Completed, Rocket Missions


May 4, 2021


The name of the MAPHEUS research rocket stands for “Materialphysikalische Experimente unter Schwerelosigkeit” (material physics experiments at zero gravity).

Every year the German Aerospace Center (DLR) launches a MAPHEUS research rocket with a payload developed and supervised by the Institute of Materials Physics in Space (MP).

The Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of Space Operations and Astronaut Training (RB) provides the payload support systems and launch service of the sounding rocket which reaches an altitude of up to 268 km and thus facilitates more than 6.5 minutes of microgravity, before it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

The MAPHEUS 11 rocket in May 2021 consists of a two stage vehicle configuration that carries the nearly 250 kg scientific payload to an altitude of 221 km, providing more than 5 minutes of microgravity for the three experiments onboard.


General information

Launch Site Esrange Space Center
Launched 2021-05-24 LT 07:35 Apogee 221km
Rocket Type IM/IM
Project Managers DLR: Prof. Dr. Andreas Meyer SSC: Lena Gälldin



The challenge is to make powder-based additive manufacturing independent of gravitational forces. The planned experiment is a sequel to previous experiments in this research field, during which metal powders were investigated in parabolic flights. Within MARS a part from bulk metallic glass powder ,AMZ4’ will be fully automatedly manufactured. This will be the first attempt to manufacture parts from bulk metallic glass over several minutes in weightlessness and will provide a wealth of scientific data to prepare for even longer microgravity time on orbital platforms in the near future.




Measures diffusion in liquid alloys using x-ray radiography and shear-cell furnace in two different experiments. Heating of furnaces will start prior to countdown, liquidizing the alloys before liftoff

  • In one furnace Al-In alloys will be melted and interdiffusion in the liquid state will be measured. This is a benchmarking experiment.
  • In the other furnace the spike method will be applied to liquid Al-Ge alloy. A layer of aluminum or germanium is placed between the parts of an interdiffusion couple. This method enables an isotope free measurement of self-diffusion. The method gives no stable density for liquids on ground and will now be tested in microgravity.



In Somex, a modular experimental environment for microgravity platforms such as MAPHEUS sounding rockets has been developed, consisting of interchangeable soft-matter sample cells that can be combined with different optical instrumentation. In addition, the hatch of the pressure-tight hull, through which the colloidal sample cells are installed during early access, represents a technology demonstrator. Two experiments will be processed on the qualification flight:

  • Granular matter is injected into cells and diagnosed using light scattering and high-speed imaging.
  • Studies colloidal suspensions: coated Janus particles are pumped into cassettes, tempered, and irradiated by laser and LED. Cameras record their movements and light scattering at an angle.


Contact Persons


Prof. Dr. Andreas Meyer, DLR

Alexander Kallenbach, DLR

Lena Gälldin, SSC Esrange Space Center


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The MAPHEUS 11 campaign consists of a two stage vehicle configuration with three German experiments onboard.

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