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Interview with Petar Marčetić from AS Beograd

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Petar is a third-year student of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and project coordinator of the winning team of Airbus Sloshing Rocket Workshop (ASRW) in Belgrade, Serbia. Since childhood, he likes to make things and spend his free time in the workshop. When he was little that was the workshop of his grandfather, now when is at faculty that is a team workshop. While working in the team he got the opportunity to combine his two great loves, aviation and manufacturing.

1. Why did you want to participate in ASRW and be part of project Aurora 3?

One of the very interesting things about ASRW is the topic of the competition and the possibility to deal with it with several things on one project, i.e. to design our own rocket and deal with fluid dynamics, designing a more complex system than usual. The very realization of the project Aurora 3 was a very big challenge for me because I wanted to try at leading a group of people and go through the entire development process and the rocket for the competition.

2. How is this project different from the others you participated in?

One of the biggest differences from other projects is certainly the small number of people, where each member represents a special branch in mechanical engineering and where each member is indispensable and very important, for everything to function well. Another difference is the small budget of the project, which allows for very quick implementation of solutions, as large funds are not required. The materials themselves are very easy to obtain, which allowed us to be made very quickly rocket and in case something was not right, it allowed us to find out very quickly and change it. All this allowed us to see what the development of something should actually look like. Another very important difference is the time for which the project should be realized. The previous projects I worked on were mostly one or two-year projects, where we had enough time to devote to the project, examine all the situations, and think carefully about every part of the project, however with this project the time was limited to a few months. Ideas had to be adopted quickly, which could very easily lead to some errors. Therefore, a lot of knowledge and experience was needed to avoid those mistakes at the start, and to realize the project well.

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3. Did you encounter any new challenges as a project coordinator that you did not face before?

As a project coordinator, I had a very important task. In addition to my task on the project, wich was production, I had to make sure that the other members completed their tasks on time. The organization was certainly an important item, i.e. the organization of meetings, the assignment of tasks and deadlines, and making sure that it was done within the given deadlines so that the project would proceed according to the given dynamics. The biggest challenge was being a coordinator because that brings with it a certain amount of responsibility, care, and stress, so that part of the process was the most demanding for me, because in case something doesn't go according to plan, the coordinator is responsible for finding a solution as soon as possible.

4. What can be learned in the design and production of a rocket glider?

This project gives you the opportunity to learn a lot because, in addition to being cheap, one of the conditions is the availability of materials, and you also have a lot of freedom to experiment with solutions and to go through the process from idea to realization of something very quickly and to see what is a good solution and what is not. Of course, this rule is a double-edged sword, as it has both good and bad sides. You are limited by the price, which greatly narrows the choice, but gives you the opportunity to use creativity and imagination and find the most optimal solution for the given price. We as a team have learned a lot, how to use cheap materials, how to combine them with other cheap materials, and at the same time get the desired performance of a part. Also, we had the opportunity to learn how to make parts precisely, quickly, and modularly for the lowest possible price so that they are as easily replaceable as possible. The most important thing I think we learned as a team is the importance of experiments. Even though a solution is good and well thought out, it does not necessarily mean that it will be functional. The fact that sometimes the agreement between theory and real situations can sometimes be very large, is why it is very important to devote ourselves to the experimental part of each task. As a team, we learned a very important lesson, which is that a simple solution is the most beautiful solution and that we should not focus so much on the appearance of something and whether something is beautiful to the eye because if something works, it is beautiful to the eye.

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5. How did you spend your time at the competition in Terrassa and what will you remember the most about it?

It was great at the competition itself. We had the opportunity to meet members of other teams from different countries, through socializing we made rockets and helped each other. The experience was unforgettable. I really liked the system and organization of the competition, where we had time for other activities, to get to know the culture of Spain and Terrassa.

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