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The Suborbital Research Association: Using Suborbital Platforms for Scientific and Student Experiments


The Suborbital Research Association (SRA), created in Brussels in June 2013, seeks to raise the awareness of the scientific community to the possibilities for scientific and technological research purposes offered by long suborbital trajectories, yielding several minutes of continuous microgravity at an attractive cost. The SRA, which is open to all forms of cooperation, has set its objectives: “to encourage, to assist, to facilitate and to promote suborbital scientific research; to give the necessary assistance, within the possibilities of the Association, to the practical realization of fundamental and applied scientific research in the suborbital environment, independently and in a complementary manner to existing structures; to organize or to participate in the organization of promotion events of scientific research in suborbital flights to the general public, the youth and the students.” The first on-going project of the SRA is to organize a first scientific flight with the XCOR Lynx suborbital spaceplane in 2016 or 2017 to perform scientific and student experiments. A SRA Selection Committee evaluated 17 experiment proposals from six European countries and recommended ten experiments for this first flight: five scientific and technological experiments from European Scientists, a historical promotional experiment, and four student experiments from Belgian secondary schools. Further flights will be organised as soon as possible. The paper presents the SRA and put in context the proposed use of suborbital platforms for microgravity research. The selected experiments are further introduced.

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Correspondence to V. Pletser.

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This article belongs to the Topical Collection: Advances in Gravityrelated Phenomena in Biological, Chemical and Physical Systems

Guest Editors: Valentina Shevtsova, Ruth Hemmersbach

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Pletser, V., Migeotte, P.F., Legros, J.C. et al. The Suborbital Research Association: Using Suborbital Platforms for Scientific and Student Experiments. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 28, 529–544 (2016).

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  • Microgravity
  • Suborbital flight
  • Research and student experiments
  • Spaceplane