Maxus & Texus Sounding Rockets

Scientific results: 

This rocket was launched from Sweden in 1998 in order to study Granular Mediums in low-gravity environment. It leads to the first observation of clustering formation due to the inelastic collisions between particles. Results have been published in Physical Review Letters [see also here or in the ESA Database (Erasmus Experiment Archive)].

See the  Items from the scientific american press (Science, Science News, Physics News...) about this paper.

Cluster formation in a granular gas fluidized by vibrations in low-gravity. (the density increases from right to left)

  What are sounding rockets?

texus.JPG The TEXUS Sounding Rocket Programme (Technologische EXperimente Unter Schwerelosigkeit) was initiated in 1976 by the German Ministry for Research and Development. With a gross payload weight of typically 360 kg, an apogee of 260 km is reached, and microgravity conditions are achieved during 370 seconds.

The Mini-TEXUS programme was initiated in 1993 to satisfy the demand of investigators for microgravity duration in the range of three to four minutes, at lower costs. The Mini-TEXUS rockets employ two-stage solid fuel motors (first stage: Nike, second stage: Orion) from military surplus equipment. They permit launch a 100 kg scientific payload to an altitude of 150 km, thereby providing microgravity conditions for 200 seconds .

Source: Facilities for Microgravity Investigations in Physical Sciences supported by ESA, esa SP-1116 (Revision 2); ISBN 92-9092-036-X; ESA Publications Division, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands