Welcome to the MEDUSA experiment!

On this website we will introduce you to the MEDUSA experiment. We are a group of students and graduates, who are planning an experiment to probing the lower ionosphere plasma. Therefore we are proud to be part of the REXUS 15/16 Campaign.

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Campaign finished

As you may have read on Facebook we had a great and successful Launch Campaign at Esrange Space Center near Kiruna in Northern Sweden. We had two amazing and exciting weeks, so that we would like to give you a short summary of what we experienced there.

picture of Tristan, Paul and Nils are fitting the parachute into a FFU.Tristan, Paul and Nils are fitting the parachute into a FFU.

In general we used the first week for preparing and assembling our experiment. We did last improvements on some mechanical parts and finished our work on the last electronic parts of the FFUs. After that we built all parts, including the parachute system, into the FFUs and connected the electronic parts. Then we were able to fit the FFUs into the ejection pipe. After we have closed and tightened the hatches of our module, we assembled the ejection pipes into the module and connect the FFUs with our OCU (Onboard Control Unit). Alongside we had our final bench and communication tests and also a hot and cold flight simulation test of our flight-hardware. These tests were done in order to make sure that all experiments worked fine and all teams can communicate with their experiments during flight. That was the last step before we handed over our experiment module to the guys from ZARM and DLR MORABA. They screwed all experiment modules together and connected them with the REXUS service module. These modules then formed the payload of our rocket REXUS 15.

picture of a river in the Abisko national park.River in the Abisko national park.

On Sunday we had a day off and we decided to go to the Abisko national park. We were impressed by the nature and the huge amount of water due to the thaw. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a moose but on our way back home we saw several reindeers, which were quite nice as well.

On Monday of the second week we had a test countdown to get ready for the scheduled launch on Tuesday morning. This was done to test all tasks which are necessary to launch the rocket. As there is a lot to do, the countdown for REXUS rockets starts at T-2h which means two hours before lift-off. This test countdown runs quite well so that the organizers decided to have a hot countdown on Tuesday. Unfortunately this hot countdown has to be stopped at T-8min due to some serious problems with the umbilical. This is the communication line between the ground station and the mounted rocket on the launcher. Since the investigation of this problems took some time it was decided to have the launch of REXUS 16 first. Therefore we went to the radar hill (a hill at Esrange Space Center with a lot of satellite dishes) to see the magnificent launch of REXUS 16, which was a really amazing experience for us.

picture of REXUS 15 on its way to the launcher.REXUS 15 on its way to the launcher.
In the meantime the problem with the umbilical was fixed so that REXUS 15 with our experiment on board could be launched on Thursday. This time the countdown ran without interruption and our experiment worked fine too. Half an hour after launch a helicopter started to look for our FFUs and the rocket and bring them back to the Space Center. When the helicopter arrived we were very happy because they found at least one of our FFUs which is really a success for us. On Friday we recovered and secured the data from the FFU and prepared our experiment for shipping home to Germany.

Now back in Rostock we work hard on analysing the measured data and on writing the final version of our Student Experiment Document.

Last but not least we would like to thank very much the guys from ZARM, DLR MORABA, SSC and ESA for the great organisation of this Launch Campaign. You made a great job and we will never forget this experience.

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