Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

TEXUS 49 Lifts Off With Four German Experiments On Board

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. Credit: Astrium GmbH
by Staff Writers
Esrange, Sweden (SPX) Mar 30, 2011
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.

The TRACE+ (Transparent Alloys for Columnar Equiaxed Solidification) materials science experiment, performed by the Aachen ACCESS research centre, investigated the processes and structures involved in the solidification of metallic alloys.

This was done by analysing the behaviour of a mixture of organic substances with a solidification process similar to that of a liquid metal. The transparency of the organic alloy made it possible to observe its solidification process directly. The experiment will yield data for improving industrial casting processes.

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.

In addition, cell cultures were carried on board TEXUS 49 to monitor the activity of all genes in the immune system using modern DNA chip technology. Scientists suspect that certain molecules in cell membranes may be responsible for disrupting the immune system in microgravity. If these suspicions are confirmed, the findings could eventually lead to new approaches for fighting diseases.

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 Tecnico Aeroespacial (CTA) and Instituto de Aeronautica e Espaco (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 fur Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium fur 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.

Up to two rockets are launched from Esrange each year. Following a parabolic trajectory, they can reach an altitude of up to 270 kilometres before parachuting back to Earth and being recovered by helicopter.

During the flights, experiments are performed in separate, autonomous modules within the launcher. Data is acquired using telemetry during the flight and upon recovery of the scientific payloads. The tests can be directly controlled and monitored via telecommanding and video transmissions.

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.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Esrange Space Center
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

A Reusable Manned Deep - Space Craft
Bethesda MD (SPX) Mar 29, 2011
Almost a year after Launchspace contributing editors suggested an exploration vehicle that would take crews from low Earth orbit to many solar system destinations such as asteroids and lunar circumnavigation, NASA has come up with NAUTILUS-X, which stands for Non-Atmospheric Universal Transport Intended for Lengthy US space eXploration. The suggested NASA version is a tubular-looking space ... read more

Arianespace Flight VA201: Interruption Of The Countdown

Final Countdown Is Underway For Second Ariane 5 Flight Of 2011

Next Ariane 5 Mission Ready For March 30 Liftoff

Another Ariane 5 Completes Its Initial Build-Up At The Spaceport

Study Of 'Ruiz Garcia' Rock Completed

Next Mars Rover Gets A Test Taste Of Mars Conditions

Alternatives Have Begun In Bid To Hear From Spirit

Opportunity Completes Study Of Ruiz Garcia Rock

84 Teams To Compete In NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

A New View Of Moon

Super Full Moon

LRO Delivers Treasure Trove Of Data

Later, Uranus: New Horizons Passes Another Planetary Milestone

Can WISE Find The Hypothetical Tyche In Distant Oort Cloud

Theory: Solar system has another planet

Launch Plus Five Years: A Ways Traveled, A Ways To Go

White Dwarfs Could Be Fertile Ground For Other Earths

NASA Announces 2011 Carl Sagan Fellows

Report Identifies Priorities For Planetary Science 2013-2022

Planetary Society Statement On Planetary Science Decadal Survey For 2013-2022

TEXUS 49 Lifts Off With Four German Experiments On Board

A Reusable Manned Deep - Space Craft

NASA's Successful 'Can Crush' Will Aid Heavy-Lift Rocket Design

XCOR And ULA Demonstrate Revolutionary Rocket Engine Nozzle Technology

What Future for Chang'e-2

China setting up new rocket production base

China's Tiangong-1 To Be Launched By Modified Long March II-F Rocket

China Expects To Launch Fifth Lunar Probe Chang'e-5 In 2017

When Is An Asteroid Not An Asteroid

Stardust Fires Up Main Engine For Final Burn

Dawn Opens Its Eyes, Checks Its Instruments

ESA Remembers The Night Of The Comet

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement