How cooperation between student groups and universities opens new possibilities for both the students and institutes

2020-07-07T15:18:13Z (GMT) by Rico Nerger
There are many factors that present difficulties for potential student-run space related projects. Although there may be much willingness to work or commitment towards the subject, the long-term nature and complexity of space programs, together with the high costs, generally pose a barrier. Universities give their students many opportunities to gain scientific experience but are limited by their specializations and available funding. These limitations lead to a situation in which students generally cannot easily create new projects, at least not integrated into established structures. Many students want to participate in projects like REXUS/BEXUS but struggle to find like-minded peers, and so their ambitions fade away amidst university stress.In order to tackle the discrepancy between project ideas and motivation and the existing structures established at universities, a group of students in Dresden wanted to lay the groundwork for working on their own projects in their own way. As such, they decided to establish a student-led base for space education at the “Technische Universität Dresden” (TUD).The result was the formation of STAR Dresden. “STAR” is the acronym for “STudentische Arbeitsgruppe Raumfahrt Dresden” which translates to “Student Working Group for Astronautics”. The purpose of STAR is to provide a foothold for engaging in space projects of any kind,with an emphasis on independence from university bureaucracy.Taking as an example the projects of STAR and especially an OOXYGEN experiment, this paper shall demonstrate the importance of student-run projects and groups in universities. A group like STAR Dresden provides a great degree of freedom for both students and universities. A freedom which cannot be offered by the traditional modalities of introducing students to scientific work at university.OOXYGEN on BEXUS is a collaboration between STAR Dresden and the Institute for Applied Physics of TUD. This project shows how a collaboration between a student-led group and an institution of a university can be mutually beneficial.