ESA astronaut supports call for next REXUS/BEXUS experiments

Thomas Reiter during a spacewalk
28 October 2009

Few people are more familiar than Thomas Reiter with the opportunities offered by the European space programme to further research in science and engineering. Now, ESA’s most experienced astronaut has written an open letter encouraging European students to take part in the next REXUS/BEXUS campaigns.

Since 2007, university students have been able to fly their experiments as part of the German-Swedish REXUS/BEXUS programme (Rocket and Balloon Experiments for University Students). A dozen student teams have so far sent their experiments aloft on REXUS sounding rockets, while more than 20 teams have so far participated in the BEXUS campaigns.

The latest call for proposals was issued on 1 September 2009 and the deadline for entries is 16 November.

"As a student, this is your chance to send an experiment out to the edge of space on a research rocket or research balloon launched from the Esrange Space Center in Sweden," writes Thomas Reiter.

"We are looking for interesting and highly innovative ideas from different disciplines: atmospheric research, Earth observation, exobiology, investigation of cosmic radiation and technology tests for space travel."

"REXUS/BEXUS provides unique opportunities to apply the knowledge you have acquired during your university education and to gain new practical experience of preparing and implementing a real space project. I am sure this will not only enable you to hone your experimental skills, but also to gain valuable experience and competence in working with other people, assuming responsibility, organisation and project management."

"I’m really looking forward to hearing about your ideas,” he concludes. “I wish all participants lots of success, enjoyment and fun, and an unforgettable scientific and personal experience taking part in the REXUS/BEXUS programme."

Thomas Reiter, Astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA)
Thomas Reiter, astronaut of the European Space Agency

Thomas Reiter made history by spending almost an entire year in space during two long-duration missions on board Mir and the International Space Station. He has a Masters Degree in Aerospace Technology and is now a member of the Executive Board of the German Space Agency (DLR).

He is hoping to meet the teams selected for the next REXUS/BEXUS campaigns during the Student Training Week in March 2010. Reiter’s full letter can be read here.

The BEXUS 10 and 11 balloons will be launched in September 2010, followed by the REXUS 9 and 10 sounding rockets in March 2011.

For more information on the programme and how to apply, please visit

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