If you are a US citizen and ever wondered what an astronaut experiences while in space, National Aeronautics and Space Administration offers you an opportunity to find out.
The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program at its Johnson Space Center, Houston, annually offers undergraduate student teams an opportunity to research, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment.
The teams test their designs during a roller coaster-like ride that produces brief periods of micro-gravity, similar to what astronauts experience during space flight.
The weightlessness effect is achieved by flying a NASA C-9 aircraft, the military version of a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jet airliner, in a series of carefully choreographed manoeuvres.
The 'hill climbs and freefalls' create 30-freefall periods of 25 seconds each when students will experience how the human body reacts during reduced gravity.
According to a press release, student teams have until October 20, 2004, to send their proposals to NASA for evaluation on technical merit, safety and an outreach plan. Only American students can avail of this opportunity.
Selections will be announced on December 6, 2004, with flights beginning in the spring of 2005. Each team will have the opportunity to choose a journalist to fly with them and document their experience.
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