SERA1, first Supersonic Experimental Rocket ARES

SERA rockets represent the "Performance" sector of ARES demonstrators.
The main objective of this project is to perform a supersonic flight to test and validate technologies developed in the frame of PERSEUS Project, to improve our knowledge on supersonic flight and to prepare the development of more powerful rocket.


PNG - 153.1 kb

SERA objectives are:

  • Validate the technologies developed within the ARES macro-project for supersonic flights (Mach > 1,2).
  • Allow a complete return of the trajectory and atmospheres met during the flight.
  • Qualify PERSEUS procedures for the sizing atmospheric test cases of a future launcher: conditions for transonic flight and maximum dynamic pressure.

Through SERA, PERSEUS proposes to the students a unique project in France with:

  • A supersonic flight.
  • A complete project life cycle.
  • Relations with CNES and industry to prepare for careers in spatial.

SERA1 is an evolution of traditional ARES rockets and includes the main characteristics of the macro-project:

  • An outer diameter of the structure of Φ160 mm,
  • A recovery system by axial separation,
  • An external supporting structure made from innovative sandwich composite tubes,
  • Composites fins lightened, easy to assemble and disassemble.
  • The use of the PERSEUS launcher and electronic equipment standards ARES.


JPEG - 370.3 kb
Equipe SERA1 après récupération
Crédits : V. Guinet

This rocket is based on a collaboration between 3 student associations, OCTAVE (University of Evry Val d’Essone), S3 (Higher institute of Aeronautics and Space) And AeroIPSA (Engineering School of Air and Space), managed by a PERSEUS project team (Bertin Technologies, GAREF Aerospatial, IPSA).
SERA1 integrates also a payload coming from Lulea University of Technology, called MADS.

The project is proceeding on two school years from September, 2012 till June, 2014. The launch is planned for early May 2014 on the site of ESRANGE, Kiruna in Sweden.


PNGSERA1 will be propelled by a Pro98-6G Green3 CESARONI engine, first engine of this type used in PERSEUS (gunpowder: 8,5 kg, total impulse: 14 200 Ns), which was qualified by ONERA.

A complete measurement plan will be integrated into the rocket to analyse flight loads and flight trajectory:

  • 2 inertial measurement units,
  • Vibration sensors in the nose cone,
  • 7 pressure sensors (nose, side and base),
  • 2 on-board cameras,
  • Retransmission of data by telemetry (except cameras).

SERA rockets are planned to integrate a student scientific payload developed by an external team. For SERA1, the payload will be an attitude determination system based on magnetometer compatible with architecture of cansat / cubesat type, developed by the Technological University of Luleå (Sweden).

Specific studies are in progress on the design and qualification of structures:

  • Composite nose with integrated peak enabling a measure of speed and incidence by measurement of air pressure (University of Evry Val d’Essone).
  • Fins in sandwich composite materials adapted to supersonic flight (Master SAS ISAE).
  • Characterization of innovative sandwich composite tubes (Research Project ISAE Supaero).

Performances expected


Maximum mach: 1.26
Culmination: 5 010 m (16 437 ft)
Maximum longitudinal acceleration: 10.4 g
Maximum dynamic pressure: 88.80 kPa
Maximum heat flux: 37.5 MW/m2
Estimated ballistic range (windless): 1780 m (5840 ft)
Flight time to peak: 28s

Future developments

SERA1 definition will serve then as a basis for SERA2’s 2nd stage, a supersonic Pro98-6G / Pro98-6G two-stage rocket.
Contacts :

Project modules