NASA Picks 17 Low Gravity Flight Projects

HOUSTON, May 18 (UPI) — NASA says it has selected 17 projects for reduced-gravity flights to discover if emerging technologies can perform in reduced or zero-gravity environments.

Officials said they selected the projects through NASA’s Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology program, or FAST. The selected projects are from U.S. companies, universities and NASA laboratories in 10 states. The project testing is to begin in September.


The space agency said the program is designed to incorporate new technologies into NASA’s flight programs and other commercial aerospace applications. Reduced-gravity conditions can be simulated for periods of 25 seconds in an aircraft flying repeated parabolic trajectories.

“The FAST program can reduce the risk of using new technologies during space missions by providing an opportunity to prove how they work in a reduced-gravity environment,” NASA said. “The flights also can provide insight into why some technologies may fail before deploying them on a costly ride into the unforgiving environment of space.”

The test operations will be supervised by the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

A list of the selected projects is available at http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ipp/innovation_incubator/FAST/fast_2010_selected_projects.html.

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