VIPER REXUS

Due to the ongoing investigation, we had a day off after finally preparing our module for flight. We went skiing on the track at Esrange Space Center and drove to Kiruna to visit the supermarket.

For REXUS 24, today was the big day. Early in the morning, the rocket was brought and attached to the launcher. After a couple of tests, REXUS 24 was ready to go! During that time, we were working in the Dome repairing our experiment. The deadline was set to 6 pm, so we had to keep up the speed high. In the early afternoon, the countdown for REXUS 24 proceeded to zero, so we went to the main building to have a better view of the launch. We really enjoyed what we could see, it was very impressive! Unfortunately, the launch was not nominal. Because of that, it was announced that REXUS 23 will not launched until the failure investigation is completed. The deadline was gone and we could easily finish the experiment in the evening, not knowing what to expect of the next day.

We feel very sorry for all teams that had experiments flying aboard REXUS 24. They have put so much effort in their module, and at the end, they were not able to run their experiments. We hope that you get the chance to repair your experiments and fly on another rocket!

In the morning, Fabian and Martin went to the Church to practice our Late Access Procedure. They hat to wear special ESD protection clothes provided bei SSC. Fabian gave instructions following a checklist, and Martin assisted by an employee of ZARM conducted the procedure. Everything worked as it was planned, but it took us 5 minutes more, so 10 minutes were added to the Late Access Procedure in the countdown timeline. After that, we had our first Flightsim Test. The teams set up their groundstations in the Science Center, and the rocket was in the launch area. Unfortunately, the Flightsim Test had to be aborted as we lost the connection to our experiment about 10 seconds after SOE. We began with an investigation, and luckily, we had a video of the broadcast of our camera in the module. We found out that we had a malfunction of the motor that seriously endangered the hardware of the experiment, so the decision to abort the Test was justified. We immediately started disassembling the module for reparation. At this point, it was not clear if we can bring the experiment to flight readiness in time…

That was a very motivating day. After all experiments were prepared for Bench Test, we had two full flight simulation test on the Bench. Everything worked fine. At the first Bench Test, the camera signal shown on a small monitor was quite bad, so Michael went to the telemetry station of MORABA at the second Bench Test. There, the video signal was perfect and the staff there promised us, that this was the video quality they would provide during the flight. After those tests, all experiments were prepared for flight, and the rocket payload was assembled. After passing another Com-Check, the rocket was loaded onto the trailer and transported to the church for final launch preparation. It was such a nice feeling to see the whole payload standing upright in the middle of Dome!

Video of day 6:

Today, we proceeded with our flight preparation. After we did some late fixes on our experiment, we reassembled the assembly back into the module for the upcoming bench test, which meant a day full of waiting and monitoring. We inserted one ISCA for the first Hot Test on the Bench. Our Experiment performed nominally and we didn’t encounter any problems.

Enjoy our video from today 😉

In the morning, we reassembled our module for the upcoming Bench Test. This time, the endswitch worked quite well and stopped the motor at the required position. But the charge controller failed. The electronic team was looking for the reason for the failure, but when they found it, they finally decided to remove the charge controller. This doesn’t effect our experiment, but we won’t be able to perform a melting test.

Video of day 4:

We had to deal with a couple of problems today. The batteries were discharging even though the experiment was switched off, and sometimes, the motor wasn’t stopped by the endswitch. Our electronic team was working until late in the evening, but all of that could be fixed. The advantage of that was, that some of us were able to see the aurora borealis, but the visibility was quite bad. We hope that we get another opportunity to see that during the next couple of days. As we worked so long today, we gathered lots of video footage, so the video for today is a little bit longer 😉

Today was our first working day. After breakfast, we had the first meeting in the meeting room Polaris. Apart from the timetable for today, the presentation also included strict safety instructions, as safety is very important at Esrange Space Centre. After that, all teams walked to the Dome, which is the hall where we will assemble the experiments and the rockets. We began with a total check of our experiment. Luckily, only the battery pack didn’t work anymore, probably because of the cold temperatures around -35°C during transportation to Esrange. As we have two spare battery packs, that was not a big deal. For the rest of day, we exchanged a couple of parts like the LED lights and improved some of our wires.

 

Here is the video of the second day:

We reached the airport on time. We could check-in and drop-off our luggage easily, even our Zarges boxes were accepted without any complaints. We had a stopover in Stockholm with one hour on the ground, but the first flight was already delayed by about 25 minutes. Luckily, we were seated in the front of our Boeing 737-700, so we could leave the plane quickly. We rushed to Terminal 4 as fast as it was possible, and we reached our gate just minutes before boarding started. There, we already met other teams as well as employees of ZARM and MORABA. During this flight, we could see the ice-covered surface of the ocean, which was very impressive, and we could also enjoy the beginning of sunset. On our arrival, we were glad that the temperature of -12°C didn’t feel as cold as -5°C do in Germany. In total, the flights worked very well and all our luggage arrived in Kiruna without any damage. We struggled to squeeze our suitcases and the Zarges boxes into our rental car, but we also mastered this challenge. After a little shopping tour at the local supermarket, we were more than happy to enjoy dinner at the restaurant at Esrange Space Center. We then proceeded to enjoy the night together with other participants of the REXUS programme.

 

Check out the video of our first day!

During the last weeks, we prepared for Launch Campaign. Some spare parts were ordered and prepaired, and procedures for all parts of the campaign were developed. Today, it was time to pack our Equipment for Esrange Space Center. We already started our journey today, as the parents of one of our team members live close to the airport we had to reach early on monday morning.