Telescobe is an experiment developed by postgraduate and undergraduate engineering students from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Ireland. The aim of the Telescobe project is design, build and fly a telescopic boom system capable of being used to deploy E-Field and Langmuir probes for use in upper atmospheric research. A telescopic boom system potentially makes more efficient use of the available space and mass onboard a sounding rocket when compared with other boom systems.
The Telescobe experiment was launched on the REXUS 9 sounding rocket from Esrange Space Centre in February 2011. A video of the REXUS 9 launch can be found here. However, during this flight, a hatch on the experiment module jammed, preventing the experiment from functioning properly.
The Telescobe experiment was granted a re-flight on the REXUS 11 sounding rocket, scheduled to be launched from Esrange Space Centre on 16th November 2012. Modifications have been made to the experiment including a new hatch system, a new boom retention system and general improvements to the experiments camera, software, mechanical and electrical systems.
Funding for the Telescobe project was provided by the Dublin Institute of Technology, Enterprise Ireland, ESERO Ireland, FDS Worldwide and Acra Control Ltd.
Figure: A CAD drawing of the completed Telescobe experiment module
What is REXUS?
The REXUS/BEXUS project allows students from universities across Europe an opportunity to carry out scientific and technological experiments on sounding rockets and high altitude balloons. Two rockets and two balloons are launched each year from the Esrange space centre in northern Sweden, carrying a total of up to twenty experiments.
Figure: REXUS rocket standard configuration
The REXUS vehicle is an unguided, spin-stabilized, solid-propellant single stage rocket. The total rocket vehicle has a length of approximately 5.6 m and the diameter is 0.35 m. The standard configuration of the payload comprises the recovery module, the service system, an ejectable nosecone and two or three experiment modules. After liftoff, the motor will burn out at an altitude of about 25 Km. The motor will then separate from the payload, with the payload continuing up to an altitude of approximately 100 Km before descending again. A parachute then deploys from the recovery module before the payload hits the ground.
The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Centre (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 collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).