Airbus is an international pioneer and leader in the aerospace industry. Airbus designs, manufactures, and delivers aerospace products, services, and solutions to customers around the world.
The Airbus Defence and Space division works on several exciting space projects. One of them is the sounding rocket program TEXUS (Technische Experimente unter Schwerelosigkeit, Technical Experiments in Microgravity) for microgravity research. TEXUS is funded by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., or DLR) on behalf of the German government and has been operational since 1977. More than 70 TEXUS missions (including variants) have been carried out at the ESRANGE (European Space and Sounding Rocket Range) space center in Kiruna so far. With an apogee of 250 km, a TEXUS mission provides about 6 minutes of experiment time under microgravity conditions. The MiniTEXUS and MAXUS mission variants are characterized by lower respectively higher apogees and shorter respectively longer microgravity durations. Since the TEXUS mission 6 ESA (European Space Agency) joined the TEXUS program as an important customer for scientific payloads and has funded all MAXUS missions.
FLUMIAS (Fluorescence Microscope Applications in Space) is a scientific TEXUS payload that was funded by DLR and developed by Airbus in close collaboration with FEI Munich GmbH (formerly TILL Photonics, now part of ThermoFisher Scientific) to provide scientists with a facility to conduct cell research under microgravity conditions. It has been successfully flown on the TEXUS missions 52 and 54.
The Airbus division’s Data Engineering department supplies the hardware and software that the mission teams need to do their jobs. In the frame of the FLUMIAS project, the software engineering team developed the software that lets scientists ensure that meaningful scientific data is obtained when the payload operates under microgravity conditions during the mission. While data and video is downlinked to ground, scientists can specify the necessary adjustments to experiment settings during the mission.