The Nucleus Test Vehicle

Nammo and ASC are preparing to launch the Nucleus vehicle, a testbed for new space technologies developed in Norway.

The Nucleus mission is a very important mission for Norwegian space technology since it will test a number of technologies to be used in the coming years. First we have the newly developed hybrid rocket motor made in Norway by Nammo Raufoss. Traditional sounding rocket motors use solid fuel only and once they are ignited they cannot be stopped. In addition they are very hazardous to handle since they are preloaded with the fuel.

Hybrid motors use a mix of liquid and solid fuel, which means that the motor can shut down in-flight and even adjust its speed. Another benefit is that the motors are only hazardous when fueled on the launch pad, simplifying storage and handling.

4D Space Module
ASC has developed a mother-daughter module together with the University of Oslo. The module will release six daughters during this flight. They are each independent spacecraft performing their own missions while reporting data back to the main vehicle which again beams data back to the ASC telemetry antennas on ground. These daughters will be very important for future sounding rocket missions investigating aurora and space weather.

Link to Norwegian article describing the 4D-space module.

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
The IMU instrument made by Sensonor is currently onboard the International Space Station and large satellite launch vehicles. The aim is to see how well these IMU’s function on the “Formula 1s” of space vehicles – the sounding rockets. These rockets have a much higher acceleration than launch vehicles targeted for satellites, thus applying much more stress to the technical equipment.

New Pyrotechnics
Sounding rockets use pyrotechnics to release payload doors, booms, nosecones and such. ASC has developed an improved pyrotechnics which need to be verified in a real flight.

Flight Events
The Nucleus mission is a suborbital flight. The nominal flight events for the mission are as follows:

T+0 seconds : liftoff
T+40 seconds: burn phase completed
T+70 seconds: release of the 4D daughters
T+180 seconds: ejecting nosecone using new pyrotechnics
T+185 seconds: apogee
T+350 seconds: mission end

Video Stream
A video stream will be available from the Nammo YouTube-channel: Link

Launch Period
The mission can be launched between September 17th and October 3rd, sometime between 1000 and 1800 local time.

The illustrations are made by Trond Abrahamsen, ASC, and are free to be used in articles about the Nucleus mission.

Nucleus in flight mode
Annotated illustration of Nucleus during payload deployment
Release of the 4D daughters
Illustration of flight events

Point of Contact
Mr Kolbjørn Blix, head of the ASC Space Systems dept.
+47 76 14 44 00