Deutsch | Home | Zero-G flashbacks | Air Zero-G | Partial-G flight | MIRIAM-2 | Expedition Z | V-ERAS 1 | Zero-G USA | Spaceport America | MIRIAM-1 | Esrange | The experiment | The northern lights | Austrian Parabelteam | SPFC 2002 | Physical basics | Parabolic flight | Body reactions | Life in space | Science | Space tourism | Art

On the Esrange

In Oktober 2008 (13. - 25.10.) finally the time had come. All parts had been sent to the Esrange Rocket test range in northern Sweden (Lapland), from here MIRIAM was to be launched to space on top of Rexus 4. The Esrange is operated by the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), Rexus 4 was built in cooperation with Eurolaunch, a consortium of DLR Moraba in Oberpfaffenhofen and SSC.

Esrange panorama with balloon launch area and rocket launch pads

The Esrange

The Esrange is a rocket test site ca. 40 km east of Kiruna, located north of the polar circle, on 67°N, 21°E. Besides rocket launches also satellite surveillance and control is done on the Esrange, therefore you will find numerous big satellite dishes in the forests around the range. As long as no countdown is running, in his free time the visitor can enjoy the untouched nature on long hikes or, in the winter, on cross-country skis.

Another highlight of this area are the northern lights, which can be seen frequently when the skies are clear. They are one of the most wonderful sights nature can give.

Some impressions from the area:

On the Esrange there is an accomodation for the launch crews - named Hotel Aurora, with sauna, gym, kitchen etc.. Therefore it is not necessary to travel the long way from Kiruna to Esrange each day. Furthermore in the main building breakfast is served and during the week also lunch, whereas the international food of the Esrange canteen is very good.

Hotel Aurora on the Esrange

Antenna forest

Esrange main building

Various launch pads

MIRIAM integration and launch

But first MIRIAM arrived on the Esrange behind schedule. Much effort was put into last tests and improvement on the control software, until finally everything was integrated and ready for a launch on the 22.10.2008.

Our spacecraft

In the control room during the bench test

The barrier to the launch area is closed

© Mars Society Deutschland / UniBw München
Countdown monitor

© Mars Society Deutschland / UniBw München

Last tests on the spacecraft prior integration on the rocket

Assembling of the payload segments

Video monitoring room for the flight

After miscellaneous problems with the rocket and some worrying about worsening weather conditions - the forecasts for the following days were bad - it was decided that the test countdown and the hot countdown would be done on the same day. To the delight of everyone this worked out beautifully.

© Mars Society Deutschland / UniBw München
The rocket is being erected

Rexus 4 lifted off from the Esrange on the 22.10.2008 at 14:30 h local time, with a picture perfect launch.

The separation of the 1st stage of Rexus 4 can be seen very well