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: 10/18/2018 at 10:42 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): 10/18/2018 at
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 4 h 3 m
Payload weight: 34 kgs
Gondola weight: 105 kgs
The experiments that were part of Bexus 27 flight were:
QUEST developed by University Würzburg, Germany, is a remote sensing experiment that scans the planet surface by analysing an array of four light sensors (RGB and IR) and a spectrometer. As a result, the experiment should produce an overview image of the surface with marked areas showing snow, water, plants, rocks and overlaying clouds.
LUSTRO a experiment developed at the Warsaw University of Technology, Poland providing an affordable way of creating scientifically valuable data of ultraviolet structures in the atmosphere. Collected data will be examined in terms of differences in reflection and absorption by using two low-cost, simultaneously working rotating-mirror cameras.
LODESTAR contributed by Uppsala University, Sweden, the experiment will study the impact of cosmic radiation on CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) solar cells. One possible application of CIGS solar cells is in energy production for space travel therefore it is relevant to study how CIGS solar cells degrade due to cosmic radiation influence.