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UNOOSA, ZARM and the German Aerospace Center open applications for fellowship to conduct microgravity experiments at the Bremen drop tower

Press Release From: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2021

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) together with the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen, Germany and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), have opened applications for the eighth round of their Fellowship Programme for Drop Tower Experiment Series (DropTES). 

Once a year, the fellowship offers selected research teams the opportunity to conduct their own experiments under conditions of weightlessness at the Bremen Drop Tower. The Tower, a unique facility in Europe, is a ground-based laboratory with a 146 metres high drop tube, in which short microgravity experiments can be performed. The next winning team will be able to conduct five, rather than four, drops or catapult launches, during which approximately five or ten seconds of microgravity are produced. The increased drop rate will give the team another opportunity to achieve reliable results for their experiments.

Experimenting in a microgravity environment helps gain new insights into a wide range of fields, such as gravity-relevant phenomena in fundamental physics, astrophysics, biology and applied sciences, such as fluid dynamics, combustion, chemistry, and material sciences. Microgravity experiments are also an important component for preparations of future space missions. 

DropTES is part of the Hypergravity/Microgravity track of UNOOSA’s Access to Space 4 All Initiative, that aims to bridge the gap among countries in their capabilities to use the benefits of space. The Initiative provides start-to-finish tracks for teams all over the world to gain access to space-related facilities and develop space skills. 

UNOOSA conducted two rounds of webinars on the DropTES opportunity and its application process: the recordings will be made available on the UNOOSA webpage and UNOOSA YouTube channel. 

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, said: “By opening the top-class testing environment in Bremen to talented researchers globally, DropTES contributes to advancing space capabilities worldwide, in the spirit of the Access to Space 4 All Initiative of UNOOSA. The fellowship has already enabled teams from all over the world to test their experiments in the best simulated microgravity conditions available, allowing them to bring their research to the next level and make important contributions to space science, technology and exploration efforts. We are proud to continue developing this opportunity with our partners at ZARM and DLR.”

Marc Avila, Director of ZARM, said: “With the support of UNOOSA and DLR, I believe we have created an exceptional opportunity for students to turn their interest in space science and technology into something real: here at ZARM, students find the support to transform their ideas for a microgravity experiment into a hands-on space project - and they can actually be part of the professional space environment. Especially for students from developing countries or countries that do not have their own space programmes, DropTES could be the first step into their professional space careers.”

Tobias Saltzman, Vice Project Manager of the Drop Tower at DLR, said: “The German Space Agency is proud to contribute the use of its national Drop Tower facility to the outstanding UNOOSA program Drop TES, realizing micro gravity experiments for students. We are convinced that the support of young scientists in realizing their scientific ideas is the keystone for solving the worlds challenges to come.”


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For more information, please contact:

Ottavia Pesce
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Telephone: (+43 699) 1459 8718
Email: pesce[at]un.org


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