BECCAL aims at conducting multiple experiments with ultracold and condensed atoms on board the international space station (ISS). The payload aims at enabling fundamental research and advance technology development for future quantum-based sensors. The long term microgravity conditions on board of the international space station is unique to these goals by offering prolonged times of free fall and observation. In addition, BECCAL contains additional trap configurations to trap, cool, and manipulate the atoms.
BECCAL follows QUANTUS and MAIUS, a series of DLR-funded projects for atom-optical experiments in microgravity in the drop tower and on board of sounding rockets. In addition, BECCAL profits from the experience of the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), which has been developed at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was deployed on the ISS in 2018.
Additionally, the, in BECCAL, developed technologies and scientific goals will be employed in future missions, such as STE-QUEST, a test of the universality of free fall with atom interferometers. Furthermore, developments of satellite-based quantum-sensors for applications in navigation and earth observation are advanced.
BECCAL is designed and constructed by the Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensing and the Institute of Quantum Tehcnologies with support by the DLR Space Administration. In addition, the Humbold Universität zu Berlin, the Johannes-Gutenberg Universität Mainz, the Ferdinand Braun Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik, the Leibniz Universität Hannover, the Universität Bremen, the Universität Ulm, and OHB System AG are involved.