BEXUS

Bexus

BEXUS stands for Balloon-borne Experiments for University Students and is a yearly recurring experimental flight with a stratospheric balloon. Implementation is made in cooperation with a project leader at the Esrange Space Center.

The REXUS and BEXUS programs 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. Half the payload is available to German students through a DLR Announcement of Opportunity and the other half is made available to students from all other ESA Member States and Co-operating States by the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) through a collaboration with ESA.

The BEXUS balloon has a volume of 12,000 m³ and a diameter of 14 m when filled. The total mass available for the experiments is between 40 and 100 kg. The maximum altitude is 35 km and the flight duration is 2-5 hours.

The BEXUS program is a joint project between the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Mobile Rocket Base (Moraba) of the German Aerospace Center DLR. The campaign is conducted by EuroLaunch* in close cooperation with the students.

Read more about Rexus and Bexus:
REXUS BEXUS - Rocket and Balloon Experiments for University Students

Student web pages
Bexus V
Bexus IV
Bexus III
Bexus II

BEXUS 5

 

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bexus5-Jorgen

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Bexus 5 ready for launch

Jörgen Hedin,
the student projekt manager

The launch of Bexus 5

 

Campaign information BEXUS  5 (2007)

 

 

 

 

 

BEXUS (Balloon EXperiment for University Students) is a student payload that students at the Department of Space Science in Kiruna carry out together with students from Hjalmar Lundboms skolan and the space high school, Rymdgymmnasiet.

After lift off, the balloon did ascend to about 25 km ceiling. Ceiling was maintained for 2,5 hours to achieve maximum range for additional testing of the SSC E-Link system performance.

The campaign was carried out under the provisions laid down in the Esrange/Andöya Special Project agreement (EASP). Sweden was the main user in this flight.

Read more about the project on the student web page for Bexus 5.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Launch site: Esrange Space Center

Campaign period:

March 20 to April 4, 2007 
Launch date: 28 March 2007
Customer: SNSB (Swedish National Space Board)
Purpose:

The objective is to strengthen the cooperation between the space educations in Kiruna and to give the students inspiration to participate in space related projects. Esrange E-Link high speed TM/TC system units will be qualified for future operational use.
The condition of the Earths atmosphere will be studied and measured. The ozone content and cosmic dust particles will be measured.
Solar panels will be operated, camera pictures will be taken and Bluetooth will be operated for internal short distance communications during flight. Seeds will also be exposed for extreme temperature.
Read more at the REXUS4/BEXUS5 page.

 

PARTICIPATING ORGANISATION

Funding agency: SNSB (Swedish National Space Board)
Principal investigator: Mr. Jörgen Hedin, student payload manager, Department of Space Science,
Launch contractor: SSC
Research organizations:

Department of Space Science , University of Luleå (affiliate in Kiruna Space Camp)

Contact persons: Mr. Ola Widell, SSC project manager, Esrange Space Center
Mr. Peter Lindström, SSC project manager for E-Link
Mr. Jörgen Hedin, student payload manager, Department of Space Science, University of Luleå

 

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Launch technic: Dynamic release technic
Balloon: Zodiac
Balloon volume: 12.000 m3
Gas: Helium
Hight: 25 km
Flight time: 3,5 h
Balloon systems:

SSC

Scientific instrument: The payload was designed and developed by students from the Department of Space Sciencestudents from
Payload service systems: The payload service system is designed and developed by SSC engineers and students from the Department of Space Science
Gondola weight: 30 kg

 

 

SCIENTIFIC PAYLOAD

Experiments from the Department of Space Science, Sweden
ASDS - Attitude Sensing and Determination System
Objective: To determine movements as well as flight path of the payload platform in real time.
Method: ASDS is an attitude determination and sensing unit for the student balloon project BEXUS. The design is based on a 3-axis magnetometer determining the earth's magnetic field vector. It will be complemented by two 2-axis accelerometers based on MEMS technology sensing the forces acting about the gondola and determining the gravity vector. Furthermore a 3-axis gyroscope also based on MEMS technology is implemented to sense the rate of change thus combined with the accelerometer information the tilting of the gondola will be determined.
The experiment transmits the data to the ground station and will be displayed in a 3D-software showing the whole flight path with the orientation of the gondola in realtime.

FTC - flight trajectory computation
Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of flight trajectory computations.
Method: The experiment uses six 3-axis accelerometers positioned at different locations throughout the box. By using a designed Matlab algorithm these accelerometers can give the accelerating vector of the experiment as well as the rotational motion in relation to the center of rotation of the gondola. A digital tilt compensated compass is used to give the orientation of the box in relation to the earth’s magnetic field. The compass is also equipped with a gyro that can be used to compare the actual rotational motion to the calculated one. The experiment transmits the data to ground but can also store locally.
The data analysis will be done after the flight.
3.1.3 MMSP, multi motif stratospheric photography
Objective: To take a large number of high resolution photos and video recordings during flight.
Method: This experiment will use a 8Mpixel digital camera with a 4Gb memory card. The camera is mounted inside a protective aluminium casing with the ability to change it's direction of view by 180 degrees. It will store about 500 photos and 120 minutes of video during the flight and is remote controlled to run special photo routines at times of special interest such as launch and cut-off.

PEM - payload environment monitoring
Objective: To measure the temperature the payload is exposed to during flight.
Method: Four sensor cards will be placed on each side of the payload.
Each sensor card contains a NTC thermal resistor and a photo transistor. The photo transistor keeps track of which sensor is exposed to sunlight and what influence that has on the temperature. The NTC is calibrated to record temperatures spanning from -80 to +80 degrees Celsius, +- 1 degree. The temperature and level of sunlight intensity is sampled each second and stored locally onto EEPROM memories on the motherboard for post flight processing.

Experiments from the Würzburg University, Germany
CANSAT - A satellite in a can
Objective: Measure temperature, pressure and humidity levels localized with GPS coordinates
Method: The CANSAT incorporates GPS measurements with temperature (+-2 degrees), pressure (+-6kPa to 0 degrees, temperature compensated below
this) and humidity (+-3.5% RH) sensors. The sensor data is relayed to ground every fourth second and will be processed and used to derive atmospheric and meteorological data to predict cloud formation. The temperature data will also be used to calculate heat flux through the CANSAT structure and evaluate the quality of the insulation.

Experiments from Kiruna High schools, Sweden
Space High School
ARSEX – Auroral Recording Sound Experiment.
Objective: Recording of auroral sounds and the soundscape in the sub-arctic stratosphere.
Method: This experiment uses a handheld 4 channel mp3 recording device. This gives a total recording time of about 3 hours. Two channels are used for stereo recording inside E-Gon. The third channel has a VLF (Very Low Frequency) antenna and the last channel a regular microphone fastened a bit away from the payloads.

Hjalmar Lundbom High School
Passive experiments in a separate box. The box is containing various passive experiments. 

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BEXUS 4

Bexus

Campaign information BEXUS 4 (2006)

BEXUS is a yearly recurring experimental flight with a stratospheric balloon that university students at Kiruna Space and Environment Campus carry out together with pupils from Hjalmar Lundboms School and the Space High School, Rymdgymnasiet. The objective of offering students this opportunity is to strengthen the cooperation between the different space educations running in Kiruna and to give the students inspiration and experience by participating in an real space related projects.

The Esrange E-Link system for communication between the gondola and the ground station at Esrange will be included in the flight and the aim is to perform a test flight and qualify the E-Link no 2 unit for operational use.

The balloon campaign will be carried out in cooperation with a supervisor from Esrange and the launch and flight safety will be made by the Esrange launch crew. The campaign is carried out under the provisions laid down in the Esrange/Andöya Special Project agreement (EASP). Sweden is the main user.

 

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The BEXUS gondola suspended under the launch vehicle Hercules

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The BEXUS gondola in a closeup picture.

 

Some of the experiments

NEMO
The purpose of this project is measuring ozone in the atmosphere with the help of an ozone sensor from Vaisala.

The receiving station interprets the signal from the radiosonde on the ozone sensor and gives as output raw data of ozone measurments and other important parameters as temperature, pressure, air moisture and position. This raw data is then processed with the help of MATLAB and the result is compared with the data from the manufacturer of the sensor.
The main emphasis of the project is the data treatment and analysis.

MMSP
The purpose of this project is to take high resolution photos and video recordings during flight. MMSP consists of a digital camera with 8MPixels and 4Gb flash memory mounted on a structure that can be turned in different directions. Everything is controlled by a micro controller that runs a preprogrammed routine but also can receive special commands during flight to be able to concentrate the view on different interesting flight events. In total there will be about 110 minutes of video and about 500 high resolution photos.

AIDA
Altitude Determination by Image Analysis
The most important goal is to be able to point the camera at the horizon by image analysis (i.e. to find the horizon in the image). And then center this feature in the consecutive images by operating simple servos on the platform. The images will be stored onboard and also linked down to the ground station, where the images can be represented in realtime. Where this application may be useful is for instance exactly what the name says; altitude determination by image analysis, but there are more fields of application for this kind of equipment. Another example; if the curvature of the horizon is measurable by image analysis one can, by already knowing the altitude (from other sources), calculate the radius of the Earth.

Solklart
Test of solar panels

Sadface
Sampling of Air During Float and AsCEnt
In this experiment, a system will be created which can sample air on high altitudes. The experiment can be customized for future customers that want to sample particles on high altitude, for example carrying an organic filter or carry a container to store particles for future use.

MULLE
Is a small EIS (Embedded Internet Systems) platform based on an Mitsubishi M16C microprocessor. The bare die microprocessor chip is mounted and bonded to the six-layer circuit board. The processor chip is covered with a glob top. All other components are surface mounted. On the same circuit board, mounted on the rear, is a Bluetooth module. The platform is battery powered and designed for low-power consumption. The size of the MULLE platform is only 25 x 23 x 5 mm.

Balloon Tracking Device
The goal of this project is to design a device which tracks the path of Bexus 4, by receiving a signal transmitted from the balloon at 173.225 MHz. The signal is received via a Yagi antenna, then filtered and amplified before it’s demodulated in a receiver located at the ground station. The controller unit extracts the position of the balloon from the demodulated signal and adjusts the position of the antenna to assure that it’s reception is optimal. The controller unit logs data to a computer so that the path of the balloon can be plotted afterwards.


Hjampis 1
Plants in space

Hjampis 2
Measurements of light and humidity

Read more about the students work at the student's Bexus 4 page

Read more about university space education at Department of Space Science

Contact persons:
Mr. Ola Widell, SSC project manager, Esrange Space Center
Mr. Mikael Koivunen, student payload manager, Department of Space Science
Mr. Johannes Reldin, subproject manager for experiments for university students, Department of Space Science

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BEXUS 3

Bexus 
Campaign information BEXUS 3 (2005)

 

BEXUS is a yearly recurring experimental flight with a stratospheric balloon that the students at Kiruna Space and Environment Campus carry out together with pupils from Hjalmar Lundboms school and the space high school, rymdgymnasiet.
Implementation will be in cooperation with Esrange, which normally has scientists from all over the world as its clients.

Students from different years and courses are involved in the project, which means that different groups of students meet and get a chance to work together on the basis of their respective areas of competence.
It is the students themselves who lead, design and build the experiments and the instruments destined for the balloon launch. Most of the data to be collected during the balloon flight will be used later in the courses.

Read more at the student's Bexus 3 page.

The auxillary release technique will be used. After lift off, the balloon will ascend to about ~12 hPa (~27km) ceiling. Ceiling will be maintained as long as possible achieving maximum range for testing the E-Link performance. Cut down will be executed based on calculations for a safe landing. No slow descent is required. Flight trajectory calculations before time of launch will indicate if the cut down will be inside Sweden or in Finland.

Bexus3_connect_Payload1 The objective is to strengthen the co-operation between the space educations in Kiruna and to give the students inspiration to participate in space related projects.
The 10 000 m³ balloon type Zodiac 10 ZL, was successfully launched at 15:21 UTC on the 22 of March.The balloon reached an altitude of 28,5 km after 1 ½ hour of flight time.
The cut down command was given at 19:40 UTC and the landing took place 43 km west of the village of Vilhelmina. The range of the high speed data link was more than 400 km.
Bexus3_Launch-vehicle-total

Student Gondolas

Gondola 1
The Chemical Power High Altitude Experiment (CPHAE) by Institutionen för Rymdvetenskap will study the behaviour of fuel cells and Zinc-air batteries during different atmospheric conditions.

 

Gondola 2
The Multi Purpose Experiment Gondola (MPEG) by Institutionen för Rymdvetenskap will test a newly developed platform including a databus and housekeeping system prepared for future student experiments.

One box with passive experiments by Hjalmar Lundboms skolan and one by Rymdgymnasiet in Kiruna will be included and strapped together with one main student gondolas.

Esrange Gondola

The E-Link system will be tested with maximum data load versus achieved flight range.

One new ARGOS-GPS unit for positioning and localisation will be tested.

 

Contact persons:
Mr O. Widell, SSC Esrange, Project manager
Mr J. Tanhua, KRM, Student payload Manager

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BEXUS 2

Bexus

Campaign information BEXUS 2 (2004)

On the 26th of February 2004 a balloon of the size of 10.000 m3 was successfully launched. The balloon reached 9 hPa which means around 27 km. The landing took place in the Northern part of Finland, closed to the Russian border.

Students from different years and courses from the Kiruna Space and Environment University Campus and from Hjalmar Lundboms school and the Space High School, were involved in the BEXUS II project. This means that different groups of students met and got the chance to work together on the basis of their respective areas of competence. The implementation wasmade in cooperation with a project leader from the Esrange Space Center.

Read more at the student's Bexus 2 page.


Contact persons:
Mr T. Hedqvist, SSC Esrange, Project manager
Mr M. Inga, Subproject manager for experiments for university students, KRM

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