Fly Your Thesis! programme

Zero-G Airbus A300 for parabolic flights

The Fly Your Thesis! (FYT) programme gives university students from master to PhD levels the opportunity to fly their scientific experiment or technological research in microgravity conditions. The experiments can be related to fluid physics, chemistry, biology, material sciences, heat transfer and astrophysics. The parabolic flight campaign takes place on the Airbus A310 Zero-G, which is operated by Novespace from Bordeaux, France. Each campaign consists of a series of three flights of 30 parabolas each. These will provide about 20s of microgravity each. 

The aircraft is a two-engine modified Airbus A310 Zero-G aircraft, with an overall length of 46.4 m, a wingspan of 43.9 m and a maximum mass of 157 tonnes. The aircraft provides a testing volume inside the cabin of 20 x 5 x 2.3 m3 (L x W x H) with a total mass of up to 4000 kg for all experiments, allowing a maximum of 40 experimenters or approximately 12 teams to perform their experiments. The FYT programme offers up to 4 teams the possibility to join this campaign.  

Experiments for the Airbus A310 Zero-G will be mounted on primary structures with a maximum base dimension of 1500 mm x 800 mm and a height of 1200 mm and can weigh up to 75 kg. 

With the Fly Your Thesis! programme, ESA offers university students the chance to perform experimental research in facilities not usually accessible to them. The programme launches a call for proposals once a year, which then stays open for a minimum of two months. During this phase, student teams of 2 to 4 students together with the endorsing professors from their universities are encouraged to send in their proposals for experiments using the Airbus A310 Zero-G. 

The experiments proposals may cover various disciplines which will be selected based on scientific and technological merit by a Review Board. The Review Board, composed of experts from ELGRA, ESA’s Human Spaceflight and Operations Directorate and ESA’s Education Office, will make a first selection of up to 15 teams by the end of October. The final selection of up to four teams is expected by mid-December.  These teams will be given the opportunity to perform a 2 week campaign that will take place in Bordeaux, France. The team has then about 9 months to develop and build their experiment. After the campaign is over, the results will need to be processed and documented within 4 months. A more detailed timeline can be found here.

FYT is a fantastic opportunity for students to conduct their experiments in microgravity conditions. Moreover, ESA strongly encourages students to publish their research results in peer-reviewed journals as well at international conferences. 

Are you interested in participating in the next Fly Your Thesis! campaign? Please check the links on the left side of this page, and see how you can apply

Quick Facts

Project: Fly Your Thesis!
Level: University (master and PhD students)
Status: Call for proposals is closed; deadline was 21 September 2015
Contact: flyyourthesis @
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