BEXUS balloon ready for launch at Esrange, Kiruna.

The IRISC experiment

Most astronomical images are made from a ground based telescope or an orbital telescope. A ground based telescope has the advantage of being in comparison with an orbital telescope, but the disadvantage of having an atmosphere between it and the target. The orbital telescopes have less interference but has a much higher cost and complexity in every aspect.

IRISC wants to make a low cost balloon borne telescope which is above most of the atmosphere, thus reducing the interference of the atmosphere. By doing so, we hope to make astronomical research more accessible to the public.

Astronomical images in the near infrared spectrum

Scientific objective

The aim of this experiment is to obtain images in the near infrared spectrum from celestial bodies with a highly stabilized IR camera mounted on a BEXUS balloon, for image analysis. For this we are looking for cameras which operates without (much) additional cooling. The goal of the project is to make affordable balloon telescope when compared to an orbital one, but with the advantage that most wavelengths won't be filtered by the atmosphere compared to a ground based telescope.

NIR images have the benefit that interstellar dust does not interfere. This experiment is flown on a BEXUS balloon to get rid of most of the the atmospheric distortion.

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CAD design of the telescope with near infrared camera mounted on a gondola.


The telescope (yellow) is stabilized by a gimbal (purple). The IR camera (red) is mounted on the telescope. The telescope has a narrow field of view. In order to find a target, the guiding telescope with visible camera (green) is used. The control system (blue) controls the system.

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BEXUS logo, part of ESA.


The REXUS/BEXUS programme allows students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Each year, two rockets and two balloons are launched, carrying up to 20 experiments designed and built by student teams.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSA). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through the collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project. EuroLaunch, the cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles.

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Milestones for the IRISC experiment.

Soldering BEXUS representatives

CDR Soldering

Soldering course during the CDR.

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Electrical architecture context diagram


A post about an important subsystem, power!

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Camera ad optics

Camera & Optics

Our baby has arrived!

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Electrical PCB orders camera

Orders are arriving & first iteration PCB

The IRISC team is happy to finally be able to start building and testing.

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