Conquering space is one of dreams of humankind. It is also the aim of students belonging to the Scientific Club of AGH Space Systems, which has been developing its ambitious projects since 2014. However, their solutions have also proved useful on Earth.

Research on space technologies can be applied not only in the space industry. Many initiatives, developed for the needs of space exploration, are being used on a daily basis. One of them is a Mars rover named Kalman, constructed by the Scientific Club of AGH Space Systems.
A mechanic arm
Kalman rover

Beyond man’s reach

How a vehicle used to examine the surface of Mars may prove useful on the Earth? The answer lies in its autonomous movement and the construction, allowing, among others, collecting samples used for later analysis. The rover will work in places where people cannot reach or where human life could be endangered
The interest of Kraków Airport in this project stems from the activities initiated within corporate social responsibility and the Aviation Education Center opened last year. Whereas, for students, it is an opportunity to further develop the possible uses of the rover.

From a lander to a Mars rover

In 2015, a group of seven AGH students – as the only team from Poland – won CanSat Competition in Texas, which was co-organized, among others, by NASA. The Polish students designed, built and tested a space lander, and in consequence, defeated 59 teams from all around the world.   After this spectacular victory, AGH Space Systems has been tirelessly working on other projects and continuing research on space technologies by developing rockets, probes, nacelles of stratospheric balloons and Mars rovers. Moreover, the team successfully takes part in other competitions, such as the Global Space Balloon Challenge or the European Rover Challenge.
The students are also invited to prestigious research entities such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). Currently, the scientific club consists of 60 people who have two workshops at their disposal. AGH Space Systems is working on new projects, receiving research grants, gaining investors and suport on crowdfunding platforms, with their solutions being successfully presented during various competitions. A Mars rover named Kalman (constructed by the Scientific Club of AGH Space Systems) has been in development with the support of Kraków Airport since last autumn.
The design of stratospheric balloon
A nacelle of stratospheric balloon and a biological experiment

At the interface of science and business

The concepts developed by AGH Space Systems, thanks to their innovativeness, are of interest to business entities. The aforementioned example of research commercialization is in this case the cooperation between the scientific club and Kraków Airport regarding the Mars rover.   The Kalman rover project is a continuation of research on autonomous vehicles that can be used to study the surface of other planets. It was named after an American engineer of Hungarian origin, whose solutions were adapted in the Apollo programme. Kalman’s predecessor was Phobos, a partially autonomous rover, which was able to create maps of the area surrounding it.   Kalman is a fully autonomous rover that differs from Phobos in terms of used materials, undercarriage and on-board computer. Although it was designed to, among others, obtain material samples, its ability to move through difficult terrain is also an asset on the Earth.  
Thanks to its design, Kalman can work in places dangerous for people. An example may be a rescue mission during an aircraft accident, when the rover could be used to look for missing people or moving heavy objects. Nowadays, the cooperation between Kraków Airport and AGH makes it possible for the students to continue their project. Mutual work of business and science provides, on the one hand, financial support for scientific units, so that they can develop modern technologies, whereas on the other, it allows transfer of knowledge to business and finding practical applications that can improve processes, facilitate difficult tasks and even save lives.   Mutual work of business and science provides not only financial support, but also the possibility to develop modern technologies that can improve processes in the future, and even save lives.