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Tohoku University Student Teams Won

2006 ARLISS Comeback Competition


Student teams from Tohoku Universityfs Department of Aerospace Engineering, the Graduate School of Engineering took 1st and 2nd places in the g2006 ARLISS Comeback Competitionh held from September 20 to 22 at the Black Rock Playa in Nevada, U.S.A.

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                                       Rocket launch in the sky


In this competition, each team develops a payload which has an autonomous capability to reach a designated goal within 1,050 gram total mass. The payload is launched in the sky up to 4,000 meters altitude by a solid-fueled rocket operated by the members of AEROPAC, an American armature rocketry association. In the competition the winner is determined by the distance how close the autonomous payload can come to the goal.


The payloads developed by Tohoku University students took a strategy to descent by a parachute from the sky, then after the soft landing on the desert, automatically separate the parachute, and run on the ground toward the goal using an on-board GPS-based navigation controller.


Tohoku team A, led by Mr. Sekiguchi, made a record of 6 meters from the goal after 3,000 meters of surface navigation from its landing point, and won the 1st place. Tohoku team B, led by Mr. Yoshikawa, made a record of 44 meters after 7,000 meters of surface navigation, and won the 2nd place.

The winning robot


The Comeback Competition has been held since the year 2002, co-hosted by UNISEC, University Space Engineering Consortium (Japan), Stanford University (USA) and AEROPAC (USA). This year, total 13 universities, from 4 different countries participated in this competition; including Japan, USA, Spain and South Korea. (South Korea was just an observer).


From 2006, Tohoku Universityfs Department of Aerospace Engineering offers@a new class for graduate students titled eExploring Aerospace Frontiers through Flight Testingf (Aerospace Frontier Program), as a part of hInitiative for Attractive Education in Graduate Schoolsh, promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)D


This class aims to foster creative young researchers who can take a leadership role in the future R&D by giving hands-on challenge and project driving opportunities, from which students would learn the importance of the cycle of flight tests and design improvements, and that of cooperation and communication among group members. The students participated in the Comeback Competition as one of the activities of this educational program.

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A snapshot before the launch


 The outstanding victory over other participants shows successful achievement of the eAerospace Frontier Programf, demonstrating the technology potential for future robotic exploration of a remote planet.


Furthermore, the experience in completing a mission under such severe conditions will be a great stepping stone toward advanced robotics technology not only for space exploration oriented applications but also for any of real-world oriented applications.




Contact: Public Relations and Information Office,

Graduate School of Engineering,

Tohoku University

Tel: +81-22-795-5898