UNOOSA and ESA Open Opportunity for Hypergravity Experiments in a Ground-based Centrifuge

The Large Diameter Centrifuge facility at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Source: UNOOSA

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are opening up the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) facility at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, to the UN Member States. Under the joint HyperGES fellowship, student teams supported by scientists and researchers are invited to conduct experiments in controlled hypergravity conditions. Applications must be submitted by 18 November 2022. 

The HyperGES programme is part of the “Access to Space for All” initiative enabling teams of students from all over the world, with particular attention to developing countries, to conduct experiments in controlled hypergravity conditions between 1g-20g (where g is the gravitational acceleration at the surface of the Earth) with different experiment scenarios, duration, and equipment.

Hypergravity experiments advance research in different scientific fields such as biology, medicine, material science, and fluid dynamics and represent a possible entry point to acquiring new knowledge and technology. The HyperGES fellowship contributes to expanding access to space education and research in hypergravity, particularly capacity building for teams from developing countries who may otherwise not have access to such facilities.

One selected team in each cycle will spend one to two weeks at the ESA’s largest centre, ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, to conduct on-site experiment integration and perform hypergravity experiment series on the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC), which allows samples to be exposed to acceleration forces of 1-20 times Earth’s gravity. The required actual duration for the selected team to stay in Noordwijk depends on the complexity of the experiment, the proposed experiment schedule, and the negotiation with ESTEC experts.

The HyperGES fellowship programme is open to research teams from entities in UN member states, particularly developing countries. Each team should consist of one academic supervisor (Team Leader – Prof./PhD, not a student) and several Bachelor’s, Master and/or PhD students. The proposed experiment must be an integral part of the students’ syllabuses. Thus, it should be part of a Bachelor’s thesis, a Master’s thesis, a PhD thesis, or another research project associated with the applicants’ studies at their respective universities.

UNOOSA Acting Director Niklas Hedman said: “Space technology and its applications are vital tools for solving global problems and building a better future, and we are seeing an ever-stronger emphasis on the need to expand access to space benefits, including in the recently adopted “Space2030” Agenda. The Access to Space for All Initiative is a multi-stakeholder symbol of this effort, bridging the existing space capabilities gap by providing access to unique and cutting-edge facilities and technologies. We are thrilled to work with ESA in the HyperGES programme to enable the UN Member States to acquire the wisdom and skills to boost the development of local and national space activities. I cannot wait to see the fruits of this unique experiment opportunity.”

Torben Henriksen, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality and Head of ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, said: “At the touch of a dial, our LDC offers access to a range of hypergravity levels up to 20g for days, weeks or even months at a time. The resulting possibilities for experimentation are vast, so we will be fascinated to see the many new ideas for testing that will come out of making the centrifuge accessible to the rest of the world through the UNOOSA Access to Space for All initiative. And we look forward to hosting the awardees of the HyperGES opportunity here at ESTEC.”

Important Dates
  • Deadline for “Expression of Interest”: 31 July 2022, 23:59 CEST
  • Deadline for final applications: 18 November 2022, 23:59 CET

For more information, kindly check here.

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