Wednesday kicked off with a presentation on Thermal Design by Mark ‘Fitts’ Fittock who managed to keep everyone’s attention with an onslaught of hilariously poor sci-fi related jokes.  The teams then participated in another few sessions regarding data handling and REXUS experiment design before another very meaty lunch!  An eventful afternoon began with the team being taken on a tour of the International Space Station’s Columbus Lab Control Centre where the ground operations team communicate with astronauts orbiting the earth at 7.6 km/s.  That’s like, 27756 km/h!  The control centre is used to co-ordinate the astronauts’ schedules and act as a main point of contact for anyone aboard the ISS.  Following the tour, the iSEDE team joined the rest of the BEXUS programme for the ‘Ask your Expert – Electronics’ session with Koen DeBeule and Torbjörn Eld.  This proved very useful,  as we were able to quiz the experts on anything we couldn’t already figure out ourselves (which is a lot, by the way…).  The day’s formalities came to an end with presentations from each REXUS team about their experiments.   In the evening we were fed at dinner with even more meat (Bavaria is amazing) at Gasthof Dietrich.  Afterwards, the Italian CWIS team decided to declare war on the rest of the world and a bloody snowball battle ensued, leading us late into the evening and eventually readying us for bed!


Day 4 again began with our Daily Bavarian Lecture by Alexander Schmidt who taught us the phrase: “Mächtig Hoiz vor da Hüttn”.  This roughly translates to “She has much wood in the front of her cottage…”; take from that what you will but we can assure you, the room was in hysterics.  Mr Schmidt also informed everyone that it was the 5 year anniversary of the Columbus ISS module and that we would be heading to the Deutsches Museum Flight Schleißheim, a renowned aerospace museum located near Munich that evening for dinner.  As you can imagine, this spurred quite a bit of excitement in the room, but first our tired eyes had to deal with a morning of lectures.  Lucio Scolamiero finished off before lunch with a very interesting talk on space mechanisms. 
After lunch we joined the rest of the BEXUS teams for two more tours; to check out DLR’s robotics research lab and another where we would get to see the research aeroplanes kept on site.  I cannot begin to describe how cool the stuff they have in the robotics lab was.  ‘Engineering porn’, is about as close to summing it up as we’ll get I guess…  I mean, check out the giant robot arm behind us!  After being dragged away from all the cool robotics, we got shown around a massive hanger which contained DLR’s research planes.  The rest of the afternoon was taken up by the Mechanical Ask your Expert session and an Outreach Workshop.

And so, following our day at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), we excitedly boarded the coach and headed off to Deutsches Museum Flight Schleißheim.  When we arrived, everyone was in sheer awe at the number of aircraft held there, and we soon found out we’d be joined by a number of Very-VIP guests.  Léopold Eyharts, one of the ESA astronauts that accompanied the Columbus lab on its journey to be commissioned on the ISS, started the night’s proceedings with an overview of the full Columbus mission from its launch aboard the Atlantis shuttle.  This was followed with a talk by the head of Columbus’ ground operations and an inspirational speech by ESA’s Director of Manned Spaceflight.  Finally, before the celebrations began, Léopold Eyharts was joined by fellow astronaut, Pedro Duque (pictured above with the team), for an eye-opening Q&A session.

 Dinner was located in a spectacular location in the museum’s largest hanger between many, many aircraft from across the past century and a half.  Plenty of meat and beer was consumed (as we’d become accustomed to through the week) and an awesome night ensued.  We had the chance to meet an astronaut face to face, seen more planes than any of us had ever seen before in our lives and concluded that this was probably the coolest thing we’d ever done…  What a night.

Surprisingly, everyone managed to make it out of bed and into DLR on Friday, despite the previous night’s festivities.  The Friday was used to look back upon the full training week, provide feedback and then to look ahead to the next meeting at the Critical Design Review (CDR) stage in May.  The day concluded at lunchtime and the team left the German Aerospace Centre for the last time that week.  On Saturday, we travelled home to begin the next stage of design and testing - excited by the opportunity to implement the suggestions of the experts to prepare for the CDR.

The full iSEDE team are incredibly appreciative of the organisation and delivery of the Student Training Week at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen.  It provided us with a fantastic opportunity to improve and progress our experiment design and move onto the next stages of the project with a much wiser outlook.  Not only that but we have met many great people, saw some seriously awesome things, learned so much and had a very enjoyable time experiencing Bavarian culture!  

We’ll try keep all our followers updated as much as possible through the blog over the coming months as we continue with the hard part – actually building this thing!