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 powerful “Castor 4B” type rocket makes it possible to transport payloads of around 800 kilograms to an altitude of up to 750 kilometres. During the parabolic flight of the MAXUS rocket, experiments can be conducted during an experimental window of around 13 minutes under microgravity conditions. In the process, the experiments are conducted in separate individual modules, arranged one above the other inside the rocket. The data is captured during the flight using telemetry or stored aboard for collection after recovery of the scientific payload. During the flight, the scientists can directly control and monitor the test sequences using telecommanding and video monitoring.

The first flight took place in 1991. MAXUS is a project of the European Space Agency (ESA). The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has a key involvement.

Datum Launch Rocket Mission Results Experiments
08.05.1991 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 1 Partial success, peak altitude 154 km Material physics
08.11.1992 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 1B Success, peak altitude 717 km Material physics
29.11.1995 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 2 Success, peak altitude 706 km Material physics
24.11.1998 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 3 Success, peak altitude 713 km Material physics
29.04.2001 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 4 Success Material physics & GPS tests
10.04.2003 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 5 Success Material physics & biology
22.11.2004 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 6 Success Material physics & biology
02.05.2006 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 7 Success Material physics & biology
26.03.2010 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 8 Success Material physics & biology
07.04.2017 Esrange Castor 4B MAXUS 9 Success Material physics & biology