The Eirballoon project is part of the NANOSTAR project and the 100th anniversary of the ENSEIRB-MATMECA engineering school, based in Bordeaux (France), partner of the NANOSTAR consortium.

Due to COVID restrictions, the launch has been postponed to January 14th, with a backup date on the 21st, if the weather is bad or the air control is not ok.

During the month of November, a team composed of five students from the ENSEIRB-MATMECA engineering school will launch a sounding balloon to take pictures of Bordeaux from the sky and measure properties of the atmosphere such as temperature, pressure or UV ray level. All these parameters will be sent to the ground in real time using the LoRa protocol and displayed on social media. The balloon will reach about 30 km in altitude and will allow testing hardware (including the Lora module) in space conditions together with the ground station developed within the NANOSTAR project.

This is a great opportunity for the students to apply the skills provided in IoT and electronics.

Nigel IGNATOWICZ, a Master student in electrical engineering at ENSEIRB-MATMECA, is in charge of the radiofrequency link between the sounding balloon and the ground station, the integration of the on-board equipment, and the management of the project.

“I’ve always been passionate by space and all the projects that are related to it. This project was a great opportunity for me to be fully implied in such a project.

I started to work on the Eirballoon project in February and I found it very interesting since the beginning. This was an opportunity to learn a lot of new things and to apply the skills that have been taught to me during my studies at ENSEIRB-MATMECA.

I would like to thank Interreg SUDOE for the great opportunity the NANOSTAR project offered me.”

Nanostar is a 2014-2021 Interreg Sudoe project which allows university students to be part of a whole real space engineer project.

The nanosatellite standard is today used by many universities and companies to attract the best students and engineers, that supports the universities and industries competitiveness.

Several countries from the north of Europe have strongly invested in this approach, creating a commercial offer that has become very well positioned in the market. However, Southern Europe, despite its strong influence in the space sector, has only 14% of the projects in the European nanosatellite sector and no company created in this field.

The construction of a nanosatellite requires numerous tools and competences, which makes it an excellent training vector. However, it is necessary to have the appropriate experience, hence the need to work in a network and exchange experiences.

To support the emergence of such a dynamic environment in the south west of Europe, 7 universities and 2 aerospace clusters from France, Spain and Portugal proposed a collaborative project to link their resources, plus 3 ESA-BIC (Business Incubation Centres of the European Space Agency) as associates.

NANOSTAR: a network of excellence among universities, the regional industry and the scientific ecosystem in order to create a leading platform in Europe on nanosatellites.

The challenge of the project is to provide students with the experience of a real space engineering process that includes all stages, from conception and specifications, to design, assembly, integration, testing and documentation. That is, the whole process through a network that combines high-level engineering careers and entrepreneurial ventures in the area of ​​nanosatellites.

NANOSTAR will allow Southwest Europe to train students with a high level of skills in space engineering and project engineering, so that they are the future main players in the field of nanosatellites.