Experiments get six minutes in weightlessness with a Swedish rocket

On Wednesday morning, Suborbital Express 3 is launched from Esrange in Kiruna. On board there are twelve different experiments that get to experience six minutes of microgravity.

Wednesday morning at 08:00 the rocket Suborbital Express 3 is launched from Esrange outside Kiruna. It is the fifteenth in a series of launches from Kiruna that started in 1987.

The rocket is a so-called Maser rocket. Maser stands for materials science experiment rocket and the rocket program is run by the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC).

On board are twelve different experiments developed by companies and universities from countries around the world. Among other things, a Swedish experiment will examine stem cells for diabetes research.

The rocket is sent 260 kilometers into the air and gives the experiments six minutes of microgravity.

– Different mechanisms are easier to study in microgravity, because gravity often has a strong influence on the experiments we work with. This year’s Suborbital Express campaign has a payload of twelve experiments from vastly different fields that can potentially give us answers with a direct impact on life on Earth. It is wonderful that Sweden and SSC can be part of such important research, says Stefan Krämer, who is the program manager for the postponement in a press release.

Here are the various experiments

Neurobeta is a project led by Uppsala University. The experiment takes living stem cells and insulin-producing beta cells into space. By exposing the cells to microgravity, the researchers hope to get closer to a treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Arles is a Belgian project that includes two experiments. These will investigate how drops of different liquids behave during evaporation. Among other things, the experiments will vaporize droplets in microgravity under several different conditions, for example by introducing an electric field to see how the droplets are affected.

Chip is a German project that will investigate how electrically charged particles behave in space. The goal is to learn more about planet formation.

Mini Irene is the only experiment that does not return to Earth with the other experiments. The Italian experiment will test a kind of umbrella-like capsule for mid-air deceleration.

Continue is a Swiss watch company that will test mechanical wristwatches under extreme speeds, g-forces and microgravity.

Muse is led by a research team from Costa Rica that will try to find answers to questions about the Panama disease, which is a fungus that causes plant diseases on banana plants.

Adi-Alpha is an Australian project brings with it two experiments in a cube satellite. The first will examine yeast cells and the second a special microfluidic chip.

Lab-on-paper is an experiment focused on investigating a paper-based sensor that can be used in the identification of glucose and antibiotics.

Aurora-1 won the annual summer competition held by the association Astronomical Youth. The experiment will examine cosmic radiation using a self-built scintillation counter.

Newton is a project with the goal of increasing public awareness of space. Newton will take parts of fruit trees into space and then plant them around Sweden at various scientific centers – so that everyone can taste space.


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