MASER - MAterial Science Experiment Rocket
MASER (MAterial Science Experiment Rocket) – the sounding rocket programme for microgravity research financed by the Swedish National Space Board through its ESA funding and conducted by Swedish Space Corporation (SSC).
Gravity affects many physical, chemical and biological processes on Earth. Using unmanned high-altitude rockets, valuable research can be performed cost-effective.
The first MASER rocket was already launched in March 1987, reached an altitude of 300 kilometres. Experiments could be performed under micro-gravity conditions for 7 minutes. 13 rockets were launched in total – last in December 2015.
The payload normally consists of 4 – 7 experiment modules. The total experiment part of the payload is 240-290 kg. MASER uses a two-stage solid propellant rocket. Earlier, Black Brant IX or the Skylark 7 have been used. Since 2008 they are replaced by the VSB-30.
A parachute system is also integrated. The payload is normally recovered and transported back to the launch site by helicopter to ensure the prompt evaluation of the experiments performed during the flight.