The REXUS and BEXUS programmes offer opportunities for student experiments to be flown on sounding rockets and stratospheric balloons. Each flight will carry a payload consisting solely of student experiments.
The REXUS / BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
EuroLaunch, a cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles. Experts from ESA, SSC and DLR provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project.
REXUS is an unguided, spin-stabilised, solid-propellant, single stage rocket. The vehicle has a length of about 5.6 m and a diameter of 35.6 cm and the total available mass for student experiments is about 30 kg.
The BEXUS balloon has a volume of 12,000 m³ and a diameter of 14m when filled. The total mass available for the experiments is between 40 and 100 kg. The maximum altitude is 35km and the flight duration is 2-5 hours.
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 20 member states. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000 with an annual budget of about €4.28 billion / US$5.51 billion.
ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle.
ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.
GERMAN AEROSPACE CENTER
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the national center for aerospace, energy and transportation research of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its headquarters are located in Cologne and it has other multiple locations throughout Germany. The DLR is engaged in a wide range of research and development projects in national and international partnerships. In addition to conducting its own research projects, DLR also acts as the German space agency. As such, it is responsible for planning and implementing the German space programme on behalf of the German Federal Government. As a project management agency, DLR also coordinates and answers the technical and organizational implementation of projects funded by a number of German federal ministries.
Swedish National Space Board
The Swedish National Space Board (SNSB, Swedish: Rymdstyrelsen) is a Swedish government agency operating under the Swedish Ministry of Education and Science. SNSB distributes government grants to research and development, initiates research and development in space and remote sensing, and is the Swedish contact in international cooperation. SNSB has seventeen employees (2011) and its office is situated in the Solna Municipality, within the Stockholm urban area.
The Swedish space programme is mostly carried out through international cooperation. Out of a yearly budget of approximately 800 Mkr (80 M€), about 60% is used to support ESA programmes of importance to Sweden.The programme has included a sequence of satellite missions, both national ones and in cooperation with other nations.
In February 2013, a government audit was released by the Swedish National Audit Office which concluded that “Swedish space investment is distributed among multiple organizations that operate as stovepipes with no real communication between them and no common ambition.” While approximately 1 billion Swedish krona (US$158 million) is spent each year on Swedish space initiatives, the audit report calls for additional “government oversight of the European Space Agency (ESA) and a review of the Swedish Space Corporation’s structure and mission.”
Swedish Space Corporation
SSC (Swedish Space Corporation) is a comprehensive space company that has 40 years’ experience in helping space organizations, companies and research organizations to get access to space.
SSC provides specialized competence in space subsystems, space and satellite operations, rocket and balloon systems including experiment equipment, launch services, aerospace engineering services as well as airborne maritime surveillance systems. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries ECAPS and NanoSpace, SSC is also engaged in the development of environmentally friendly propulsion systems and micromechanical systems for space applications.
From its facility Esrange Space Center in Northern Sweden, SSC launches sounding rockets and high-altitude balloons for research in the areas of microgravity, astrophysics, astronomy and atmospheric studies.