NASA Selects 3 UCF Projects for Flight Opportunities Program

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected three University of Central Florida cutting-edge space technology projects for flights.

The UCF projects were among 24 NASA chose for its program this month. NASA will pay for all projects to fly on a suborbital rocket, high-altitude balloon or on a parabolic airplane.

UCF Associate Professor of Physics Joshua Colwell submitted three proposals to NASA, which selected all three. Two experiments will fly on a suborbital rocket and one will fly on parabolic airplane flight, which provide brief periods of weightlessness. Several UCF students and graduates are working on the projects.

“Our team of student and professional engineers has been doing amazing work developing several payloads for flight, so it is wonderful to see that hard work rewarded by this opportunity from NASA for our experiments to fly on both rockets and parabolic airplane flights,” Colwell said. He also is the director of the new Center for Microgravity Research and Education and interim assistant director of the Florida Space Institute at UCF.

The experiments will provide valuable information for trips to the moon or asteroids. The projects focus on determining how the surface of these objects would respond to the kinds of impacts that result from manned or unmanned spacecraft activity. This would help manage dust hazards during future explorations.

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