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BEXUS (Balloon Experiments for University Students) is a German-Swedish student program for balloon experiments for university students founded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSB) in 2007 .


In the program, students conduct scientific and technical experiments with balloons in the stratosphere . In addition to the DLR, the student projects in Germany also receive organizational support from the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity with the Bremen Drop Tower , which is also in charge of the project and supervises the experiments. The launch of the stratospheric balloons is carried out by EuroLaunch from the Esrange space center near Kiruna in Sweden with the participation of the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA). The altitude research balloons start in autumn and reach a height of 30 to 35 kilometers. The balloon is a Zodiac 12SF with a volume of 12,000 cubic meters. The gondola measures 1.5 × 1.5 × 1.5 meters and can carry a payload of up to 400 kg. The experiments may weigh up to a maximum of 100 kg each. The experiments remain in the stratosphere for up to five hours and then land on a parachute.

German and Swedish students each have 50 percent of the balloon payload, whereby the Swedish portion is now also available to students from the other ESA member states through cooperation with the European Space Agency . The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy bears the costs for the German experiments .

For similar rocket experiments for space research there is the REXUS program from the same sponsors .

BEXUS flights (selection)


The first BEXUS flight (BEXUS 1) took off on November 25, 2002 at 15:53 ​​UTC ( Coordinated Universal Time )


The second BEXUS flight (BEXUS 2) took off on February 26, 2004 at 10:57 am (Coordinated Universal Time)


The third BEXUS flight (BEXUS 3) took off on March 22, 2005 at 15:21 (Coordinated Universal Time)


BEXUS 4 took off on June 19, 2006 at 11:13 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)


BEXUS 5 took off on March 28, 2007 at 11:05 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)


BEXUS 6 started on October 8, 2008


BEXUS 7 also started on October 8, 2008


BEXUS 8 took off on October 10, 2009 at 10:04 a.m. ( CET ) and reached an altitude of 27 km.

The only student experiment on board was MATI (Measurement of Atmospheric Turbulence with combined Instruments) from the Leibniz Institute for Atmospheric Physics (IAP) at the University of Rostock . It filled almost the entire BEXUS gondola because with its 32 kilograms it took up 80% of the weight of 40 kg. MATI used three different methods to investigate small-scale turbulence in the upper atmosphere during balloon ascent and flight by continuously measuring the temperature and the speed of the wind .

In addition, only two DLR-internal technology experiments for antenna development flew with me.


BEXUS 9 took off on October 11, 2009 and reached an altitude of 24 km.


The Bexus 10 flight took off on October 9, 2010 at 3:07 a.m. (Central European Summer Time)

Three experiments flew with the BEXUS-10 flight:

  • CASS-E (or CASS • E) (Cranfield Astrobiological Stratospheric Sampling Experiment) by students at Cranfield University under the direction of Professor David Cullen examined the stratosphere for the presence of microbiological or organic material, such as bacteria and protozoa. The experiment consisted of a pump that presses air from the stratosphere through various analysis filters. However, since the bio-barriers could not be opened, no samples could be collected.
  • I-BATE (ISU Balloon Air Traffic Control Experiment) from the International Space University Strasbourg tested the reception of telemetry data from the aircraft in the vicinity of the research balloon . It was investigated whether the signals for air traffic control from space , which were broadcast by civil aircraft, can be provided with the help of Automatic Dependent Surveillance . The night flight was not ideal, however, as too few aircraft and their data could be tracked to test the saturation level of the detector.
  • SCRAT (Spherical Compact Rechargeable Air Thruster) - The experiment of the University of Padua tested a cold gas drive , in which propulsion force is generated by the discharge of compressed air. The experiment was carried out during the entire flight. This was followed by further analyzes that enabled the team to evaluate the engine's performance.


The Bexus 11 flight took off on November 23, 2010 and reached an altitude of 33.2 km.

Four experiments flew on this flight:


The Bexus 12 flight took off on September 25, 2011.

Only two experiments flew on this flight:


The research balloon BEXUS 20 took off on October 10, 2015 at 11:17 a.m. CEST. The scientific focus was on the measurement of particles and radiation in the stratosphere.

As a German experiment, COSPA (Collection Of Stratospheric aerosol PArticles for a better understanding of the development of Polar Stratospheric Clouds) flew by students from the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences . In the experiment, particles were absorbed onto two sample carriers arranged one behind the other and located in the stratosphere. The front one held the larger parts while the smaller ones flew on to the second sample carrier. Twelve pairs of sample carriers existed from this test arrangement, which enabled samples to be taken at different heights and flight phases. The aim of the experiment was to investigate the formation and composition of polar stratospheric clouds.

Further experiments of this flight were


Despite the higher number, the BEXUS 21 research balloon took off from Esrange on October 7, 2015 at 10:31 a.m.

  • The Technical University of Dresden sent an inflatable antenna structure into the stratosphere with the InTex experiment (Inflatable textile based antenna systems and structures) to test the hardening of the material for later use on satellites in space. Two years later, a larger inflatable antenna was sent into space with the REXUS program.
  • Students from the Technical University of Wroclaw used FREDE 2015 (Freon Decay Experiment) to study the decay of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are believed to be responsible for the increase in the greenhouse effect.
  • Another experiment was carried out by the University of Seville , which experimentally tested the wireless transmission of measurement data from sensors inside the balloon gondola and the use of smartphones as a data recording platform for stratospheric flights.


BEXUS 22 started on October 5th at 3:33 pm (CET). The flight reached 32,356 meters, the highest altitude ever reached by a BEXUS balloon.


BEXUS 23 took off on October 7th at 09:08 and flew 32,285 meters high.


BEXUS 24 started on October 18th. The countdown to the start had to be canceled one hour before the planned start due to a snow storm . After the weather had calmed down, the countdown started again and the balloon rose into the blue sky at 1:29 p.m. (CET). The balloon reached an altitude of approximately 16.4 miles.


The BEXUS 25 launch took place on October 20, 2017 at 10:26 am (CET). After a long flight with only a low altitude of 25.85 km, the balloon landed in the north of Finland.


The BEXUS 26 started on October 17, 2018 at 7:40 am. The flight reached a maximum altitude of 27,499 meters.

Also on board was the BEXUS-IMUFUSION (Inertial Measurement Unit, IMU) experiment from the Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences . Under the supervision of Matthias Viehmann and Klaus-Peter Neitzke , students from the Institute for Computer Science, Automation and Electronics (IAE) wanted to use the experiment to test the development of a system for recording inertial measurement data in an environment close to space, which is characterized by a redundancy concept , high reliability and measurement accuracy and calculation of the trajectory .


BEXUS 27 took off one day after Bexus 26 took off at 08:42 (CET) in the morning and reached a maximum flight altitude of 27.7 km.


BEXUS 28 started on October 25, 2019 at 06:21 (CET). On board were two experiments from the Technical University of Dresden .


BEXUS 29 started two days before BEXUS 28 on October 23, 2019 at 06:33 (CET).


BEXUS 30 will be carried out from 2019 to 2021.

One project is the BEXUS-ELFI ( Extremely Low Frequency and Inertial Measurement Unit , IMU) experiment, which follows the BEXUS-IMUFUSION experiment . Students from the Nordhausen University are again involved . The focus of ELFI is the measurement of extremely low-frequency fields in the range up to 100 Hz. Matthias Viehmann and Klaus-Peter Neitzke support the team as senior scientists.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Students and their stratospheric balloon Deutschlandfunk
  2. Students experiment with a research balloon in the stratosphere
  3. Flying high for students
  4. Altitude research balloons
  5. REXUS and BEXUS - The German-Swedish student program German Aerospace Center
  6. REXUS / BEXUS programs
  7. a b REXUS / BEXUS student program: Experiments to fly with you International transport
  8. Nordhausen students a little closer to space
  9. a b Ola Widell: IAC-08-E1.1.4
  10. Next round for REXUS / BEXUS
  11. ^ The REXUS / BEXUS Program European Space Agency
  12. BEXUS
  13. Rocket and Ballon Rexus / Bexus are again looking for research projects by students
  14. Chronological list of rocket and balloon missions with the participation of MORABA MORABA
  15. BEXUS 8 and 9 campaign completed
  16. BEXUS 8: Stratospheric balloon with Rostock student experiment successfully started
  17. BEXUS 10: New technologies and the search for life in the stratosphere
  18. Trwa kampania LOTNA projektów BEXUS
  19. CASS • E
  20. Design-based distributor supplies vital components for post-graduate students' CASS-E experiment looking for evidence of life in the stratosphere
  21. Case study: Searching for life on the edge of space EE Times
  22. Cranfield astrobiological stratospheric sampling experiment: Overview of flight hardware configuration, implemented planetary protection and contamination control procedures and preliminary post-flight results (PDF, 1 MB), accessed on November 13, 2014.
  23. ^ "REXUS / BEXUS" project details , accessed on November 13, 2014.
  24. Student research balloon BEXUS 11 successfully launched
  25. BEXUS 10: New technologies and the search for life in the stratosphere
  26. Looking for the High Life from Air & Space / Smithsonian magazine
  27. ^ "CASS • E: Cranfield astrobiological stratospheric sampling experiment" , accessed on November 13, 2014.
  28. a b c CASS-E (Cranfield Astrobiological Stratospheric Sampling Experiment)
  29. ^ ISU Students Track Airplanes from the Stratosphere Space Foundation
  30. Data retrieved by SCRAT experiment during the 2010 ESA BEXUS 10 Flight Campaign International Astronautical Federation
  31. mini propulsore a Emissioni zero INAF
  33. I-BATE, CASS-E and SCRAT
  34. ^ Lecture at the 1st Symposium on Space Educational Activities
  35. DATA RETRIEVED BY SCRAT EXPERIMENT Presentation at the 65th International Astronautical Congress 2014
  36. Experiments
  37. ^ Roman Greim: Measurement of the charged cosmic-ray fluxat solarminimumwiththe PERDaixdetector dissertation
  38. BEXUS Campaign History
  39. a b c d BEXUS 20/21: Students research in the stratosphere
  40. a b BEXUS 20/21
  41. J. Peeters, J. Van Houtte, A. Martinez, J. van Muiden, JJJ Dirckx, G. Steenackers: Determination of stratospheric component behavior using Finite Element model updating. In: Aerospace Science and Technology . Volume 56, 2016, pp. 22-28, doi : 10.1016 / j.ast.2016.06.024 .
  42. bachelorproef HACORD gaat internationaal
  43. Final Report: CPTSCOPE
  44. SAO / NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service
  45. a b BEXUS 20/21
  46. Young engineers from Dresden blow large antenna in space on Oiger - News from business and research
  47. Ujęcia z misji BEXUS 21
  48. Kosmiczny eksperyment wrocławskich studentów
  49. Baza na Księżycu, lot na Marsa. Polscy naukowcy w największych inicjatywach kosmicznych Gazeta
  50. Wrocław students to conduct an experiment in space
  51. Seville-Esrange, Kiruna spade, us, es
  52. BEXUS 22/23: Testing new technologies with research balloons in the atmosphere
  53. BEXUS 22 and 23 successfully launched
  54. BEXUS 24 and 25 successfully launched from Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden
  55. a b BEXUS-IMUFUSION experiment of the Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences Technical Newsletter No. 3 - The project overview
  56. Experiments at an altitude of 27,499 meters
  57. Nordhausen students move space a little closer to
  58. a b BEXUS 28/29
  59. ^ Research and BEXUS-ELFI project