ESA Launches Fly Your Thesis Program

The 'Zero-G" Airbus A300
The 'Zero-G" Airbus A300

ESA’s Education Office is offering European students the flights of a lifetime with the 2010 call for proposals for the “Fly your Thesis! –An Astronaut Experience” programme.

This exciting programme enables university students to fly their experiments in microgravity by participating in a series of parabolic flights on the Airbus A300 Zero-G aircraft.

“Fly your Thesis!” requires each team of students to design a scientific experiment to be performed in microgravity, as part of their Master’s or PhD thesis or research programme. Teams should register on ESA Education Office’s Projects Portal and upload their outline proposals using the letter of intent template, by 22 June 2009. Proposals by teams from ESA’s Cooperating States are also encouraged.

A review board will select up to 20 teams who will be invited to elaborate a detailed scientific proposal, with the support of a scientific mentor. As a conclusion to this phase, the teams will present their projects to a review board during a dedicated workshop to be held at an ESA centre.

Students performe an experiment in microgravity aboard the Airbus A300 Zero-G plane.
Students performe an experiment in microgravity aboard the Airbus A300 Zero-G plane.

After this initial workshop, up to four teams will be selected to further develop and perform their experiment on an ESA Microgravity Research Campaign that will take place in Bordeaux, France, during the autumn of 2010. There, the student teams will work in close contact with renowned European scientists carrying out their own research. During the campaign, the students will accompany their experiments on board for three flights of 30 parabolas, experiencing about 20 seconds of microgravity during each parabola.

During the “Fly your Thesis!” project, the participating teams will be supported by ESA’s Education Office, ESA microgravity experts and members of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA). ESA will offer financial support to cover part of the cost of the experiments, necessary travel and accommodation, and possible participation in a conference.

Later this year, ESA’s Education Office intends to launch a complementary call for opportunities on other gravity research platforms, such as Drop Towers and Centrifuges.

For more information:

Dr. Javier Ventura-Traveset
Head of ESAC Communications & Education Office
Phone: +34 91 813 1181
E-mail: flyyourthesis @