thestias is Pollux’s first project: a balloon that will fly into the stratosphere and collect important data to aid future launches. The payload, contained by the stratospheric balloon, is entirely Pollux’s own and during the flight it will measure, in real time, atmospheric temperature and pressure variations according to factors such as altitude, location or vertical and horizontal accelerations to better understand the balloon’s flight profile.
Thestias intends to highlight the potential of university students in the execution of a highly demanding project, which follows international standards aimed solely at space – European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS’s). Like all space projects, Thestias is regulated by several reviews, which are highly relevant milestones for the approval/or not of the project. Once the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and Critical Design Review (CDR) have been completed, the Acceptance Review (AR) will follow, at which point the construction of the balloon will begin, and finally the Launch Readiness Review (LRR).
Having a multi-faceted team with different backgrounds, the Thestias work team is divided between engineering and coordination groups – working groups (CWP – Control Work Package).
The CWP0 is the team responsible for coordinating the project and performs tasks in management, budgeting, partnering with stakeholders, meeting quality standards and resolving internal issues.
CWP1 corresponds to the structural team in charge of the development, assembly and effective incorporation of the gondola and payload. The team is also responsible for performing thermal and structural simulations.
CWP2, the systems team, is responsible for the design and implementation of the payload power supply and data acquisition systems and for sending these to the ground station in real time via the communications system. The data acquisition system calculates in real time quantities measured during the flight.
CWP3 brings together an engineering team and a legal team. The balloon engineering team, the CWP3, is in charge of all the components associated with the balloon such as the projection of the stratospheric balloon, the estimate of helium to be used, the launch trajectory of the balloon and parachute, etc. The legal team is responsible for obtaining the necessary licenses and permits to fly.
The communications team at CWP4 is responsible for the telemetry system – remote measurement and communication, the communication system in the gondola, and the communication system at the ground station that must operate via antennas with a LAN network.