From the Arctic circle to lightness

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Enlarge the pictureLaunch of REXUS 25
(Image: DLR-CC BY 3.0)

For about a year, the student teams of Bremen, Munich and Jena have worked until this time: March 11, 2019, at 10:20 Central European Time (CET), the REXUS 25 research rocket was successfully launched from the Esrange space center near Kiruna, in northern Sweden. On board there were the experiments of the German teams and the students of the University of Gdansk and TU Eindhoven.

The rocket reached an altitude of about 80 kilometers during the flight, with no gravity for about two minutes. "The students designed, tested and built a rocket for research in the atmosphere, an experiment for medical applications and a new missile measurement system," Dr. Michael Becker, head of the REXUS / BEXUS space management program DLR . "We are now looking forward to the evaluation of the data."

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Enlarge the pictureThe GAME atmosphere glider
(Image: DLR CC-BY 3.0)

GAME – A glider for research in the atmosphere
Only 22 centimeters in length is the suitable glider for the space, the GAME team (Glider for atmospheric measurements and experiments) of Ernst-Abbe-University Jena designed. The aircraft will be used in the future to perform experiments and measurements in the atmosphere, such as the effect of cosmic radiation on the genetic material of cells and for climate research.

"We designed the aircraft so that it could be installed at the tip of the rocket and was released just before the peak of the flight," said Anna Maria Büchner, GAME team leader. "The mechanism for ejecting the device, the lightness of the glider and the communication technology were the biggest challenges and we are happy that everything worked so well". During the flight, the position, position and temperature were determined and sent to the ground station.

FORAREX: Learning from single-celled organisms for human medicine
Foraminifera are small single-celled organisms, of which almost all species have a lime wrap. Their small case is of great interest for the study of mineralization processes, for example in the human bone substance. The calcareous shell is also important for the pharmaceutical industry: since its structure has many tiny chambers, it can serve, for example, as a model for tablets that can provide controlled drugs.

"We want to further investigate the organisms in our FORAREX (Foraminifera Rocket Experiment) experiment and analyze how cells behave in weightlessness," explains Nils Kunst of the University of Bremen. "For the experiment, we have designed a life support system that provides foraminifers at optimal environmental conditions before, during and after the flight."

Tomorrow's space travel technology
The objective of the FLOMESS (Flight Loading Measurement System) Team of the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich is to measure the structural loads acting on the sound rocket during take-off and flight. Above all, the elongation of the rocket is measured. The results serve to make research rockets more efficient in the future and to allow a higher payload ratio during commercial spaceflight.

Space research and satellite technology on REXUS 26
On March 18, 2019, the second search campaign for the double campaign will begin with REXUS 26. On board there are the experiments of the students of TU Braunschweig, of TU Berlin, of Lulea University of Technology, of the Royal Institute of Technology KTH and of Wroclaw University of Science and Technology.

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Enlarge the pictureThe ELVIS experiment
(Image: DLR CC-BY 3.0)

Understand Saturn's rings
The ELVIS team (Exploration of the Saturn collision rings at low speed) of TU Braunschweig wants to come with its experiment on the formation of Saturn's rings on the runway. The objective is to understand how the larger structures are created by the collision of individual dust particles.

In the experiment, students study the behavior of small glass spheres that simulate particles in Saturn's rings. In the absence of gravity, the spheres in an experimental chamber are shaken so that they collide. If the collision speeds are sufficiently low, the particles will adhere to each other and form clumps. The team now wants to explore what dimensions these clumps can grow and under what collision conditions collisions must take place.

Innovative control of the set-up for micro satellites
The payloads of modern mini satellites, the so-called CubeSats, are becoming increasingly demanding and require a more precise and flexible attitude control. The TUPEX-6 team (Technical University Berlin Picosatellite Experiment – 6) of TU Berlin wants to test an innovative technology that is not based on conventional wheel systems but on channels (Picosatellite Fluid-Dynamic Actuators, pFDA), through which the metal is pumped liquid, By changing the flow rate, it is possible to adjust the satellite position. One of the advantages of the system is space savings compared to previous technologies thanks to its flexible shape and therefore more space available for payloads.

For the experiment, the team designed a model of a CubeSat with an onboard pFDA control system and developed an ejection mechanism for rocket separation.

REXUS and BEXUS: a program for young scientists
The German-Swedish REXUS / BEXUS program (rocket / balloon experiments for university students) allows students to gain practical experience in the preparation and implementation of space projects. Their suggestions for experiments can be presented annually in October.

MORABA / Thomas Schleuß

Enlarge the pictureREXUS 25 immediately after the start
(Image: MORABA / Thomas Schleuß)

The invitation of this year will be published in mid-2019. Half of the payload of rockets and balloons is available for German university and college students. The Swedish space agency SNSA has opened the Swedish section for students from other member states of the European ESA Space Agency.

On the German side, project management takes place under the supervision of the experiments of the Center for Applied Space Technology (ZARM) in Bremen. The air campaigns will be conducted by EuroLaunch, a joint venture between DLR Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA), which is responsible for providing missile systems, and the Esrange space center of the Swedish space company SSC, which has the launch infrastructure . The program management is based on the management of the DLR space in Bonn.

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