Following a workshop, held 3-5 February at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, 10 student teams from ESA Member States and Co-operating States have been selected to fly their experiments on future sounding rocket and balloon campaigns.
After the initial call for proposals for future REXUS/BEXUS (Rocket/Balloon EXperiments for University Students) flights was issued in September 2008, ESA’s Education Office received entries from 20 teams, of which 15 were chosen to attend the pre-selection workshop at ESTEC.
The main objective of the workshop was for the shortlisted teams to give 20-minute presentations of their projects in front of experts from ESA, the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), as well as the other student participants. In addition to providing expert input for the development of the projects, this enabled other students to ask questions that could help in their own research.
This year, as on previous occasions, many of the selected experiments focus on innovative ideas for technology demonstration that are relevant to future space applications and science investigations.
The selection board was most impressed by the wide diversity of experiments presented, which ranged from deployment of space webs, landers, gliders and low gravity platforms, to measurements by cosmic ray detectors and ship tracking receivers. The workshop programme also offered the students insights into project skills and media relations. Other highlights were tours of the ESA Test Centre at ESTEC and the Erasmus Centre for the International Space Station.
The final experiment selection has been announced and the following teams were recommended for the next series of REXUS/BEXUS flights.
- Suaineadh (UK/Sweden): To deploy a large net and stabilise it by exploiting centrifugal forces and a reaction wheel.
- LAPLander (Sweden): Light Airbag Protected Lander - a small ejectable payload with data collection, airbraking, impact protection and recovery systems.
- BUGS TEAM (Italy): Boom for University Gravity-Gradient stabilised Satellites - test / verification of a satellite boom for a student CubeSat.
- AAUSAT3 (Denmark): Test/validation of an Automatic Identification System receiver for a student CubeSat.
- CRIndIons (Czech Republic): Measurement of Cosmic Ray Induced Ionisation (a follow-on from TimePix on BEXUS-07).
- reel.SMRT (International): Experimental reusable gravity research platform for high altitude balloons.
- SPACEFISH (Spain): Experimental evaluation of a high-performance, fish-shaped re-entry vehicle.
- SO-HIGH (Belgium): A "weather report" experiment using MEMS built with Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology.
- FORce Line COMPASS (Italy): Calculating and Observing Magnetic Polar field intensity in the StratoSphere and force-line direction.
- SCOPE (Poland): Stabilised Camera Observation Platform Experiment Stabilisation and control system using COTS components.
Since the programme began, a large number of students have been given the opportunity to develop their experiments for flight on REXUS and BEXUS, enabling them to receive training from experts in the field and to gain significant hands-on experience in the design, development and operation of space-related projects.
The BEXUS 8 and 9 balloons will be launched in October 2009, whilst the REXUS 7 and 8 sounding rockets are scheduled to launch in March 2010. All flights will take place from Esrange Space Centre in northern Sweden.