ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet has installed the diamond-based quantum magnetometer of the UHasselt students of OSCAR-QUBE in the space station ISS. A few hours later, the UHasselt students, who could follow the installation live in the Space Applications Services Zaventem, received the first data about the magnetic field around the Earth.
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet has installed the diamond-based quantum magnetometer of the UHasselt students of OSCAR-QUBE in the space station ISS. A few hours later, the UHasselt students, who could follow the installation live in the Space Applications Services Zaventem, received the first data about the magnetic field around the Earth. "A fantastic moment of which we as a team are very proud. We are showing that our technology can also be used in space," says team leader Jaroslav Hruby.
The students of OSCAR-QUBE gave a great cry of joy when the red line representing the magnetic field on their computer screen began to move last night. The installation of the OSCAR-QUBE on board of the space station ISS was successful and the first data came in on the campus in Diepenbeek. "So much effort, so much work and suddenly everything fell into place. We got a nice, clear signal without any technical problems. This was what we were hoping for. An incredible moment," says Jaroslav Hruby, PhD student at imo-imomec, the integrated research institute of Hasselt University and imec.
It was French astronaut Thomas Pesquet (ESA) who installed the OSCAR-QUBE on board of the space station ISS. The students of OSCAR-QUBE were selected by the European Space Agency ESA within the Orbit Your Thesis project. As best of 10 participating teams of university students from Europe, the UHasselt students were chosen to carry out their experiment in space. Thomas Pesquet also took the time to take some selfies and even a video message with the magnetometer. "Fantastic to see. Thomas Pesquet is a very big name in space. The fact that he supports our project is unbelievable," says Sebastiaan Vanspauwen, who has just graduated as a Master's student in Industrial Sciences (UHasselt-KULeuven).
The OSCAR-QUBE of the UHasselt students will carry out measurements on board the ISS in the coming months and map the magnetic field around the Earth. During this time, the magnetometer will send data back to the UHasselt campus in Diepenbeek, after which the students will start working with it. "Our earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that is composed of several signals. These signals originate from sources such as the liquid earth's core, plate tectonics or large underground mineral reserves. There are also external sources such as solar storms. Our main goal is to prove that with our instrument we can decompose the measured signal into its different components and filter out disturbances caused by the space station. If we succeed, our technology will change the way magnetometry is performed in space," says Yarne Beerden, UHasselt physics student.
After its stay in the Space Station, the magnetometer will return to Earth via the SpaceX-CRS25 rocket. To this end, the students received financial support from numerous sponsors who are committed to the project. "We would like to thank Melexis, POM Limburg, Element Six, and SELECT SYSTEM for their support. The magnetometer is not only of great scientific value, but also a symbol that you can achieve a lot as a student. And even into space. With OSCAR-QUBE, we hope to inspire many other students to think big," says Teoman Köseoglu, bachelor student Industrial Sciences (UHasselt-KULeuven).
OYT! is an ESA educational project that is part of the ESA Academy programme for university students. The project aims to give students practical experience of the full life cycle of a real space project in order to better prepare and qualify them for a career in the European space sector.