The sounding rocket Texus 45 was successfully launched today from the Swedish Space Corporation’s launch facility Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. The launch took place at 07.15 (LT) and the rocket provided 6 minutes of weightlessness for the three experiments onboard. The Texus project is a sounding rocket programme with the primary aim to investigate the properties and behaviour of materials, fluids and biological samples in a weightlessness environment. Texus 45 is funded by the German space organisation DLR and carried out jointly by DLR, EADS Astrium, Kayser Threde and Swedish Space Corporation. One of the experiments studies the behaviour of 72 fishes (cichlid fish) as they enter into weightlessness. The aim is to focus on motion sickness and the scientists try to understand why certain individuals get sick and others don’t. They especially look into how sick animals can adapt to this situation and overcome their sickness.
A sounding rocket flight provides a unique feature as we are able to observe our samples during entry of the phase of weightlessness. Nobody has ever before observed how animals behave in this phase and we are very excited to analyse the film sequences that were recorded onboard and successfully recovered by helicopter, says Prof. Dr. Reinhard Hilbig from the University of Hohenheim in Germany.
Another experiment onboard, performed by the Technical University of Darmstadt, studies the hydrodynamics and the heat transfer in cases of spray impact onto a heated surface. The research aims at finding improved spray cooling methods in industrial processes.
The third experiment studies two-phase flows in capillary channels. The results of this experiment contribute to the answers of fundamental questions within the field of fluid mechanics. This experiment is collaboration between scientists from the University of Bremen and the Institut de Mécanique des Fluides in Toulouse.
The next rocket launch from Esrange Space Center is MASER 11 scheduled for launch on April 12. MASER is a Swedish rocket programme for microgravity research managed by the Swedish Space Corporation. ESA (European Space Agency) is the sole user of MASER 11 which will carry four microgravity experiment modules, Swedish Space is the prime contractor for all four experiment modules.
Source: Swedish Space Corporation (SSC)
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