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

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04/10/2021
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Very last week, 40 college students taking part in the Rocket and Balloon Experiments for College Pupils (REXUS/BEXUS) Programme had the wonderful option to see their experiments launched to the edge of area on board a stratospheric balloon.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme allows students from universities and larger schooling faculties across Europe to carry out scientific and technological experiments on investigation rockets and balloons. Each and every calendar year, two sounding rockets and two stratospheric balloons are launched, carrying experiments designed and built by university student groups.

The Stardust staff planning their filter technique for flight

The stratospheric balloons – called BEXUS – can have experiments mounted in the balloon’s gondola to a optimum altitude of 30 km, based on whole experiment mass. The flight length is 2-5 hrs.

Six student groups from ESA member states have been picked by the Swedish National Place Agency (SNSA) and ESA in December 2019 and obtained the possibility to develop their ideas into experimental equipment flown on the BEXUS 30 & 31 stratospheric balloons. They were accompanied by three groups from Germany, which ended up sponsored by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Users of the SARIA team setting up their inflatable antenna on the BEXUS 31 gondola

Over the study course of the very last two several years, the experiments have been developed, built, and examined by the university student groups. The development time has been a calendar year for a longer period than in a usual BEXUS cycle. An originally planned launch marketing campaign for October 2020 experienced to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an added obstacle for the pupils to arrange their workforce, arrange workshop accessibility and establish their experiment throughout the unsure instances of the pandemic. But the groups adapted incredibly well to the new problem, managed to keep arranged and received their experiments completely ready in time for the launch marketing campaign.

On 24 September, the scholar groups travelled to the Esrange Room Centre, where the launch preparations begun instantly soon after arrival. Experiments were being unpacked and closing checks were being completed by the university student groups. Then the experiments were being built-in into the BEXUS gondolas and experienced to go through exams for compatibility with every other and with the balloons’ assistance programs.

Learners of the ECO-Smart workforce at their ground station for the duration of the BEXUS 30 flight

Just after four days of intensive testing, all experiments and the balloon methods were being completely ready for the flight. On 29th of September, BEXUS 31 was the to start with balloon introduced through the marketing campaign. Two SNSA/ESA groups ended up mounted in its gondola:

SARIA from the University of Porto, Portugal. The aim of the experiment is to accomplish Artificial Aperture Radar imaging of the ground surrounding the flight path. The experiment works by using a commercially available Software Defined Radio and a self-developed inflatable antenna.

STRATOSPOLCA from the College of Coimbra, Portugal. The objective of this experiment is to measure the sounds-stage of gamma-ray background radiation as a function of the altitude.

They were joined by two DLR experiments:

Supporters from the Christian-Albrechts-College zu Kiel, Germany. The workforce as developed a lightweight and compact instrument to identify the flux of fast neutrons within the Earth’s environment.

MASS from the Hochschule München, Germany. The MASS experiment is screening rigidization solutions of inflatable buildings, that can perhaps be utilized in space applications

Start of BEXUS 30 stratospheric balloon

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

BoB (BAMMsat on BEXUS) from the Cranfield college and the College of Exeter, United Kingdom. The BoB group aims to present a thermally controlled and pressurised ecosystem within their experiment. This is a technology demonstrator for a program that lets to household organic samples all through the flight in an excessive operational environment these as the earth’s stratosphere.

Stardust from the Gdansk University of Engineering, Poland. The experiment investigates the stratospheric microbiome. Working with a program of distinct filters, samples were being gathered all through the flight. An examination of these samples is now completed to establish the material of numerous species of micro organism in the stratosphere.

O-Zone from the College of Padua, Italy. The O-Zone experiment research air pollutants of anthropogenic and pure origin. For this, the experiment was collecting air samples at various flight altitudes with a program of filters. The samples are analysed following the flight.

ECO-Sensible from the College of Thessaloniki, Greece. The ECO-Intelligent experiment examines the primary mechanisms that lead to Weather Modify by measuring a vertical and horizontal distribution of the most crucial greenhouse gases. Commercially available reduced-charge sensors are employed.

One particular DLR sponsored experiment flew on BEXUS 31 as well:

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

Inflation of BEXUS 31 stratospheric balloon

Each gondolas landed safely back on floor, carried by a parachute. BEXUS 31 invested a single day in the woods prior to getting recovered, though BEXUS 30 was recovered hours following landing. It took another working day to convey the gondolas back again to Esrange, in which the student groups gained their experiments back and could down load their onboard data or protected samples taked throughout the flight.

The teams can now commence to procedure their details and draw their conclusions. The up coming phase of the REXUS/BEXUS programme requires that the college student groups post a final edition of their documentation containing the benefits of their experiment.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme carries on with the choice of new experiments. The contact for proposals is presently open and closes on 10 Oct 2021.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised beneath a bilateral Company Arrangement involving the German Aerospace Middle (DLR) and the Swedish National Area Agency (SNSA). The Swedish share of the payload has been manufactured out there to learners from other European nations by means of a collaboration with the European Place Company (ESA). EuroLaunch, a cooperation between the Esrange Area Middle of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Foundation (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign administration and functions of the start cars. Specialists from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA deliver specialized help to the college student groups throughout the undertaking. REXUS and BEXUS are introduced from SSC, Esrange Place Middle in northern Sweden.

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