Parabolic flight workshop
In March 78 out of 124 students selected to take part in this year’s student parabolic flight campaign met for a workshop at ESTEC, ESA’s space research and technology centre. The workshop was organised by the ESA Education Office in cooperation with the Erasmus User Centre at ESTEC.
This event gave students the opportunity to visit ESTEC and talk to microgravity scientific experts about the campaign and their experiments. Students were also given a small preview of what to expect during their parabolic flights, planned for July from Bordeaux, by watching 3D films of previous parabolic flight campaigns and the International Space Station. A further ‘bonus’ was the chance to choose the mission patch that will represent all the teams taking part in the July campaign. This can be seen on the Student Parabolic Flight Campaign (SPFC) website.
The workshop proved to be very successful and will help students as they start to finalise their projects. Some good suggestions were made during the workshop, some of which have already been put in place. An upload/download section has now been added to the SPFC website where teams can place their pictures of the workshop and the campaign. Access to the upload section is restricted to the teams but the photos can be seen by all. Students have also set up their own discussion forum. Work is also underway on putting a forum on the SPFC site where students can exchange ideas with each other and also with experts from ESA and Novespace, the company that manages the parabolic flight programme and reviews experiments for safety on behalf of ESA.
The March workshop also served as a trial for a new means of communication during the SPFC campaign. ESA’s Erasmus User Centre filmed key parts of the workshop for live web streaming during the event and these can be seen on: http://webiss.estec.esa.int/parabolic. This new feature will help the campaign to reach a wider target audience and it is hoped to carry web streaming of the actual campaign in July.
Now students are ready for the next step, they have to build their experiments and pass a medical exam to ensure that they are fit and ready to take part in the July SPFC on board an Airbus 300 Zero-G.