ESA title
Science & Exploration

European user guide to low gravity platforms

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Research

ESA's User Guide to Low Gravity Platforms is intended to provide an overview of the four low-gravity platforms sponsored by ESA and how they are made available to people wishing to use them for scientific, educational or commercial purposes. A chapter on ground-based facilities is included in the guide to give an overview of these facilities in Europe.

The four low gravity platforms covered by this Guide are:

  • drop towers
  • parabolic flights
  • sounding rockets
  • International Space Station


The Guide does not seek to lay down rules, but as it suggests, simply offers guidance in understanding whether or not the capabilities and resources provided by each of the four platforms meet the requirements of the Users’ needs. The Guide has been written with three groups of people in mind:

  • the general public,
  • potential users of ESA-sponsored low-gravity platforms and ground-based facilities,
  • users of ESA-sponsored low-gravity platforms and ground-based facilities.


In order to understand the details involved in accessing the platforms a considerable amount of information has to be studied and understood. It would be impossible, within the scope of this guide, to cover all the material, and it is for this reason that the major objective is to only present the most important information. Where more details are required, users are given document references, web links, or contact coordinates.


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