May 27, 2022


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Student-built experiments launched on stratospheric balloons BEXUS 30 & 31


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Previous 7 days, 40 university pupils collaborating in the Rocket and Balloon Experiments for University Learners (REXUS/BEXUS) Programme experienced the amazing prospect to see their experiments introduced to the edge of room on board a stratospheric balloon.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme makes it possible for learners from universities and better education and learning colleges across Europe to have out scientific and technological experiments on investigate rockets and balloons. Each individual 12 months, two sounding rockets and two stratospheric balloons are launched, carrying experiments designed and designed by college student groups.

The Stardust group preparing their filter program for flight

The stratospheric balloons – called BEXUS – can carry experiments mounted in the balloon’s gondola to a highest altitude of 30 km, depending on complete experiment mass. The flight duration is 2-5 hours.

6 university student groups from ESA member states were being chosen by the Swedish Nationwide Area Company (SNSA) and ESA in December 2019 and got the opportunity to develop their thoughts into experimental equipment flown on the BEXUS 30 & 31 stratospheric balloons. They have been accompanied by 3 teams from Germany, which have been sponsored by the German Aerospace Middle (DLR).

Members of the SARIA staff putting in their inflatable antenna on the BEXUS 31 gondola

Around the class of the final two decades, the experiments have been developed, constructed, and tested by the pupil teams. The development time has been a calendar year for a longer time than in a regular BEXUS cycle. An originally prepared start marketing campaign for Oct 2020 had to be postponed because of to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an extra problem for the pupils to arrange their team, organize workshop accessibility and develop their experiment through the unsure moments of the pandemic. But the teams adapted pretty well to the new scenario, managed to continue to be organized and got their experiments ready in time for the launch campaign.

On 24 September, the student groups travelled to the Esrange Room Center, the place the start preparations started off instantly just after arrival. Experiments were being unpacked and ultimate checks were being accomplished by the student groups. Then the experiments were integrated into the BEXUS gondolas and had to undertake exams for compatibility with each individual other and with the balloons’ services methods.

College students of the ECO-Clever crew at their ground station through the BEXUS 30 flight

Immediately after 4 days of intensive screening, all experiments and the balloon units have been completely ready for the flight. On 29th of September, BEXUS 31 was the initially balloon released all through the campaign. Two SNSA/ESA teams were mounted in its gondola:

SARIA from the College of Porto, Portugal. The objective of the experiment is to perform Artificial Aperture Radar imaging of the ground encompassing the flight route. The experiment utilizes a commercially accessible Software program Outlined Radio and a self-crafted inflatable antenna.

STRATOSPOLCA from the University of Coimbra, Portugal. The objective of this experiment is to measure the sound-degree of gamma-ray qualifications radiation as a operate of the altitude.

They ended up joined by two DLR experiments:

Supporters from the Christian-Albrechts-College zu Kiel, Germany. The workforce as made a lightweight and compact instrument to establish the flux of quickly neutrons in the Earth’s ambiance.

MASS from the Hochschule München, Germany. The MASS experiment is tests rigidization procedures of inflatable constructions, that can most likely be made use of in area programs

Launch of BEXUS 30 stratospheric balloon

The launch of BEXUS 30 followed just a person working day afterwards, on the 30 September. It carried 4 SNSA/ESA experiment on board:

BoB (BAMMsat on BEXUS) from the Cranfield university and the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. The BoB group aims to supply a thermally managed and pressurised atmosphere within their experiment. This is a know-how demonstrator for a technique that allows to property organic samples for the duration of the flight in an extreme operational environment these kinds of as the earth’s stratosphere.

Stardust from the Gdansk College of Technological innovation, Poland. The experiment investigates the stratospheric microbiome. Applying a process of distinct filters, samples were being collected throughout the flight. An investigation of these samples is now performed to determine the written content of several species of micro organism in the stratosphere.

O-Zone from the University of Padua, Italy. The O-Zone experiment scientific tests air pollutants of anthropogenic and pure origin. For this, the experiment was collecting air samples at unique flight altitudes with a method of filters. The samples are analysed after the flight.

ECO-Smart from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The ECO-Clever experiment examines the major mechanisms that lead to Local weather Improve by measuring a vertical and horizontal distribution of the most critical greenhouse gases. Commercially out there small-cost sensors are utilized.

A single DLR sponsored experiment flew on BEXUS 31 as properly:

ELFI from the Hochschule Nordhausen, Germany. This Experiment is developed to capture electromagnetic waves in the really lower frequency band (3Hz up to 100Hz).

Inflation of BEXUS 31 stratospheric balloon

The two gondolas landed securely back on floor, carried by a parachute. BEXUS 31 expended a single day in the woods ahead of being recovered, though BEXUS 30 was recovered hours just after landing. It took a further working day to carry the gondolas again to Esrange, where the pupil teams received their experiments back and could obtain their onboard data or secure samples taked during the flight.

The groups can now get started to process their info and attract their conclusions. The following stage of the REXUS/BEXUS programme demands that the pupil teams submit a remaining variation of their documentation containing the benefits of their experiment.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme proceeds with the variety of new experiments. The simply call for proposals is currently open up and closes on 10 Oct 2021.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised less than a bilateral Company Agreement in between the German Aerospace Middle (DLR) and the Swedish Countrywide Room Company (SNSA). The Swedish share of the payload has been built accessible to pupils from other European international locations by a collaboration with the European Place Company (ESA). EuroLaunch, a cooperation involving the Esrange Place Centre of SSC and the Cellular Rocket Foundation (MORABA) of DLR, is accountable for the campaign management and operations of the launch motor vehicles. Experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA supply technical help to the scholar groups throughout the challenge. REXUS and BEXUS are introduced from SSC, Esrange Place Heart in northern Sweden.