Purpose of the flight and payload description

BEXUS which stands for Balloon Experiments for University Students is a project part of the REXUS/BEXUs initiative that allows students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe and more recently also Canada to carry out scientific and technological experiments on stratospheric research balloons. The basic idea behind BEXUS is to provide an experimental space platform for students in different areas of interest such as atmospheric research, fluid physics, magnetic field, materials science, radiations physics, astrophysics, biology and also to serve as a platform for new technology demonstrations.

Each year, two balloons are launched from the European Space Range (ESRANGE) base near Kiruna, Sweden each carrying several experiments assembled on a medium-sized gondola (1.16 m x 1.16 m x 0.84 m). The total lifted-mass is approximately 300kg on each flight. With each payload weighing between 30 and 112 kg that means that 4 student experiments can be accomodated per gondola.

The first five flights of the program were carried out under sponsorship of the Swedish Space Corporation that offered available space on yearly technological flights carried out at ESRANGE. Since 2008, BEXUS is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA). The Swedish share of the payload is made available to students from other European countries through a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). EuroLaunch, a cooperation between ESRANGE and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is the organism responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles.

On each cycle of the initiative, experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM (Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity, University of Bremen) and ESA provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project. It begins with a Call for Proposals, followed by a condensed space project lifecycle, including typical design phases and reviews, culminating in the launch of the experiments and publication of the final reports.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 10/17/2018 at 9:44 utc
Launch site: European Space Range, Kiruna, Sweden  
Balloon launched by: Swedish Space Corporation (SSC)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Airstar 12SF - 12.000 m3
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 10/17/2018 at  
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ):  
Landing site: In North Finland
Campaign: BEXUS  
Payload weight: 32 kgs
Gondola weight: 102 kgs

The experiments that were part of Bexus 26 flight were:

TUBULAR developed by Luleå University of Technology, Sweden is a technology demonstrator for an air sampling mechanism (Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO) ) that minimizes the effect of gas mixtures within the collected samples so that recovery time is no longer a constraint.

OSCAR Q-LITE built by the University of Hasselt, Belgium aims to develop and test a miniature ultra-sensitive diamond-based magnetometer, suitable for use in aerospace industry using a new electrical detection method that ensures the key properties (ultra-high sensitivity, fast response time) can be optimized.

IMFUSION a project developed at Hochschule Nordhausen, Germany, focussed on the design of a reliable, miniaturised, and universal IMU-based position- and attitude-logging system. The IMU (Inertial Measurement Units) will be measuring the pressure, rotational speed, acceleration, and magnetic field to create a trajectory of the BEXUS balloon.

WHB developed by FH Aachen, Germany, this experiment will build a safe, sturdy, and clean microbial collection device to sample the microbial life forms at several altitudes in the arctic stratosphere to better understand a virtually unknown environment.

External references

Images of the mission


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