Reduced-gravity program kicks off summer with undergraduate experiments

Undergraduate students from various universities participated in the second flight week of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program (RGEFP) from June 3 to 10, where gravitational effects on unique experiments were proposed, designed and fabricated by teams from around the country. This 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 touchups before the TRR and approval for flight. Experiments were then loaded onto the microgravity aircraft.

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

Alyssa Avery works on her team’s experiment in reduced gravity.
Alyssa Avery works on her team’s experiment in reduced gravity.
“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, an engineering student at Boise State University.

Boise State University 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,” Nye said.

“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, an engineering student at Oklahoma State University, talking about her experiment.

Oklahoma State University 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,” Avery said.

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

For more on NASA’s RGEFP, visit:


Gary Jordan
Johnson Space Center, Houston


For questions, comments and requests
about JSC Features please contact Catherine Williams.

Curator: JSC Web Team
Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer

Web Accessibility and Policy Notices

Updated: 06/17/2013