International Heat and Mass Transfer Experiments on the 48th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign of March 2008
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Aircraft parabolic flights provide repetitively up to 20 s of reduced gravity during ballistic flight manoeuvres and are used to conduct short microgravity investigations in Physical and Life Sciences and Technology, to test instrumentation and to train astronauts before a space flight. Their use is complementary to other microgravity platforms, such as drop towers, sounding rockets, automatic orbital capsules and the International Space Station (ISS), and preparatory to space missions. Since 1997, parabolic flights in Europe are performed with the Airbus A300 ‘Zero-G’, the world largest aircraft for this research activity. ESA campaigns are organized at a rate of two campaigns per year, usually in spring and autumn. Depending on their sizes, 12 to 14 experiments can be accommodated per campaign. Due to the scientific interest and the growing importance of heat and mass transfer experiments, ESA has dedicated its 48th ESA parabolic flight campaign of 2008 to this kind of experiments. A certain number of experiments have been identified in Europe, USA and Japan and eight of these experiments have been assigned to the 48th ESA campaign of March 2008. Five other experiments are scheduled to participate in the next 49th ESA campaign of October 2008. The ESA aircraft parabolic flight programme and the Airbus A300 ‘Zero-G’ aircraft are presented. The eight heat and mass transfer experiments foreseen for the 48th campaign of March 2008 are summarized.
KeywordsMicrogravity Parabolic flights Heat and mass transfer
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