At November 15 2019, the 30th VSB-30 sounding rocket launch lifted its scientific payload to an apogee of 266 km. This 30th flight of a Veiculo Sondagem Bostado 30 (VSB-30) represents an outstanding milestone in the cooperation of the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) with its Brazilian partner DCTA/IAE (Departamento de Ciência e Tecnologia Aeroespacial / Instituto de Aeronáutica e Espaço). This henceforth 48 years lasting cooperation between DLR and DCTA was filled with new life in the year 1996 in the field of sounding rockets. The end of the production of European sounding rockets became tangibly and replacement was sought-after. With the S30 rocket motor the first Brazilian rocket in European science programs could be used as VS-30 in 1998. From 2001, the joint development of the S31 rocket motor as a 1st stage for the use in European microgravity science programs was expedited as a replacement for the Skylark from British production. Together with the S30 rocket motor, the science platform known as VSB-30 was developed and qualified in 2004. The following 15 years of operation gave proof of the attractiveness and robustness of the vehicle, particularly for the European science program. 25 of the 30 launches were conducted in Europe and secured the consistency of the science program. The continuous further developments in the framework of this engineering cooperation ensured the constant improvements in safety, quality and performance of the rocket throughout the years. This is confirmed by the impressive reliability of 29 from 30 launches.
DCTA / IAE and the Mobile Rocket Base permanently expanded their collaboration and are currently working on the heavy lift sounding rocket VS-50 which will elevate the payload capacity and possible applications to another level. In the field of microgravity research, it will again make missions in the MAXUS class available.
The 30th launch of the VSB-30 provided the scientists of the TEXUS 56 mission with more than 6 min of microgravity conditions. The scientific payload, funded by ESA, was in charge of Airbus Defence and Space. The Mission was conducted by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor together with OHB System and DLR Mobile Rocket Base and their partner SSC Swedish Space Corporation at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. MORABA is responsible for the sounding rocket platform, one of the redundant receiving stations and works on the on-board payload support systems on behalf of OHB System.
Left:First VSB-30 with Cajuana payload in 2004 at Alcântara Launch Center, Brazil.
Middle: VSB-30 mit HIFiRE 7 Nutzlast 2015 am Startplatz auf Andøya, Norwegen
Right: 30th launch of VSB-30 for the TEXUS 56 mission from Esrange Space Center, Sweden