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Fiber-Optic Sensing Experiment on the Rexus Sounding Rocket

Rexus (Rocket Experiments for University Students) is a sounding rocket program offered by the German Aerospace Center and other space agencies. Targeted at university students throughout Europe, it offers the possibility to perform student-built experiments on board an unmanned rocket vehicle. (

As an in-flight experiment on the Rexus rocket, the Institute for Measurement Systems and Sensor Technology hosts the “Fiber-Optic Vibration Sensing Experiment“ (FOVS). FOVS aims at the application of so-called fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. FBGs are optical gratings inscribed to the core of an optical fiber. They allow for entirely optical measurements of temperatures, mechanical strain and of deduced quantities, such as vibration. Due to their properties (mechanical robustness, high dynamic range etc.), FBGs are particularly suited to cope with the harsh environmental conditions in a rocket vehicle (very high and very low temperatures, intense vibrations, etc.).

This “hands-on” project comprises topics from electrical, optical and mechanical engineering, as well as microprocessor software development. In addition to the scientific aspect, interdisciplinary tasks are of relevance, such as project administration, collaboration with experiment teams from other universities throughout Europe, and public outreach.

The targeted project duration is two years. Thus, there is the possibility for the participating students to experience all phases of the project, including the flight itself. Depending on the individual preference, students are invited to participate at the project either as project or thesis work or outside a formal study requirement.

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Contact: Dr.-Ing. Martin Jakobi, Institute for Measurement Systems and Sensor Technology, m.jakobi(at), phone: 089-289-23351.

(Photo: DLR, CC-BY 3.0)