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U-PHOS is a project whose main goal is to characterize an innovative heat exchange device for space applications.
Our project is framed into the ESA Educational’s REXUS/BEXUS programme.

The team is exclusively composed of University students. We have been selected in December 2015 from an ESA, DLR and SNSB selection board, to participate to the rocket launch campaign of REXUS 21/22.

We are going to design, realize and test an experiment which will be mounted on board of the REXUS sounding rocket, in order to test our device in a reduced gravity environment.
The device that we are going to test in our experiment is a Pulsating Heat Pipe (PHP). A PHP is a passive heat transfer device which by means of a two-phase fluid, in a capillary tube, is capable to dissipate high values of thermal power.

During our project we are going to face a lot of reviews and tests, before getting on board of the rocket spring of 2017. The rocket will be launched from the SSC’S (Swedish Space Cooperation) Esrange Space Center, in Kiruna (Sweden).


The experiment consists of a system composed by a test cell, made in order to measure the functionality of a Closed Loop Pulsating Heat Pipe in a low g-environment, and a complete data acquisition system.

To do that we need to realize a setup composed of:

  • A PHP, made of a serpentine of Aluminium tube having 3mm inner diameter and 5mm outer diameter. This diameter is greater than the critical one for the capillarity on ground, so the device won’t work on ground, but only in reduced gravity conditions.
  • A pair of heaters in order to provide the necessary thermal power to the PHP in the evaporator section, simulating an heat source caused by electric or mechanical devices overheating.
  • An heat sink realized by means of a PCM (Phase Change Material) made of a paraffin wax and a metallic foam (in order to increase the thermal conductivity of the paraffin).
  • A power supply for the heaters, realized by means of a space approved battery and a related electronic hardware control system.
  • An on board data handling system, in order to measure the necessary parameters to obtain the thermal resistance of the device.
  • A real time software controlling all of the processes, by means of a CPU.
  • A REXUS interface system.



Our team

Who are we? We’re a bunch of students with the head full of ideas and ready to work hard.
Our project team is exclusively composed of students from Pisa University.
We have mechanical, electrical and electronical engineers working on the technical side.
The team is completed with management engineers and economists involved in economical management, performance optimization and marketing strategies.
We are followed by some professors who coordinate this particular research group.

Do you want to see who is behind this project?

Rexus Programme

The REXUS projects within the REXUS/BEXUS programme allow students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe to carry out scientific and technological experiments on sounding rockets. Each year, two rockets are launched, carrying up to 10 experiments designed and built by student teams.

The basic idea behind REXUS is to provide an experimental space platform for students in the field of aerospace technology. “Besides additional study motivation, the students also gain experience in scientific experimental probe design, project team work and management which are important knowledge for their future careers”



To achieve our goals we need the support of many subjects: enterprises, organizations, associations but also individuals who believe in our experiment and who provide the logistic and material support to bring our work in orbit.
Up to now we are in partnership with some of the most important electronical and mechanical companies in Italy: we presented them our project and they believed in us, so they gave us hardware and technical support.

Do you want to see all our sponsorship?