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First Countdown For New Two Stage Rocket Motor At Esrange

Reconstruction of the former Skylark launch tower to adapt it to the new rocker motor VSB-30.

Esrange, Sweden (SPX) Nov 29, 2005
At Esrange, the Aerospace Operation Facility of the Swedish Space Corporation, preparations are being carried out for the November 30 Texus sounding rocket launch. This will be the first launch from Esrange using the new Brazilian VSB-30 sounding rocket, replacing the British Skylark rocket, which is no longer commercially available.

With a nominal payload mass, the VSB-30 rocket has somewhat higher performances and reaches an apogee of up to 270km, which provides flight opportunities for experiments under microgravity conditions for up to six minutes.

The speed when it leaves the launcher is about 60m/s, and after 45 seconds of acceleration the max speed will be over 200m/s. The flight time is estimated to be 500 seconds, which allows the payload to be back for analysis at Esrange within one hour after landing. The recovery is made by helicopter.

Sounding rockets are a cost efficient complement to the Space Station and Space Shuttle as they offer easy and reliable access to microgravity for short duration experiments. The microgravity environment gives scientists a unique opportunity to investigate complex physical or biological processes without the influence of gravity.

This is also the first flight of a new sounding rocket facility called EML (Electro Magnetic Levitator), which was jointly funded by the Deutsches Zentrum fur Raumfahrt (DLR) and ESA, and developed and built by EADS-ST for precision measurements of thermophysical properties of electrically conducting materials in the molten state.

Besides the EML facility the payload contains another independent experiment module named TEM 06-24 (The Capillary Channel Flow Experiment). Both these modules are developed by EADS-ST.

This launch is carried out jointly by Eurolaunch (SSC and DLR) together with EADS-ST. ESA and DLR are the users of this flight.

The EML experiment
In the experiment chamber of the EML facility an electrically conducting sample can be levitated by electro magnetic fields. In addition, surface oscillations of the molten sample can be induced, from which its interfacial tension and viscosity can be derived.

Two experiments will be performed one after another: the first using an Al alloy, and the second with a Ti alloy.

Both alloys will be molten and solidified during flight. The sounding rocket EML facility was derived from a unit flown on earlier parabolic flights in an Airbus, but the hardware is completely new. Three cameras and a pyrometer are observing the probes, and the video images and data will be sent back to Esrange in real time.

The Capillary Channel Flow Experiment

A capillary channel consisting of two parallel plates (distance 10 mm, breadth 25 mm) will be filled with a perfectly wetting liquid (FC-72) by capillary forces in the beginning of the ballistic flight of the payload.

After that the flow rate through the channel will be maintained by a pump. The contour of the free surface is observed by a video camera and transmitted to the ground station. The aim of the experiment is to measure the maximum flow rate which can be achieved through the channel.

Capillary channels or vanes are used in space to transport and position liquids and propellants to the desired location if other forces (like gravity) are not available. The experiment will help to get precise data for this flow type to validate theoretical and numerical models and to improve the application of capillary channels for space applications.

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Khrunichev Space Center Head Dismissed
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Nov 29, 2005
Alexander Medvedev, the director-general of the Khrunichev Space Center has been dismissed, the center said in a news release Monday, reports RIA Novosti.

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