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N° 13–2000: Fell free - feel zero-g! European students to fly in zero gravity

29 February 2000

Over the fortnight from 16 to 27 October this year an ESA parabolic flight campaign will give some 30 international student teams of researchers (approximately 120 students in all) the chance to experience near-zero gravity (weightlessness). The campaign will use a specially adapted Airbus A-300 that will take off from Bordeaux-Mérignac airport in France to carry out experiments in weightlessness and test instruments and equipment prior to spaceflight.

The primary aim of this campaign is to provide an exceptional educational opportunity for European undergraduates to design their own microgravity experiments and fly them aboard the specially adapted Airbus A-300 (*). A secondary goal is to generate a significant level of outreach and publicity to raise the profile of science and technology subjects in the eyes of young Europeans and stimulate local support for the student teams.

To gain a place on the campaign, students (over 18 years of age) are invited to submit, by 31 March, preliminary designs for experiments to be carried out in microgravity conditions. Shortlisted designs, to be announced in mid-April, will then be put through the final selection process and the winning entries will be announced on 1 June.

A few very special student experiments will be invited by ESA to re-fly on a professional parabolic flight campaign at a later stage. The Agency is currently studying the feasibility of flying some of these experiments on the International Space Station.

Campaign participation numbers are limited and the deadline for entries is final, so now is the time to visit the student parabolic flight campaign website for more detailed information:

http://www.estec.esa.nl/outreach/pfc

(*) To find out more about ESA's parabolic flight campaigns see ESA Press Release N° 42/99 of 21 October 1999.

More about ESA at http://www.esa.int

For further information please contact:

ESA Communication Department
Media Relations
Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7155
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

or

Dr. Wubbo J. Ockels
ESA/ESTEC
Tel: +31 (0) 71 565 3505
Fax: +31 (0)71 565 5590


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