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NASA's MICROGRAVITY FACILITIES
 
NASA scientists are using microgravity experiments to study fluid physics, material science, combustion science, biotechnology, and life science. The microgravity experiments are conducted in several different facilities, all of which depend on the experiment achieving a state of free-fall. On the Earth, drop towers provide a few seconds of free-fall, while aircraft and sounding rockets, following parabolic paths, provide additional microgravity time. Experiments requiring extended time in microgravity are conducted on spacecraft such as the Space Shuttle. The astronauts appear to "float" in the Shuttle because the Shuttle and the astronauts are falling towards the Earth as they orbit it.


Image of an experiment in the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Experiment packages are hoisted to the top of the tower and dropped into an airbag 24m below.

KC-135

Research aircrafts, such as the DC-9 or the KC-135 (pictured above), were used as microgravity laboratories to provide about 20 seconds of reduced-gravity during a parabolic maneuver. Currently, NASA uses the Zero-G Corp’s 727 aircraft for reduced gravity  research testing.


Microgravity experiments are conducted on the International Space Station when extended periods of reduced-gravity are needed
   
Demonstrator Description
Sample Experiments
What is Microgravity?
NASA's Microgravity Facilities
Microgravity References
 
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Last Updated: November 28, 2011
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