Successful TEXUS-51‎ Mission

Unmanned sounding rocket TEXUS-51 launched from launch site ESRANGE (picture: Airbus ‎Defence & Space)‎
Unmanned sounding rocket TEXUS-51 launched from launch site ESRANGE (picture: Airbus ‎Defence & Space)‎

Unmanned sounding rocket TEXUS-51 was launched from the isolated launch site ESRANGE in Kiruna in northern Sweden on April 23, 2015 at 09:35 CEST. TEXUS missions focus primarily on exploring the properties and behavior of materials, chemicals and biological substances under weightless conditions (microgravitation).

“The national research programme TEXUS was established late 1976 by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). We have been part of this programme from the very beginning. OHB System AG is responsible for the payload integration. This means the proper integration of the experiments module in the rocket’s upper stage and installation of the service systems”, says project manager Horst Pfeuffer. The service systems include both the service module (containing the units for telemetry, tele-command, TV-image transmission, payload motion control and ‎µg‎-measurements) and the salvaging system. Telemetry data and video images are received during flight by the ground stations and provided to the experimenters. During the coasting phase, the experimenters are able to control their experiments directly from the ground station via tele-command.

The 2.6 ton rocket carried four experiment modules containing four German experiments. During the research flight which lasted approx. 20 minutes, the 12.5 metre long sounding rocket soared to an altitude of 259 km. This provided for around 6 minutes of almost absolute weightlessness on board the rocket, during which the experiments generated a myriad of data. After completing descension flight the payload floated back to Earth by parachute. Once the payload was salvaged and flown back to the launch site by helicopter the experimenters retrieved their experiments and immediately began evaluating the results.

In order to benefit from synergy effects, the next TEXUS mission is scheduled for April 27, 2015. Both missions are under contract to the German Aerospace Center (DLR). OHB System AG tasks are accomplished under sub-contract to Airbus Defence and Space ‎ and in close cooperation with DLR Mobile Raketen Basis (Moraba).

For details on the experiments please visit DLR’s homepage.

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