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.
Balloon launched on: 10/7/2015 at 9:31 utc
Launch site: European Space Range, Kiruna, Sweden
Balloon launched by: Swedish Space Corporation (SSC)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon 12.000 m3
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 10/7/2015 at 12:36 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 3 h 5 m
Landing site: 60 km E of Gällivare, Sweden
The experiments part of Bexus 21 flight were:
FREDE2015 (FREon Decay Experiment) developed by Wroclaw University of Technology, University of Wroclaw, Poland. The main goal of the experiment was to study disintegration phenomenon of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) a group of refrigerators commonly known as Freon's. As radiatively active gases present in Troposphere and Stratosphere, they influence the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer (O3) and the increase of the greenhouse effect.
SPADE (Smartphone Platform for Acquisition of Data Experiment) a experiment that tested a low-cost real time data acquisition platform for stratospheric exploration missions based on two off-the-shelf smartphones and an auxiliary sensor network. A development by students from Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
InTex (INflatable TEXtile based antenna systems and structures) an experiment aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of building textile antennas developed by students from TU Dresden, Germany and sponsored by DLR
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