Phos project: Lesson learned from experimenting a pulsating heat pipe on board a sounding rocket (REXUS18) and refurbishment strategies

Gian Marco Guidi, Marco Molina, Sauro Filippeschi, Francesco Creatini, Federico Belfi, Giorgiomaria Cicero, Davide Fioriti, Davide Di Prizio, Stefano Piacquadio, Giulia Becatti, Giulia Orlandini, Alessandro Frigerio, Simone Fontanesi, Pietro Nannipieri, Michele Rognini, Nicolò Morganti, Paolo Di Marco, Luca Fanucci, Federico Baronti, Mauro MameliMarco Marengo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


PHOS Project ( was launched on March 18th, 2015, from the Esrange Space Center (SSC) in Kiruna, Sweden. The aim of the project was to test two Closed Loop Pulsating Heat Pipes (CLPHPs) in 90 seconds microgravity experienced on board REXUS18 sounding rocket. The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The programme offers a unique opportunity for students to get in touch with research activities and engineering challenges related to the space field. Despite PHOS Project short duration (20 Months) with respect to real space projects of larger scale, several challenges was encountered related both to the technical implementation (design, development, manufacturing and testing) of the experimental system to be interfaced to the rocket and to the programmatic and organizational aspects (management, team working, cost analysis, industrial cooperation). In the present paper, the design of the experimental set-up and the experimental results are briefly discussed, even though it was not possible to experience the expected low gravity conditions due to a failure of the rocket's yo-yo de-spin system. Moreover, all the lesson learned related to the project development are properly recognized and listed, highlighting efforts and learning curve of the junior team members to respect mandatory deadlines and reviews. With these reported lessons learned, this paper could be a basis for future Student teams that intend to participate a stimulating programme like REXUS/BEXUS. The implementation issues encountered and the trade-offs analysis, which has been made between different design solutions in order to meet mission requirements, are reported. Finally storage constraints and a refurbishment strategy for possible future re-flight are described.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Event67th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2016 - Guadalajara, Mexico
Duration: 26 Sept 201630 Sept 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


Conference67th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2016


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