Current MORABA Missions
Within the MAIUS research program scientists carry out interference experiments with “decelerated” ultra-cold matter waves, so-called Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs). A Bose-Einstein condensate occurs when a cloud of atoms is cooled down to almost absolute zero. This ultra-cold atomic cloud shows interference phenomena similar to a laser and can in principle be used in an atomic-optical instrument for precision measurements.
MAPHEUS – “Materialphysikalische Experimente unter Schwerelosigkeit” (material physics experiments at zero gravity). Some experiments in the field of material sciences require “zero gravity” in order to yield high-quality results. MAPHEUS, a German Aerospace Center research rocket programme, provides the material physical payloads of the German Aerospace Center with a suitable microgravity experimental environment. Every year the German Aerospace Center launches a MAPHEUS research rocket which reaches an altitude of up to 250 km and thus facilitates more than 6 minutes of microgravity, before it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
The MAXUS programme provides scientists with the opportunity to research at microgravity, and prepare experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). It is characterised by the largely reusable payloads, short preparation and access times, regular and user-friendly access to microgravity and the low safety requirements in comparison to manned missions.
The Reusability Flight Experiment (ReFEx) is being developed by DLR to provide flight and design data on, as well as operational experience with, a winged first stage of a RLV. As such ReFEx will be a small technology demonstrator and is scheduled for launch in 2022. The experiment will be launched on a VSB-30 sounding rocket to altitudes and velocities similar to a first staging event and will then attempt a return flight along a trajectory comparable to a returning winged first stage RLV, transitioning from hypersonic speeds down to subsonic flight.
Rocket and balloon experiments for university students (“Raketen – und Ballon-EXperimente für Universitäts-Studenten”)
The Swedish-German student programme of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) provides Swedish and German students with the opportunity to conduct scientific and technical experiments on rockets and balloons in near space or special atmospheric conditions. In the process, the students become familiar with the complete process of a space flight project, which begins with the idea and planning and ends with publication of the results.
ROcket Technology Experiment – Transition: Student flight experiment of the Aerodynamic Institute of the RWTH Aachen and the German Aerospace Center, with the goal of improving the reliability of flight experiments. As well as the qualification of a new booster, comprehensive scientific instrumentation is used to capture valuable data.
The Sharp Edge Flight Experiment (SHEFEX) stands for a German Aerospace Center programme for the development of new, cost-effective and safe engineering principles for space capsules and space gliders with capability to re-enter into the atmosphere, and their integration into an overall system. When space vehicles re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, the high speeds of the space vehicles and the friction and displacement of the molecules in the air cause temperatures in excess of 2000 degrees Celsius. In order not to burn up, spacecraft previously required very expensive and sometimes unreliable heat shields.
The STERN (“Studentische Experimental-Raketen”) programme provides higher education students with the opportunity to plan and construct their own rockets, including the propulsion system, and also launch them from the Esrange launch site near Kiruna in northern Sweden. A telemetry unit is provided as the payload to transmit all the important trajectory parameters, such as acceleration, speed and flight altitude back to Earth. The data are then available to students for flight data analysis.
Scientists on the TEXUS (Technologische EXperimente Unter Schwerelosigkeit (technological experiments in zero gravity)) science programme carry out biological, material science and physical experiments with research rockets in space conditions. TEXUS is the longest running experimental programme on sounding rockets in the world.
WADIS – Wellenausbreitung und Dissipation in der mittleren Atmosphäre (wave propagation and dissipation in the middle atmosphere) – is the successor to the successful ECOMA programme. Two WADIS campaigns have been conducted that investigated the influence of gravity waves on the energy budget of the atmosphere; gravity waves which occur in the troposhere and are converted into heat energy in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (80 to 130 km altitude). In the process, the turbulent transportation of trace substances, such as atomic oxygen, are to be investigated and measured directly for the first time.