TEXUS 49 Lifts Off with Four German Experiments on Board
It follows one communicates published in english on the day (29/03), in the site of the "German Aerospace Center (DLR)", announcing that the VSB-30/TEXUS 49 lifts off with four german experiments on board.
TEXUS 49 Lifts Off with Four
German Experiments on Board
29 March 2011 - 11:22:28
|TEXUS 49 launch|
The TEXUS 49 sounding rocket lifted off from the Esrange Space Center near Kiruna in northern Sweden on 29 March 2011 at 06.01 CET. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) rocket, carrying four German experiments for medical and materials research, reached an altitude of 268 kilometres. The experiments were subjected to close to six minutes of microgravity during the twenty-minute long flight before the payloads were parachuted back to Earth, as scheduled.
Alloys in Microgravity
TEXUS' main payload was the German-developed electromagnetic levitation system (Elektromagnetische Levitationsanlage; EML). With it, research scientists from the DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space in Cologne performed two experiments to study the thermophysical properties and solidification behaviour of metal alloys of interest to industry. One of the experiments analysed an aluminium-nickel compound used in aviation and other transport systems.
The second experiment examined a nickel-tantalum alloy with ceramic particles, which were added to improve the composite's wear characteristics. The results obtained in the microgravity environment are more accurate than those obtained in a laboratory on Earth because the forces required to maintain the particles in suspension and the disruptive internal flows in the liquid metal are substantially reduced. The researchers obtained high-precision data that is important for the development of computer simulations required for modern industrial manufacturing processes.
|Crystallisation in weightlessness|
SITI-1 Investigates the Human Immune System in Microgravity
The SITI-1 medical/biological experiment, carried out by a research group from the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg, studied the mechanisms leading to disturbances in the immune system when subjected to a microgravity environment. For example, some astronauts are prone to suffering infections during prolonged periods of time in space.
|Preparing the SITI-1 experiment|
DLR commissioned Astrium Space Transportation in Bremen for the launch preparations and implementation of the TEXUS 49 mission. Kayser-Threde in Munich and DLR's Mobile Rocket Base (MObile RAketenBAsis; MORABA) in Oberpfaffenhofen also participated in the mission. The VSB-30 two-stage launcher was a joint venture between the Brazilian aerospace organisations Centro Técnico Aeroespacial (CTA) and Instituto de Aeronáutica e Espaço (IAE), together with MORABA and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC). This was its seventh launch from Esrange under the TEXUS programme.
The TEXUS Programme
The TEXUS (Technologie-Experimente unter Schwerelosigkeit – technology experiments under microgravity) programme, begun in 1976 under the joint sponsorship of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie; BMWi) through DLR's Space Agency, uses sounding rockets to achieve microgravity experimental conditions lasting close to six minutes. The TEXUS 50 'Anniversary flight' is scheduled for either 2012 or 2013.
|Transport to the launch tower|
The TEXUS programme offers scientists the opportunity to perform independent experiments in microgravity and prepare experiments to be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS). It stands out for the re-usability of the payload, short preparation and access times, a regular, user-friendly access to zero gravity and, in comparison to manned missions, lower safety requirements. These factors allow for relatively low-cost research.
German Aerospace Center
Space Administration, Communication
Tel.: +49 228 447-388
Fax: +49 228 447-386
Dr. Otfried Joop
German Aerospace Center
Tel.: +49 228 447-204
Fax: +49 228 447-735
Source: Website of the German Aerospace Center (DLR)