Experimental Launches

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This is the kind of thing to drop here :

From Swedish Space Corporation site :
RExus 7 successfully launched

Today at 08:25 local time the first student rocket planned for this week, REXUS 7, was successfully launched from SSC’s launch facility Esrange Space Center. The rocket carried three student experiments onboard. The rocket reached an altitude of 83 km and landed north of Esrange Space Center. The recovery operation has started and the payload will be brought back to the students by helicopter for further analysis.


Wiki : Esrange, Kiruna, Sweden.


Neat tower launch system they have for some of the rockets. Hadn't ever heard of something like that.


What I saw at a glance from the wiki article is that it's used by rockets without guidance eqpt. It guides them for a few dozen yards.


Which Wiki article ?

Oops, just noticed, i did not give a link to the article, here it is, plus announcement for some more info:
RExus 7 successfully launched

Rexus 7 getting ready for launch


The first student rocket for 2010 within the Rexus programme is getting ready to be launched on Tuesday March 2. The payload consists of experiments designed and built by European students.

measuring of neutral-gas density in the atmosphere by rocket

isolation of forces still active during microgravity

investigates if a satellite boom deployment is able to provide gravity gradient attitude stabilization

REXUS BEXUS home page

Here is some more info about a rocket from Swedish Space Corporation :
Rocket type: One stage solid, Improved Orion rocket
Nominal diameter: 356 mm
Lenght: ca 5730 mm
Total weight: 517,9 kg
Burning time 1st stage: 26 s
Max acceleration: 21 g
Apogee: ~90 km
Flight time to apogee: ~144 sec

REXUS Users Manual : http://www.rexusbexus.net/images/storie ... 4dec09.pdf

This is probably one of teams site :
MONDARO - Measuring of neutral-gas density in the atmosphere by rocket



The Wikipedia article for the Skylark rocket has details.. The Brazilian VSB rocket launched at their site uses that rocket tower as well.


Why do you think they used the same tower ?
Skylark launch tower

This is most probable rocket that launches from the modified Skylark tower :
Astronautix : VSB-30
.. Launch Complex: S ..

I just found there is 'attitude control' in '4.1.1 Service Module' section of REXUS manual.

Would that not qualify as a guidance equipment ?

My guess is, they don't necessarily launch from the same tower, but i don't know ?


Some more info from Wiki: Esrange
Esrange has four launch pads:

* Aries launcher
* Centaure launcher
* MRL Launcher (used for the Black Brant)
* Skylark launch tower (used for the Maxus and Skylark)

Where ?
from SSC : Esrange Space Center Facilities
I don't think there's a guidance on this tower ?

ESA Page for Kiruna Ground Station
Mmm.. :cool:

Hm .. Let see from the air :
From Swedish aerial photo service :
Esrange : http://kartor.eniro.se/m/pIFdG
Kiruna : http://kartor.eniro.se/m/MeDsA

Or from space with Google Earth :
Esrange, 67°53'31.13"N, 21° 5'2.63"E
Not too good ...

I think this explains it in detail, check page 8 :

They all have rails, whatever that means ..

and, from FAQ about Esrange
How many rocket launchers are there at Esrange?
5 in all. 3 permanent (stationary) and 2 mobile.

I think, it's hard to say from which pad exactly they launched, but there's plenty of rocket info, if that helps ?

And some more:
REXUS Technical Overview
1. The Rocket

The student experiments are launched on unguided spin-stabilised solid-propellant single stage rockets (Fig. 1).
Fig 1: REXUS Standard configuration
PDF : http://www.rexusbexus.net/images/storie ... erview.pdf

Unguided .. but i see not a word about from which launcher, or am i missing something ?

Derived from Orion, Wallops Flight Facility, they have a busy schedule too :
and student research programs :
NASA Hosts RockOn! 2010 University Rocket Science Workshop in June
U.S. university faculty and students are invited to a weeklong workshop to learn how to build and launch a scientific experiment into space. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is hosting the RockOn! 2010 workshop June 19-24 in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. Registrations for the 2010 workshop are being accepted through March 22.

Code 810: Sounding Rockets Program Office
The Sounding Rockets Program Office (SRPO), located NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, provides suborbital launch vehicles, payload development, and field operations support to NASA and other government agencies. SRPO works closely with the Sounding Rocket User Community to provide launch opportunities facilitating a broad spectrum of science apprlications.

In support of science, SRPO conducts approximately 20 flights annually from launch sites around the world. Operations are conducted from fixed launch sites such as Wallops Test Range (Virginia), Poker Flat Research Range (Alaska), and White Sands Missile Range (New Mexico) as well as sites such as Andoya Rocket Range (Norway) and Esrange (Sweden).

Argh.. khm .. Enough for one post :oops: :roll:


From Indian Space Research Organization :
Successful flight testing of advanced sounding rocket
March 03, 2010
Indian Space Research Organisation successfully conducted the flight testing of its new generation high performance sounding rocket today (March 3, 2010) at 08.30 Hrs, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR.

Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV-D01), weighing 3 tonnes at lift-off is the heaviest sounding rocket ever developed by ISRO. It carried a passive scramjet engine combustor module as a test bed for demonstration of Air- Breathing propulsion technology.

Wiki : Satish Dhawan Space Centre
Home : Satish Dhawan Space Centre

I can't find anything about a rocket ..

General info from Wiki : Sounding rocket

Wiki : Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
The Vikram Sarabhai Space Center is one of the main Research & Development establishments within ISRO. VSSC is an entirely indigenous facility working on the development of sounding rockets; Rohini and Menaka launchers; ASLV, PSLV and GSLV, along with the solid-fuel motor program.
Home : Vikram Sarabhai Space Cente


The info I read might be inaccurate. It says that the Skylark rocket launches were discontinued and that that Brazilian VSB rocket was used instead, on what's apparently implied to be the same tower.

Edit - Info was from the launch tower wiki article. I said the same tower meaning that it's basically the same concept. A tower guiding initial rocket trajectory. Good legwork though.


nimbus":3rimej9i said:
The info I read might be inaccurate. It says that the Skylark rocket launches were discontinued and that that Brazilian VSB rocket was used instead, on what's apparently implied to be the same tower.

Edit - Info was from the launch tower wiki article. I said the same tower meaning that it's basically the same concept. A tower guiding initial rocket trajectory. Good legwork though.
I was following the similar train of thought, that's why i sniffed around Orion sounding rocket, with no answers, but fun anyway. Honestly, i don't know anything about this part of a rocket flight, and that makes it interesting :)

A lot of side info came out, would not if you would've not commented, so you are a part 'guilty' too, and thank you for that :cool:


From Edwards Air Force Base :
X-51 getting ready for first flight
Posted 3/4/2010 Updated 3/4/2010
by Diane Betzler
Aerotech News and Review

3/4/2010 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- There's some pretty exciting stuff going on at Edwards Air Force Base as the flight test center team gets ready to conduct an awe-inspiring X-51 first flight.
The plan is to air launch the X-51A WaveRider using an expendable solid rocket booster from under the wing of a B-52, this spring.

Lt. Col. Todd Venema, director of the Hypersonic Combined Test Force explained just how the test team plans to do that. "We're going to take the WaveRider and launch it from a B-52 at 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean and the vehicle is going to drop away."
Colonel Venema further explained that if all goes as planned, the vehicle will be accelerated by a solid rocket booster up to about Mach 4.5. Once it reaches that speed the booster will drop away and the vehicle and the engine will ignite and accelerate the vehicle up to Mach 6, about six times the speed of sound.


SDC Article :
Air Force to Test New Hypersonic Aircraft
By Turner Brinton
posted: 09 March 2010
06:52 am ET

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force is gearing up for the first of four planned test flights of a hypersonic aircraft designed to operate for much longer durations and cover far greater distances than previous platforms of its type.

Wiki : Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base (IATA: EDW, ICAO: KEDW, FAA LID: EDW) is a United States Air Force and NASA base located on the border of Kern County, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino County, California, in the Antelope Valley.
Wiki : Boeing X-51
The Boeing X-51 is a scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic (Mach 7, around 8,050 km/h) flight testing.

Boeing : X-51 WaveRider
The X-51 program is a consortium between Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The customers are the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with support from NASA.


js117":13jlpavx said:
Maxus-8 sounding rocket was launched from Kiruna in northern Sweden carrying four microgravity research modules on a hectic 12-minute space voyage. The maximum altitude of the rocket is about 750 km, about twice the height of the Station.

The link of the story http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Hig ... 8_999.html
I thought at a first glance, you are talking about RExus 8, which was launched two days after RExus 7, but this is different:

from the above article :

Kiruna, Sweden (ESA) Mar 29, 2010

ESA's Maxus-8 sounding rocket was launched from Kiruna in northern Sweden carrying four microgravity research modules on a hectic 12-minute space voyage. The ultimate results may include improved turbine blades for aircraft engines.

At 14:43 CET, Maxus-8 took off from the launch pad at the Esrange Space Centre watched by Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, Olle Norberg, Director General of the Swedish National Space Board, and Lars Persson, Director of the Swedish Space Corporation.

Attaching the fins to the Castor 4B rocket ahead of the Maxus 5 sounding rocket launch from Esrange in Kiruna, northern Sweden. Maxus 5 is scheduled for launch on 1 April 2003. Credits: Swedish Space Corporation

Astronautix : http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/castor4b.htm

Orbital Sciences Castor 4B : http://www.designation-systems.net/dusr ... tor4b.html
The Castor 4B solid-propellant rocket stage can also be used stand-alone as a single-stage suborbital rocket. At the time of this writing, at least nine single-stage Castor 4B rockets have been launched, the first one in July 1996. The first military use of this rocket were two U.S. Army launches in August 2005 as part of the CMCM-1 (Critical Measurements and Countermeasures Program, Campaign 1) missile defense tests. The U.S. Navy has since used the Castor 4B as a target vehicle in three recent tests (between November 2005 and December 2006) of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system and the RIM-161 SM-3 missile. When used as target in missile defense tests, Orbital Sciences Corporation designates the Castor 4B rocket as the MRT (Medium-Range Target). The MRT can also be air-launched, using a cradle in the cargo space of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

(There's an image, but i can't link it, it's not allowed)

Wiki : Castor rocket stage

ESA : Maxus 5 prepares for launch

Attaching the fins to the Castor 4B rocket ahead of the Maxus-5 sounding rocket launch from Esrange in Kiruna, northern Sweden. Maxus-5 was launched on 1 April 2003.

Credits: Swedish Space Corporation

Assembly of the payload for the Maxus-5 sounding rocket at Esrange in Kiruna, northern Sweden. Maxus-5 was launched on 1 April 2003.

Credits: Swedish Space Corporation
There are more links in this ESA article.

Orbital Sciences Corporation : Ballistic Target Vehicles (Printer friendly)
Monday, March 29, 2010

For nearly 20 years, Orbital has provided suborbital target rockets, having built and launched nearly 200 target vehicles for more than a dozen customers. Our most recent medium-range target is the multi-mode Medium Range Target (MRT) which can be air-, ground- or sea-launched to offer a broad range of ballistic trajectories. MRT is based on a Castor 4B rocket motor and is equipped with Orbital’s most advanced avionics package. Designed to accommodate flexible hardware and software designs, MRT allows customers to select from a wide variety of mission parameters in a single target design with minimal lead time before mission execution. The air-launched MRT is launched from a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft, using a parachute extraction and descent system.

To date, Orbital has conducted eight MRT missions with several additional launches planned in the future.

Swedish Space Corporation : MAXUS (only to 7)
The MAXUS programme is a joint venture between SSC and EADS Astrium Space Transportation used by ESA. It provides an efficient and reliable access to high quality microgravity. MAXUS is launched from SSC’s launch facility Esrange Space Center outside Kiruna. An experienced team runs MAXUS and the concept offers frequent flight opportunities, subsystems and experiment modules for microgravity research.

Technical characteristics:
Apogee: > 700 km
Microgravity: up to 14 minutes
Payload mass: up to 785 kg


Thanks alot EarthlingX for putting a lot more to my post.
Glad it was different.


js117":1wqwag8e said:
Thanks alot EarthlingX for putting a lot more to my post.
Glad it was different.
Welcome :) It is an interesting subject for me, and no hassle, i'd do it anyway, then just drop in links and some copy/paste ;)

I missed the launch though, thanks for posting :)






http://www.space-travel.com : Air Force Space Officials Prepare To Launch First Minotaur IV
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles AFB (AFNS) Apr 19, 2010
The first launch of the Minotaur IV Space Launch Vehicle is scheduled to occur April 20 at noon PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.


The Minotaur IV is the newest variant in the Minotaur family of rockets built by Orbital Sciences Corporation. It is a four-stage solid rocket vehicle consisting of three decommissioned Peacekeeper missile stages and a fourth commercially built stage developed by OSC.

For this maiden lift-off, the rocket will be in a "lite" configuration consisting of only the first three stages and no fourth stage due to mission requirements.

The payload for this first launch is the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle, or HTV, built by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency scientists.

The Falcon HTV-2 program is an innovative research and development joint venture of DARPA and the Air Force to develop and demonstrate hypersonic technologies that will help achieve a prompt global-reach capability.

Wiki : Minotaur IV ( live launch tracking )
The Minotaur IV, also known as Peacekeeper SLV and OSP-2 PK is an American expendable launch system derived from the Peacekeeper missile. It is being developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation, and was scheduled to make its maiden flight in October 2009, with the SBSS satellite for the United States Air Force. Currently its maiden flight is scheduled to be a suborbital launch of a Hypersonic Test Vehicle HTV-2, scheduled for April 2010.

Wiki : Vandenberg Air Force Base ( live )


http://www.nasaspaceflight.com : First Minotaur IV launch – with Hypersonic Test Vehicle – delayed
April 21st, 2010 by William Graham


The Minotaur IV rocket was set to make its maiden flight on Wednesday from Space Launch Complex 8 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA. However, unacceptable weather has delayed the launch until Thursday. The rocket is set to fly a suborbital trajectory, carrying a prototype hypersonic reentry vehicle.

From Wiki article above :

Launch is scheduled for a six hour window opening on April 22, 2010 at 19:00 UTC (12:00 pm PDT).


SDC : Pentagon Loses Contact With Hypersonic Glider Launched on New Rocket
By Stephen Clark

posted: 24 April 2010
04:00 am ET

A new Minotaur launch vehicle derived from retired missile parts successfully blasted off from the California coast Thursday, but officials lost contact with a hypersonic glider testbed for a U.S. military quick-response global strike system.

The Minotaur 4 booster, flying in a downsized three-stage configuration, launched on a suborbital mission at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. EDT; 2300 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 8 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The three-stage version of the launcher uses retired Peacekeeper missile motors. The configuration is called the Minotaur 4 Lite. A small winged glider designed by Pentagon researchers was the payload for Thursday's launch.

I found this video :



spacefellowship.com : Micro-Space is Currently Manifested to fly TWO tiny CubeSats
Published by Matt on Sat May 29, 2010 10:44 am

Micro-Space is currently manifested to fly TWO tiny CubeSats “Ride Sharing” launch with EduSat, Sich-2 and other spacecraft, to be flown on a Dnepr into Sun Synchronous (near Polar) Orbit, Oct. 29, 2010. Payload Integration for this satellite group is being handled by Morehead State University, involving Dr. Ben Malphrus (Space Science Center director) and professor Bob Twiggs. Micro-Space will also be delivering two similar spacecraft to Morehead State University, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Additional research systems will be added by the two universities.

The complete, four satellite “PQ-Gemini ++” mission group, in addition to validating general satellite systems, will be capable of demonstrating Micro-Space interferometric techniques to characterize orbital differences using only precision range data between ultralight spacecraft in preparation for autonomous rendezvous. Additional systems will allow the relative positions, distance and rotational alignment of the four satellites to be continuously monitored. This information is necessary for the final, docking procedures. Other developmental steps will follow, leading to ultralight Sample Return Missions on the Moon and Mars.

Micro-Space is discussing with several organizations both return sample analysis and Lunar Prospecting. The latter will be aimed at locating concentrations of extractable Lunar Gems and Minerals. High grade Titanium, rare earth metals and Helium Three (a potential Fusion Reactor Fuel) are all known to exist on the Moon. Low cost flight of concentrated ores to the Earth is feasible using Solar Powered, electromagnetic "Rail guns", and other technologies.

Google reports malware infection on Micro-Space home page, no problems here :

http://www.googlelunarxprize.org : Micro-Space - About Us

spacefellowship.com : Official Micro-Space Forum
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