REXUS 11 - Launch Campaign November 2012 at ESRANGE Space Center

After a malfunction of the REXUS 12 recovery system the launch of REXUS 11 was postponed in March 2012 indefinitely. During the summer, the investigation to find out what happened during the REXUS 12 flight was performed. Now, the official date for the second REXUS 11 flight opportunity was set by DLR, SSC and ESA to the 15th of November 2012. The new REXUS 11 campaign starts on Saturday, the 10th of November. The end of the campaign and final launch date will depend on the weather conditions and preparation progress during the campaign at ESRANGE Space Center in Kiruna, northern Sweden. This site will serve as the main update platform apart from our Team CaRu facebook site (Scroll below for our daily blog).

As members of the "Movember and Sons" project the MoBro's Daniel, SR and Sebastian will support the "Movember" idea in cooperation with MoBro Fittsy by launching the first Mo-Rocket from ESRANGE Space Center near Kiruna, Sweden, on the 16
th of November. To change REXUS 11 into the Mo-Rocket, a moustache will be printed on the outer side of our 150 mm REXUS experiment module. The main aim of the Movember project is to raise vital funds and awareness for men's health issues. For this, all MoBro's have to start Movember 1st with a fully clean face and let grow a nice moustache till the end of Movember. During the month, MoBro's will raise funds by seeking sponsorship for their Mo growing efforts. If you support our effort to launch the first Mo-rocket to the edge of space, please make a small donation for our MoBro's Daniel, Fittsy, Sebastian and SR or their team of Moustachtronauts. For more information visit the following websites at

Watch live streaming video from rexusbexus at

Day 7, Saturday, 16th November 2012 (ESRANGE, SE)

Most people are still sleeping after the post flight party. It was, as they say, a wild one. Daniel, SR and Seb all got drunk, most other people were drunk too. There was this Romanian drink called "palinka" which SR took a liking to and noone else would touch. He ended up draining half the bottle and blathered a lot of things he didn't remember the next day to the girl who brought it. 

Because the launch went off as scheduled, SR also left for Dresden 2 days early - the next launch is waiting for him in the form of the CubeSat SOMP!

Day 6, Friday, 16th November 2012 (ESRANGE, SE)

1900 (CET): We have finally managed to make the reference video! Somehow, the volume of fluid being applied onto the paper has changed! The program has not been changed, everything else seems to be the same. After multiple attempts with Seb at the end of his tether, we finally have an acceptable version. 

1600 (CET): The experiment was opened and everything seems intact. A post flight test run looks good. The video has been extracted from the memory card and saved. The flight paper has been extracted and stored safely. Now we need to make a reference video for comparison and analysis.

1500(CET): The helicopter is back and the rocket has been brought to the Church! It looks the worse for wear, the landing did not go quite as planned, it appears. The nose cone is deformed, there's snow in our experiment.  Now to let it warm up to room temperature and see what's what. 

1200 (CET): The parachute has deployed nominally and the rocket has landed, the helicopter has been sent out to recover the experiment. Dan is back and he looks quite happy! Updates will follow after lunch. 

1149 (CET): T+4 minutes, the TV channel has been switched to the Telescobe team, so the CaRu experiment flight was, for all intents and purposes, a complete and resounding success! To reiterate, 

Experiment SUCCESS!

1147 (CET): T+2 minutes, CaRu Start of Experiment signal received and activated, the motor has been actuated, the liquid is out of the tube and is being absorbed by the paper! Looks quite exciting on the screen! 

1146 (CET): T+1 minute, communication looks good, TV channel looks good (Camera 1 functional), telemetry nominal, HD Hero (Camera 2) is filming.

1145 (CET): T - 0 LIFT OFF!

1135 (CET): T - 10 minutes, experiment power on, everything nominal, temperature at 22 degrees C, pressure at 97kPa. 

1126 (CET): T - 18 minutes and counting. The door to the Science center has been closed, all ground stations are set and ready. 

1105 (CET): T - 39 minutes and counting. Beautifully sunny and almost no wind! Those who wanted to be at Radar Hill have left already. The excitement is building!

0937 (CET): We have now a official GO for the hot countdown. The countdown will run at 0945 hours and start at T-2 hours. So REXUS 11 will be launched at 1145 hours, barring any unforeseen delays. Follow the countdown at or at or here on this page.

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0847 (CET): The first test countdown after breakfast started at 0831 hours has been successfully completed. Pressure was a bit low, at 96kPa and so was the temperature, holding steady at 25 degrees Centigrade - both a bit on the low side. We are now waiting for the hot countdown. 

0700 (CET): We assembled at the Science center punctually at 0545 hours. The first com check has been completed at 0640 hours. After a quick breakfast, we are now waiting for the hot countdown test. Experiment status is nominal, if a bit chilly, at 20 degrees Centigrade. 
Day 5, Thursday, 15th November 2012 (ESRANGE, SE)

The usual Polaris meeting in the morning contained a report from the Esrange Safety Officer, who discussed the weather conditions on Friday and Saturday - while Friday will be slightly windy with gusts at higher altitudes and precipitation making launch conditions tricky, Saturday will be perfect. The decision as to whether a launch will take place on Friday will be taken at 1900 hours today. If there is a Go for launch, there will be a hot countdown tomorrow morning at 0600 hours with the main launch a few hours later.

After the meeting at Polaris, there was a comm check at the Science center which went smoothly for CaRu. The rest of the day was spent mainly lounging around, watching the MORABA team putting the rocket together. As of 1527 hours, all the experiments along with the RXSM, nose cone, yoyo despin and the parachute modules have been attached together. Only the mating of the rocket with the motor remains, which should happen at 1900 hours. Exciting times!
Update: The decision was taken late last night to Go for launch in the early morning - weather permitting. The team leaders signed the "Student experiment flight readiness confirmation" document at the Flight Readiness Review last night at Polaris. The next event will be the assembling of all teams at the Science center at 0545 hours tomorrow morning for the comm check and the final launch countdown tests.

Day 4, Wednesday, 14th November 2012 (ESRANGE, SE)

After breakfast and the Polaris meeting, where the time plan for the day was outlined, Seb headed to SR's room and pounded on the door, where SR was showing no signs of stirring from bed. Once SR had woken up sufficiently to realize he had missed both breakfast and the Polaris meeting, things went much faster - we made our way to the Church and gave the experiment up to Mark and his team for Bench Test (-600 to +1000) preparation and if that goes well, a countdown test is also planned for the evening. Fingers crossed!

Update: The bench test and later the countdown test at the Science center went well. There were no problems with our experiment, though the Telescobe experiment experienced some communication problems. In the night, Seb and Dan worked on getting the experiment ready for submission. After working through the long checklist which included cleaning everything, filling up the fluid and closing the hatch, we are now happy (and tired) to report that as of 1AM on the 15th of November 2012, the experiment has been sealed (again) with Loctite and there can be no more changes. 

CaRu has been officially submitted for launch!

Days 2 and 3, Monday and Tuesday, 12th and 13th November 2012 (ESRANGE, SE)

Monday and Tuesday were meant for experiment preparation. So after breakfast on Monday morning, we went to the city to buy a new USB-RS232 converter which SR had conveniently forgotten to pack. After we returned, we went to the Church and continued testing. We ran a dry test, then a -600 to 0 test and then Seb prepared new paper to put inside the module and cleaned the tubes and valves. After lunch, Mark came over and we did a full countdown test, from -600 to +600 and we noticed a problem - about 15% of the received telemetry was rubbish - either the values were out of range or the values did not make any sense - for example, the temperature kept jumping between 30 and 35 degrees Centigrade - a 5 degree drop increase/decrease in a second is impossible. However, everything else seemed to work fine, so we counted the test as a success. 

After dinner, we got back to the experiment to isolate the problem. There were many places where it could lie, like the Java program not reading the serial port correctly, or the microcontroller sending junk, or the new USB-serial converter we bought earlier in the day malfunctioning or the RXSM simulator itself. Finally, after 1.5 hours we concluded the problem had to be with the simulator, after running a lot of tests to exclude everything else. So we went to bed happy, but SR still has a bit of trepidation concerning the performance during the main tests on Tuesday. 

On Tuesday, we had a formal "Welcome to the REXUS 11 Campaign" meeting in the Polaris and the morning is again reserved for experiment preparation. Since we figured out the issue the evening before and Seb finished cleaning everything after the wet test, we have nothing to do till Markus Pinzer and his team gets the REXUS service system up and running, following which we will perform individual experiment tests with the RXSM in the evening. Until then, it is time to roam around aimlessly! 

Update: The experiment test with the RXSM was concluded with one snag - the data was not being received properly. The problem that was mentioned above, reared it's ugly head again - about 15% of the data was unusable. So the conclusion we had arrived at on Monday evening was evidently wrong. After Markus Pinzer recorded the raw data stream and we compared it to the GUI recorded data in our computer, we made a comparison and discovered that though the raw data stream had no errors, the GUI data read the same data wrongly - and was therefore throwing out some exceptions and generally running in an unstable manner. So SR and Lux worked on it till midnight to make the GUI more fault tolerant so that it wouldn't throw so many exceptions and would run stably. After they were finished at around midnight, it was time for bed and a long sleep - so long that SR missed the breakfast and the Polaris meeting in the morning! 

REXUS 11 Launch Campaign - Day 3 13. November 2012

Day 1, Sunday, 11th November 2012 (ESRANGE, SE)

REXUS 11 Flight Opportunity at ESRANGE Space Center

Yesterday the campaign crew safely arrived at the range. The journey was long and exhausting. After the arrival, the team received the experiment for first sight checks. It seems that everything was in the same condition like 8 months ago. Late in the evening was a nice welcome back "happening" of all campaign teams with a lot of drinks. After a long-term storage of our experiment up here we run the first dry tests today. As we powered on the experiment it works immediately as we expected it. Against that, the communication wasn't successful. We got a data stream but our ground station couldn't store it to the database, so the graphical user interface couldn't show data too. The failure was within the operating system o
f the ground station. Therefor SR was doing some investigation together with our graphical user interface developer Lux. As the failure was solved by SR some hours later, the ground station was able to store and show the data. In the late afternoon a "T-600 to T+600" test countdown was running for our experiment. This test should show us if our schedule of the real launch and flight works without any anomalies. Beside that Sebastian mixed new fluids and made
 new papers for the following wet tests tests tomorrow.

Travel days, Friday - Saturday, 9th-10th November 2012 (Dresden, DE > ESRANGE, SE)

Dear reindeers, dear elks, dear deers,

you all remember the 4 crazy german guys which drove a little bit rally like through your nice forest in the middle of march? I have a bad message for you. They are back now! So please look out for a ugly red citroen and go away!!! 

Thank you, 

CaRu Campaign Crew

(At Kiruna, SE; ICA Car Park)
Just arrived in Kiruna. Got our totally ugly french car :(. Turned the first laps on icy roads to the local ICA store. It is about -3 degrees, 15cm of snow and cloudy. Next destination ESRANGE Space Center...

(At Stockholm Arlanda Aiport)
At Arlanda airport. Damn, luggage wasn't booked through. Next stop MAX restaurant...

(At Berlin Tegel Airport)
Good morning! After a bad night in the hotel an a delayed arrival at Tegel airport the team is just before the plan. All orders could bought at the duty free shop. Next aim is the nice burger restaurant at Arlanda airport. For all which are travelling too, lets have a late breakfast up there...

(At the bus from Dresden to Berlin)
On the road again!... Now the CaRu launch campaign crew is heading to Berlin Tegel airport hotel. Tomorrow the flight to Kiruna is at 7a.m.. Traditionally the first drink is taken now in the bus. Cheers for a successful movember campaign! The MoBros Daniel, SR and Sebastian...