The REXUS/BEXUS programme is targeted towards university students in the fields of natural sciences and engineering, who have a good idea for a rocket or balloon experiment. Participants will experience the full project lifecycle of their experiment, from design and development, to building and testing, to operation and data analysis.
Forming a team
It is recommended that students form teams of 4-8 people. You should try to include people from different disciplines and ensure that the team has a good range of skills addressing the many different tasks involved. For example:
- A scientist to define the parameters of the experiment and interpret the measurements
- A mechanical engineer to design and build the structure
- An electronics engineer to design and manufacture the circuit boards
- A software engineer to program the commands and data storage
- Someone with good communication skills to develop and execute a successful outreach programme
If you would like to form a team but do not have all the necessary expertise, you can try recruiting additional team members from other universities using the REXUS/BEXUS facebook page.
Teams should think about what facilities and expert knowledge they might need during the course of the project. It is highly desirable to have the endorsement of a university department or research institute. You will probably need to use laboratories and specialised tools and you will almost certainly need advice when unforeseen problems arise. You may also need to look for sponsors to donate components or funding for building and testing your experiment.
Technical experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA will provide training, carry out design reviews and offer technical support and guidance to student teams throughout the project. In addition to this, the support of an experienced mentor from a suitable field will be offered to each SNSA/ESA sponsored team following the PDR. The mentor will follow the integration and testing phase, offering advice on the functional aspects of the experiment in order to assist the team in meeting their scientific or technical objectives.
Ideas for experiments
Many experiments have been flown on sounding rockets and stratospheric balloons over the past 50 years. You should begin by researching what has already been done and try to think of an original idea or build on results which already exist.
Your experiment could be a scientific investigation, a technology demonstration or an environmental observation. Maybe you can link it to an existing research programme at your university.
Make sure that you have read the User Manuals of REXUS and BEXUS to understand what is possible within the constraints of the launch vehicle.