Stratospheric Census at ESA Symposium

Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Stratospheric Census has been accepted to the 19th ESA Symposium on European Rocket & Balloon Programmes, which will take place in Bad Reichenhall, Germany, 7-11 June 2009.

Symposium Link:

The team will present its concept of collecting and measuring aerosols in the stratosphere.

Team Meets Swedish PM Reinfeldt

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt informed himself about the activities at Space Campus in Kiruna during a visit on Wednesday, 11 February.

Stratospheric Census was represented by Martin Siegl and Gerrit Holl. They explained the experiment in a brief talk and emphasized the fruitful cooperation between IRV, IRF, ESA and ESRANGE that had led to a successful flight.

On the left: Gerrit Holl and Martin Siegl; on the right: Prime Minister Reinfeldt and Hans Weber, head of the Department of Space Science (IRV)
Foreground, from left to right: Gerrit Holl, Martin Siegl, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Hans Weber (IRV) ( photo by P.

Final report published - Science continues!

Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 9:17 pm

The Stratospheric Censu s

team has published its final experiment report January 15th, 2009. A final presentation has been held on January 13th, 2009 for an audience of students, supporters and supervisors at IRV in Kiruna, Sweden.

Download the final report: (PDF, 5.5 MB)

The Earth’s stratosphere contains aerosols of various origins, including
aerosols of volcanic, cosmic and anthropogenic sources.

Such aerosols are
relevant to the climate. An experiment was ?own on a stratospheric balloon,
launched from Esrange, Sweden on October 8, 2008, as part of the BEXUS 7

It consisted of a pump creating an air?ow through a ?lter capable
of catching particles down to 0.3µm in diameter. A ground-controlled system
of tubes and valves ensured air?ow through the ?lter at an altitude of 12 km
and above, up to the balloon ?oating altitude of 27 km. Upon landing, the
?lter was recovered and analysed using electron microscopy, autoradiography
and X-ray ?uorescence. Autoradiography and X-ray ?uorescence indicated,
with good signi?cance, the presence of Co-57, In-11, I-125, Xe-133/Ba-133,
Cs-137 and Ir-192.

The team has experienced a year filled with an exciting, demanding and very rewarding project. Work on the scientific aspects of dust in the stratosphere will continue!

BEXUS-7 Trajectory

Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:27 pm

The flight trajectory of BEXUS-7, carrying Stratospheric Census and other experiments, had its starting point at ESRANGE near Kiruna (Sweden) and ended in a landing near Rovaniemi (Finnland). Google Earth (TM) allows a 3-D visualisation based on GPS data. 

BEXUS-7 flight trajectory, color-coded altitude

BEXUS-7 flight trajectory with color-coded altitude (click for bigger version)

In the above image, the trajectory is color-coded based on altitude.

The ascent and descent phases (yellow/green/blue) and the floating phase (purple/dark blue) of the balloon can be observed.

The floating phase was at a height of approximately 27 km.

The image below has ESRANGE in the foreground and Rovaniemi in the background.

The blue segment of the trajectory indicates where Stratospheric Census was taking its dust sample (”Experiment Mode”). Along the green segments, the filter was sealed off (”Stand-By Mode”).

BEXUS-7 trajectory, Stratospheric Census in Stand-By mode (green) and experiment mode (blue)

Stratospheric Census in Stand-By mode (green) and Experiment mode (blue)

Article in Visionsbladet

Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm

A small article about Stratospheric Census was published in Visionsbladet/Annonsbladet, a paper that goes to all Kiruna households.


Article Annonsbladet

Space student say thank you - and stay

Five international space students recently carried out a successful experiment on the student balloon BEXUS-7. With financial support from PROGRESSUM, they had built a “vacuum cleaner”, catching dust particles during the flight.

These particles will now be analyzed. In a press release they thank all space-related institutions in Kiruna which had all been of great help.

They think that Kiruna is the ideal place for space studies and decided to stay another year.

Kiruna Students flying high!

Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

(Press Release)

Five students from Kiruna launched a scientific experiment on the BEXUS-7 balloon from ESRANGE last week. “Our idea was basically a vacuum cleaner, we collected dust in the air, up to 27 km above the Kiruna region”, says Martin Siegl, one of the team members. He had built the experiment together with four other friends at IRV and IRF in Kiruna. The team had found excellent facilities there. “But the project would not have been possible without the financial help we got from PROGRESSUM”, Siegl points out. “The team would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked with us, especially our supervisors and the staff at IRV, IRF and ESRANGE for their input and help, even in stressful situations.” The campaign itself was organized and financed by a cooperation of the ESA Education office together with Rymdstyrelsen, Rymdbolaget and German DLR. 

During the flight of their experiment - the students called it “Stratospheric Census” - it passed a layer of dust from a volcanic eruption.

“We are very excited about this and now we are looking forward to the analysis of our results.” Just like in a vacuum cleaner, the students had used a pump to generate an air stream and a filter to collect dust particles. This filter will now be examined, after it had been recovered from the balloon’s landing site close to Rovaniemi, Finland. “Luckily we didn’t land in a lake, we were just 2 meters away from one”, says Mark Fittock who had worked with the mechanical aspects of the setup. 

The whole team, people from Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Australia agrees that Kiruna is the ideal place to be a space student. ” ESRANGE, where we launched, is close by.

They have experience in getting experiments off the ground. IRV and IRF have the expertise to build them. And PROGRESSUM made all of that possible with its support to us,” they say.

The team of Stratospheric Census is looking forward to many more exciting projects!

Bexus-6 and -7 safely recovered

Posted on Friday, October 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Bexus-6 and Bexus-7, the latter carrying Stratospheric Census, arrived at Esrange around 9:00 this morning, Friday 10 October. The Stratospheric Census team has dismounted the experiment from the gondola and is presently dismounting the filter, to be transported cleanly to the Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Martin  Rudolph inspects  the experiment upon recovery

Martin Rudolph inspects the experiment upon recovery.

Stratospheric Census has landed

Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 7:59 pm

BEXUS-6 was found “screaming in Finland”. BEXUS-7, carrying Stratospheric Census and a number of other student experiments, has landed at 19:30 CEST at 66° 39′ 52.56″ N, 25° 39′ 45.72″ E) north of Rovaniemi, Finland.

It will probably return to Esrange on Thursday.

After retriev al,

a cleanbag will be a acquired for the filters to be carried to the Czech Republic for analysis.

Stratospheric Census launched succesfully!

Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm

At 13:36 UTC (15:36 LT), around one hour ago, the Stratospheric Census experiment was succesfully launched on

the BEXUS-7 balloon payload.

It is now floating through the stratosphere, collecting particles of volcanic and cosmic origin.

The trajectory can be followed here.

(picture soon)

Final preparations on their way

Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 1:46 pm

The final tests for the Bexus-7 payload are being carried out. The E-link, the payload’s communication system, is now up and running.

After launch, it will be possible to keep track of the trajectory live via!

BEXUS-7 ready

Bexus-7 transported out of the “cathedral”