April 22, 2009

ESA announces ‘Fly your Thesis’ program

The European Space Agency is offering European students the chance to conduct experiments in microgravity by taking part in the Fly your Thesis! program.

The program enables university students to participate in a series of parabolic flights on the Airbus A300 Zero-G aircraft.

Fly your Thesis! requires each team of students to design a scientific experiment to be performed in microgravity as part of their master's or doctoral thesis or research project. Officials said teams should register at the ESA Education Office's Projects Portal -- http://joinspace.org:8080/metaframe/sites/dhw/iaf/ -- and upload their proposals using the letter of intent template by June 22.

A review board will select up to 20 teams to present their projects to a review board held at an ESA center.

After that initial workshop, up to four teams will be selected to further develop and perform their experiments aboard the A300 for three flights of 30 parabolas, experiencing about 20 seconds of microgravity during each parabola.

The ESA said it will announce a similar project later this year for opportunities on other gravity research platforms, such as drop towers and centrifuges.

Application information is available at http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Education/SEMVSRUG3HF_0.html.