Nine student teams have been selected by the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) and ESA to fly their experiments into space as part of the 2014-2015 German-Swedish REXUS/BEXUS programme. The selection follows a competitive workshop where 71 students from 14 different teams presented their projects to experts.
The winning experiments will be carried aloft from SSC Esrange Space Centre in northern Sweden during the next 18 months. The selected teams come from four ESA Member States and one Cooperating State. Additionally, DLR have selected eight German student experiments to be flown on the same launch vehicles.
REXUS/BEXUS stands for Rocket / Balloon EXperiments for University Students. The German-Swedish student programme has been running for 6 years. In that time, more than 500 students have been involved, launching 75 experiments on 10 rockets and 12 balloon flights. An additional two REXUS rockets will be launched in May 2014, carrying a total of eight experiments.
The latest round of selections took place at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from 3 to 5 December 2013. A panel of experts from ESA, the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), SSC, ZARM and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) evaluated the student proposals and oral presentations before choosing the most appropriate for inclusion on the flights.
As well as presenting their projects, the students also attended technical lectures and visited the International Space Station's Erasmus User Centre.
The successful WUSAT-SOLSPEC team issued a statement saying: “The team learned a lot from the extremely helpful and welcoming presenters and other participating teams and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This really improved our understanding of the requirements and our project will definitely benefit from that.”
WUSAT-SOLSPEC is designed for a REXUS rocket launch by University of Warwick, United Kingdom, to do Cubesat-based transit spectroscopy. The team will measure the Sun’s spectrum at different atmospheric path lengths and use the data as an analogy to the study of exoplanet atmospheres.
The other REXUS experiments are REM-RED, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), Hungary, which will determine the cosmic radiation and estimate its dose contribution; SCRAP, KTH Stockholm, Sweden, which will measure the atmospheric plasma interactions by creating a metallic micro particle cloud in the mesosphere; PHOS, University of Pisa, Italy, which will test a pulsating heat pipe in reduced gravity conditions; and Gekko-R, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary, which will measure the ion distribution in the middle atmosphere.
BEXUS balloons are for those experiments that need to be performed in the stratosphere. The BEXUS selected experiments include GranaSAT, which will perform attitude control for a microsatellite based in a StarTracker, in combination with magnetic field measurements, from University of Granada, Spain; POLARIS, University of Padova, Italy, who will test a new technology radiator by using active materials; TORMES 2.0, UPC Barcelona, Spain, who will use reflectometric measurements to compute a precise 3D topographic map; and A5-Unibo, Bologna University, Italy, will collect atmospheric data to validate theories about cloud formation.
For the selected teams, the hard work now begins. The REXUS/BEXUS programme incorporates a project life cycle similar to that of a space mission. This includes preliminary, critical, integration and acceptance reviews; a thorough integration and testing campaign, followed by launch and follow-up activities.
The selected teams are now invited to a Student Training Week at SSC Esrange Space Centre from 3 to 7 March 2014. This will include lectures on relevant scientific and engineering topics, detailed explanations of the launch vehicle systems, tours of the facilities and 'Ask an Expert' discussion sessions. During this event each team will perform a preliminary design review.
The BEXUS 18/19 launches will take place in autumn 2014, whereas REXUS 17/18 will launch in spring 2015.
Notes for editors
For more information, please contact:
ESA Educational Programmes Coordinator
Email: Natacha.Callens @ esa.int
The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between DLR and the SNSB. The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through a collaboration with ESA. EuroLaunch, a cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for campaign management and the operation of the launch vehicles. Experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project.