Registration open for the next REXUS/BEXUS campaign

on 19 June 2014

REXUS/BEXUS, the Rocket/Balloon Experiments for University Students competition started its preselection for the next campaign. This German/Swedish programme allows students from universities across ESA Member and Cooperating States to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research sounding rockets and stratospheric balloons.


In 2014, Romania was represented at the event by the “LOW-GRAVITY” team, composed of six students — Laura Manoliu, Sorina Lupu, Claudiu Cherciu, Ioana Ciuca, Camil Muresan, Ion Ciobanu — from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania, who has succesfully launched an experiment in space, using the ESA REXUS rocket. The Romanian team was the youngest in the competition and had been selected to participate in this programme from hundreds of groups coming from European countries.

The students were supported by the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and by researchers at the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics (INFLPR) who allowed them to test how metals melt, an essential part of their experiment.

LOW-GRAVITY was designed to investigate the surface deformation of alloys and metals after they have been melted and welded in miligravity. It compared these results with those achieved in Earth-based laboratories.In other words, their goal was to use a laser to melt metal samples that are used in spacecraft, in conditions of zero gravity.

In the next campaign the REXUS 19 and 20 sounding rockets will be launched in the spring of 2016. They each reach an altitude of between 75 and 90 km, higher than the balloons — but the flight durations are shorter, and each provides approximately 5 minutes of experiment time with the possibility of experiencing about two minutes of reduced gravity conditions. The rockets each carry a total experimental payload of about 40 kg.

Both launch campaigns will take place at the SSC Esrange Space Centre near Kiruna, in Northern Sweden.

How to apply

A proposal must be submitted in order to compete for the right to build an experiment. This year, the call for proposals is going out a few months earlier, so that the student teams have more time to consider their participation and shape their ideas before submitting a proposal.

The selection is a two-step process. Following the submission of ideas by 13 October 2014, SNSB/ESA will choose up to 15 proposals to be shortlisted and the teams will receive an invitation to the selection workshop to be held at ESTEC on 2-4 December 2014, where the projects will be evaluated by a selection panel.

Up to 10 chosen SNSB/ESA teams will enter the REXUS/BEXUS programme and begin developing their experiment in parallel with up to 10 German teams.The chosen experiments must be designed and produced to the highest possible standard.

More details about the event can be found here.

Image credit: SNSB