It took the rocket a mere 20 seconds to break the sound barrier and reach a speed of Mach 1.2 (400 m/s) at an altitude of 5 km. SERA 3 (Supersonic Experimental Rocket Ares) was launched on 26 April from Kiruna, Sweden, before coming back down with parachutes. It is the 3rd experimental rocket to come out of the Perseus Project, an international consortium of students from universities, associations and space research institutes.
Participating students take two years to design and build their own mini-launchers to test their ideas directly. The objective is to promote innovating technology for future launchers and to encourage students to pursue careers in space-related fields. SERA 3 and its team were rewarded with the Innovation Prize earlier this year.
Students from the SERA 3 team © Florian Ginisty
The rocket was 5 metres high and 25 centimetres in diameter. It carried an onboard computer and 2 instruments to gather in-flight data. The mission aimed to demonstrate Perseus technologies and their ability to recreate flight conditions similar to typical launchers. Pressure, vibrations, and inertia data (acceleration, rotation) were collected. After the flight, all of the equipment was packed up and sent back to France so the data could be analysed.
Kiruna, Sweden© Project SERA 3
SERA 3 ready to launch © Project SERA 3
Perseus Project Manager for CNES's Launch Vehicles Directorate
Email: jean.oswald at cnes.fr
Find out More
CNES's Perseus website: https://perseus.cnes.fr/en/perseus-0
Perseus official website: https://www.perseus.fr/en/