Fly your Thesis! - An Astronaut Experience

Zero-G Airbus A300 for parabolic flights
10 June 2008

Calling all European students! ESA’s Education Office is offering the flights of a lifetime with the launch of a new programme called “Fly your Thesis! – An Astronaut Experience”.

This exciting programme will enable university students to fly their experiments in microgravity by participating in a series of parabolic flights on an 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 masters or PhD thesis or research programme. Teams should register on ESA Education’s projects and upload their outline proposals using the letter of intent template, by the deadline of 31 August 2008.

A review board will select up to 20 teams who will be invited to elaborate a detailed scientific proposal, with the support of a scientific mentor. As a conclusion to this phase, the teams will present their projects to a review board during a dedicated workshop to be held at ESA’s European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The members of those teams will also be given the opportunity to visit the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Germany, where Europe’s astronauts are trained.

Students performing an experiment in Zero G

After this initial workshop, three or four teams will be selected to further develop and perform their experiment on an ESA Microgravity Research Campaign that will take place in Bordeaux, France, during the autumn of 2009. There, the student teams will work in close contact with renowned European scientists carrying out their own research. During the campaign, the students will accompany their experiments on board for three flights of 30 parabolas, experiencing about 20 seconds of microgravity during each parabola.

Some of the other teams attending the ESTEC workshop may be selected to have their experiments performed in another gravity research facility.

During the “Fly your Thesis!” project, the participating teams will be supported by ESA's Education Office, ESA microgravity experts and members of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA). ESA will offer financial support to cover part of the cost of the experiments, necessary travel and accommodation, and participation in a conference.

For more information:
Dr. Javier Ventura-Traveset
Head of ESAC Communications & Education Office
Phone: +34 91 813 1181
E-mail: flyyourthesis @ esa.int

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