At 09.23 on Wednesday morning, the Suborbital Express 3 research rocket was launched from Esrange outside Kiruna - packed with twelve different experiments.

Preparations for the launch of the Suborbital Express 3 sounding rocket from Esrange outside Kiruna. Archive image.
Preparations for the launch of the Suborbital Express 3 sounding rocket from Esrange outside Kiruna. Archive image.

"Everything has gone well. Now it is up to weightlessness and we have many happy researchers in place here", says Esrange's press manager Philip Ohlsson a few minutes after the launch.

The experiments in the load involve everything from stem cells for diabetes research to particle research that will provide answers about the birth of planets.

Two different fluid experiments will investigate how drops of different liquids behave when evaporating – to investigate how to improve thermal conditions for astronauts, says Swedish space company SSC (Swedish Space Corporation).

Project manager Stefan KrΓ€mer says that there are mechanisms that are easier to study in weightlessness because they are affected by gravity. The experiments may prove to be important for humanity in the long term.

"It's wonderful that both Sweden and SSC can be part of such important research," he says in a press release.

The current sondraket is the fifteenth in the line to be postponed from Esrange since 1987. The launch takes place after two and a half years of preparation.

The European Space Agency ESA is the program's largest customer and finances several of the experiments on board.

Facts: The experiments on board

Uppsala University sends live stem cells and insulin-producing beta cells. By exposing them to weightlessness, it is hoped to get closer to treating type 1 diabetes.

The Belgian University of ULB in Brussels investigates how drops of various liquids behave when evaporating; they want to investigate how liquids can be used to transmit heat and contribute to improved thermal conditions for astronauts.

Duisburg University of Technology tests how positively and negatively charged particles behave in space. Through a loaded field in a closed container, scientists have created a kind of mini-universe where the particles are to symbolize stars and planets.

Italian researchers have developed a capsule to be used for re-entry into the atmosphere. When the rocket reaches its maximum height, the capsule and the umbrella-shaped vessel will test a real re-entry into the atmosphere and impact on the ground. The goal is to test the durability to potentially be used in future space missions.

The other eight experiments share the space in a common module. Among these are research on panamasickness and experiments for measuring cosmic radiation built by Swedish gymnasists.

Source: SSC (Swedish Space Corporation)