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Conference Papers Year : 2022

Catch me if you can! The Rise of Smartcatcher


In 2016, the Universite de Rennes 1 officially joined the CNES pedagogical project PERSEUS in order to stimulate interest in innovative research and entrepreneurship. On-campus activities undertaken without the stress of formal examinations help build self-confidence in students as they are encouraged to propose their own solutions under the supervision of teachers who act more like coaches. Projects are carefully designed to suit a wide range of levels and backgrounds, allowing students to take risks, fail and persevere and thus acquire soft skills that are decisive in professional life but difficult to learn through traditional education. The hands-on approach of PERSEUS paradoxically brings out the importance of academic knowledge when solving complex issues, much more convincingly than classes and textbooks. To facilitate interactions between students, all PERSEUS projects of the Universite de Rennes 1 were grouped together in 2021 at the Pole de Mecanique et Technologies on the Campus de Beaulieu. The Project Lab is a new facility set up with financial supports from CNES, Region Bretagne, Rennes Metropole and Universite de Rennes 1, where participants have easy access to a whole range of prototyping, CNC milling, 3D-printing and additive manufacturing machines. The room is equipped with computers, a large interactive touch screen for brainstorming sessions and video-conferences, high top desks and stools as well as a cosy corner for free-flowing discussions and business lunches. The Rennes team is involved in several projects: SERA, Astreos, MiniApterros and SmartCatcher. The latter is a ground active landing system proposed by ArianeWorks to securely catch a reusable rocket stage equipped with grid-fins, by means of 4 mobile cables whose positions are accurately determined during the last seconds of descent through a frame equipped with detectors. The first 1/10 scale prototype was commissioned by ArianeWorks to myCTO, now Sparkmate, and delivered to the University of Rennes 1 in autumn 2019. Over the last two years, it has been improved by students, mainly from the Masters degree in Mechanics and Mechatronics. The first step consisted in constructing mathematical and FEM models capable of simulating the behaviour of the system depending on physical parameters such as dimensions, stage mass, velocity, etc. Modifications to the initial prototype were studied, designed and implemented, in particular to make it easily dismountable and transportable, using limited machined parts and more on-theshelf components for easy manufacturing and maintenance. Simulations of the catching scenarios were programmed in a Python code. Two students from the Masters degree in Mathematics, Computational Science and Modelling further developed and implemented the detection and catching of a model rocket, first using a Python code, then a faster version in C, able to control in real time the 1/10 SmartCatcher mobile cables. Details of the work realized by the students under the joint supervision of the teaching staff, as well as current developments, will be presented at the EUCASS 2022 conference.
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Dates and versions

hal-04194269 , version 1 (02-09-2023)



Mariko Dunseath-Terao, Rust Jonas, Garnier Pierre, Antoine Le Gall, André Félix, et al.. Catch me if you can! The Rise of Smartcatcher. 9ᵀᴴ EUROPEAN CONFERENCE FOR AERONAUTICS AND SPACE SCIENCES (EUCASS), EUCASS, Jun 2022, Lille, France. ⟨10.13009/EUCASS2022-7671⟩. ⟨hal-04194269⟩
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