How to apply

Interested in applying? You should then follow the following steps:

  • Identify and speak to the endorsing professor or academic supervisor, who should preferably be your thesis or project supervisor.
  • Form a team with other students who have an interest in working in a team for their thesis or project.
  • Register on ESA’s Education Office project portal. Your endorsing professor, as well as all the team members, should register on the website.
  • Define your project, discuss it, and try to find references in the scientific literature about similar research projects.
  • Write an experiment proposal following the experiment proposal form. Please closely follow the instructions below.
  • Ask your endorsing professor or academic supervisor to write a formal letter of endorsement in which he/she pledges his support to all the team members as well as your proposed project. More specifically, the endorsing professor or academic supervisor should clearly state that he/she supports the student’s application and that he/she accepts responsibility for their Drop Your Thesis! project.
  • If you are a citizen of a Cooperating State*, obtain a letter of endorsement from your national agency stating that you will be financially supported  throughout the programme. If you are a citizen of an ESA Member* state, this is not necessary. Contact ESA’s Education Office for further details if necessary.
  • Apply for the programme by emailing to dropyourthesis @ esa.int inlcuding all the documents.
  • Read to the condition to apply carefully, and familiarise yourself with the ZARM Drop Tower documentation found in the list of documents on the right side navigation bar.

Instructions for the experiment proposal

The experiment proposal should focus on the scientific and/or technological objectives of the project - what the teams intend to investigate and why - and on the technical details that explain how they are going to implement their experiment.

Prior to filling out the experiment proposal template, teams should carry out some research of the scientific literature to see whether work has already been done on the same or similar topic. Literature references are essential in order to demonstrate that teams are fully informed about the current status of research in this field.

The experiment proposal must also explain the relevance of microgravity in your project and - more particularly - the relevance of using the ZARM drop tower as a means to achieving your objectives. It should be noted that the ZARM drop tower offers two drop modes: the drop mode with a microgravity experiment time of 4.74 s and a catapult mode of 9.3 s

The applicants must also explain in full detail how the proposed experiment is related to their syllabus. They should indicate which academic projects they are involved in and how their proposed experiment would be relevant to these projects.

The text of the proposal should be comprehensible to scientists of various fields and engineers with a general scientific background.

Once the experiment proposal form is filled in all its parts, email it, together with the letter of endorsement, to dropyourthesis @ esa.int in a single zip file.

Questions and contact details

If you have questions about the programme, you can contact ESA’s Education Office. However, due to the large number of e-mails we receive, we ask you to carefully read the Drop Your Thesis! pages prior to contacting us, in order to make sure the information you are looking for has not already been discussed. Finally, when sending an e-mail, please include a clear and concise subject title. .

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact us at: dropyourthesis @ esa.int.

Please note that the information detailed above is subject to change without prior notice.

* ESA Member States in 2014
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada (Associate Member).
European Cooperating States
Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia
Cooperating states
Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia
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