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Announcement of Opportunity for Sounding Rocket and Balloon Flights


The ESA Education Office has today issued an announcement of opportunity for student experiments to be flown on two sounding rockets and one stratospheric balloon, to be launched from Kiruna in Northern Sweden.

Selected student teams will have the chance to design and build an experiment suitable for flight on the BEXUS 7 balloon that will be launched in September 2008, or the REXUS 5 and 6 sounding rockets, to be launched in March 2009.

Each flight will carry a payload consisting solely of student experiments. Half the payload is available to German students through a DLR Announcement of Opportunity and the other half is made available to students from all other ESA Member States and Co-operating States by the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) through a collaboration with ESA.


The deadline for applications is 7 January 2008. In order to apply, student teams should register online and fill in Form A with the details of their proposal. The opportunity is open to students aged between 18 and 28 at the time of the application deadline. Applicants must have the nationality of an ESA Member State or Co-operating State and be enrolled as full-time undergraduate or PhD students in a University in an ESA Member State or Co-operating State. They must also be studying or researching a subject in a relevant field of science or engineering. (There is an exception to this rule for German students, who should apply to the parallel DLR Call.)


The best 10-12 team proposals will be shortlisted and announced on 28 January 2008. Shortlisted teams will be invited to a workshop at ESTEC from 5-6 March 2008 to present their proposals to experts from ESA and Esrange. Before the workshop they will have to submit basic technical information by filling in Form B. The final selection will be done by the team of experts on 7 March 2008, immediately after the workshop.

Post-Selection Procedure

The selected teams will be invited to a training week at Esrange in Kiruna, Sweden, from 21-25 April 2008. A preliminary design review of each experiment will be carried out during this week by experts from Esrange. In the following weeks, students will work on their design, following the advice that they have received and complete documentation for a critical design review (CDR).

CDR documentation should be sent to Esrange in June, after which it will be reviewed by the experts. Once it is approved (possibly after several iterations), the design will be considered to be finalised. The students will then build their experiments during the summer of 2008 (in the case of BEXUS) and up to the end of 2008 (in the case of REXUS). Completed experiments must be shipped to Esrange before the deadlines yet to be agreed.


ESA will sponsor up to four team members from each team to attend the following:

* the selection workshop at ESTEC (5-6 March 2008);
* the training week at Esrange in Kiruna (21-25 April 2008);
* the campaign (September 2008 or March 2009).

All costs related to the rockets, balloons and launches are covered under the bilateral Agency Agreement between SNSB and DLR regarding the REXUS and BEXUS programmes. Esrange experts will provide technical support in the integration and testing phase, as well as providing campaign management and operations.

Students will be responsible for funding the development of the experiments and their shipment to Esrange, in collaboration with their universities or other sponsors.


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