MAXUS - Europe's largest sounding rocket to be launched from Esrange

In the beginning of April
, Europe’s largest sounding rocket will blast off from Esrange Space Center. For the first time in seven years, SSC is launching a MAXUS rocket carrying a payload that will provide microgravity conditions during 12 minutes to scientific research experiments. MAXUS 9 rocket measures 15.5 meters long, including payload and motor. The motor is now in place on the launch pad at Esrange Space Center, waiting to lift off. Planned launch date is 6 April.

MAXUS 9 will carry four scientific experiment modules. The main purpose of the different experiments is to investigate different materials and processes in microgravity. One example is the XRMON experiment. Two small furnaces containing metal samples are mounted in the rocket module. The samples are melted before flight and as soon microgravity is reached the different melts are set in contact with each other so that the mixing can be observed. Six such sample pairs will be processed during flight, at two different temperatures, 1200 and 1560 C. The metal samples are X-rayed and thus we can observe the process in real time during the flight as we will be sending parts of the digital image down to the ground over radio link. The aim of the research is to understand fundamental processes in metal alloys, to be able to develop materials that are very light and sustainable.

The MAXUS programme is a joint venture between SSC and Airbus DS. The  principle customer is the European Space Agency (ESA).  The rocket provides an efficient and reliable access to high quality microgravity.

The MAXUS sounding rocket programme was funded by Airbus DS and SSC in 1990 as an industrial joint venture. ESA has been the single user of the programme since the very beginning, financed through the European Programme for Life and Physical Science in Space (ELIPS). MAXUS carries 4-5 Scientific experiment modules of a total mass of up to 575 kg. The experiment modules are developed by SSC and Airbus DS under ESA contract.

The MAXUS 9 project started in 2013 and will be the tenth MAXUS mission launched from Esrange Space Center.

Stefan Gustafsson, SVP Strategy & Sustainable Business, SSC, tel. +46 70 541 31 56 

SSC is a global provider of advanced space services. We develop experiment payloads and provide rocket and balloon launch services at our unique facility Esrange Space Center. We also provide reliable access to satellites through our SSC Universal Space Network, one of the largest ground station networks in the world. Furthermore, we provide engineering consulting expertise to all phases of our customers’ space programs. With extensive experience and a solid understanding of the rapidly changing space market, we tailor innovative and sustainable solutions to institutional and commercial customers worldwide.

SSC covers the global market through its offices in Sweden, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, USA, Chile, Australia, China and Thailand, along with the global network of ground stations. SSC was founded in 1972 and has 550 employees. Read more at

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SSC provides advanced space services to commercial and institutional customers worldwide. Built on decades of experience, we offer proven expertise in space engineering, satellite management services and launch services for sounding rockets and balloons. We help Earth benefit from space.




Quick facts

The MAXUS 9 rocket will carry a payload that will provide microgravity conditions during 12 minutes to scientific research experiments. The rocket measures 15.5 meters long, including payload and motor.
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