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Reduced Gravity Program Kicks Off Summer with Undergraduate Experiments
June 12, 2013
Undergraduate students from various universities participated in the second flight week of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program (RGEFP) this year. Gravitational effects on unique experiments that were proposed, designed, and fabricated by teams of undergraduate students from schools around the country. This past week of the program, called Microgravity University, was for undergraduate student learners.

Students were welcomed to the program and briefed on safety procedures before setting up experiments. Experiments were then given a Pre-Test Readiness Review (Pre-TRR) by a panel of NASA engineers and scientists for last minute touch ups before the Test Readiness Review (TRR) and approval for flight. Experiments were then loaded onto the microgravity aircraft.

Topics of scientific experiments include biology, physics, computer science, earth science, and many others.

“We’ll turn the apparatus on before takeoff, then we’ll be there to check for warning messages and monitor the state of the apparatus through the crew system window.” said Landon Nye, engineering student at Boise State University. Boise State students tested the effects of teriparatide on calcium signaling in bone cells during parabolic flight. “Now that it’s all installed and set, I’m starting to really feel excited.” said Nye.

“Keeping the beams from losing pressure and hoping our computer stays consistent will be something we will have to account for, but I’m really excited.” said Alyssa Avery, engineering student at Oklahoma State University, talking about her experiment. Oklahoma State students constructed an experiment on the investigation of artificial gravity habitat dynamics. Avery was preparing to fly with part of her team on the second day of flight. “When we see what we need to change after the first flight, it’s up to us to get even better data.”

The next flight week for Microgravity University will be July 12th through July 20th. Several other programs will use NASA’s microgravity aircraft throughout the summer, including Teaching from Space, Systems Engineering Education Discovery (SEED), and several others.

For more on NASA’s RGEFP, visit:


By Gary Jordan

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Alyssa Avery works on her team’s experiment in reduced gravity. Image credit: NASA
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator