Rocket-borne EXperiments for University Students


The REXUS programme allows students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe to carry out scientific and technological experiments on sounding rockets. Each year, two rockets are launched, carrying up to 12 experiments designed and built by student teams.

The basic idea behind REXUS is to provide an experimental space platform for students in the field of aerospace technology. “Besides additional study motivation, the students also gain experience in scientific experimental probe design, project team work and management which are important knowledge for their future careers”

The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

EuroLaunch, a cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles. Experts from ESA, SSC and DLR provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project.

REXUS are launched from SSC, Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden.

The Rocket

The student experiments are launched on unguided spin-stabilised solid-propellant single stage rockets (Fig. 1).

Fig 1: REXUS Standard configuration
Figure 1: A standard REXUS configuration


The launch vehicle is composed of an Improved Orion motor with exhaust nozzle extension, a tailcan, three stabilising fins and a motor adapter with an integrated separation system.

The total mass of the rocket is around 515 kg comprising a propellant mass of 290 kg, motor and vehicle hardware of around 125 kg and a payload mass of around 100 kg. The total rocket vehicle has a length of between 5.5 – 6 m and the diameter is 356 mm.

The standard configuration of this payload comprises the recovery module, the service system, an ejectable nosecone and two to four experiment modules. The total available mass to be shared between student experiments is normally about 30 kg.