On January, 23rd, the call for proposal within the FAST (Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training) program by the NASA was started. This program wants to support emerging technologies and research projects that need to experiment in the space with absence of gravity, but lack the necessary funds and the financing to do this kind of experiments.
In order to simulate microgravity conditions like in space, the NASA is turning to what is called like “parabolic flight”. Almost all of us have seen images on board of the “vomit comet” (this is a funny name, because the sudden sensation of microgravity may provoke more than one to feel sick), but this video is showing images of the program itself and explains how this space simulation is achieved.
During parabolic flights, while the airplane continues its superior trajectory of the parabola, the inertia force equals the gravity force; thus, people on board sense for approximately 25 seconds zero gravity. This in an unforgettable experience for anybody; and it is very useful for some key experiments within different industrial, medical and several other fields of application.
This program is designed for SMB or professionals, universities and research centers in the United States and the own programs of NASA.
The European version of this program is ‘Fly Your Thesis!’ of ESA (European Space Agency, specially directed to university graduates or those who are close to their graduation and working on a doctor thesis needing to make key experiments in microgravity conditions.
In fact, only few days ago the group of four teams elected for this experience has been announced, together with the support provided to develop their projects.