First Middle East Aircraft Parabolic Flights for ISU Participant Experiments


Aircraft parabolic flights are widely used throughout the world to create microgravity environment for scientific and technology research, experiment rehearsal for space missions, and for astronaut training before space flights. As part of the Space Studies Program 2016 of the International Space University summer session at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, a series of aircraft parabolic flights were organized with a glider in support of departmental activities on ‘Artificial and Micro-gravity’ within the Space Sciences Department. Five flights were organized with manoeuvres including several parabolas with 5 to 6 s of weightlessness, bank turns with acceleration up to 2 g and disorientation inducing manoeuvres. Four demonstration experiments and two experiments proposed by SSP16 participants were performed during the flights by on board operators. This paper reports on the microgravity experiments conducted during these parabolic flights, the first conducted in the Middle East for science and pedagogical experiments.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10


  1. 1.


  1. Aubert, A., Beckers, F., Verheyden, B., Pletser, V.: What happens to the human heart in space? – parabolic flights provide some answers. Cardiovascular response during gravity changes induced by parabolic flights. ESA Bull. 119, 30–38 (2004) []

    Google Scholar 

  2. Callens, N., Ventura-Traveset, J., De Lophem, T. L., Lopez De Echazarreta, C., Pletser, V., Van Loon, J.: ESA Parabolic flights, drop tower and centrifuge opportunities for university students. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 23-2, 181–189 (2011) []

  3. Callens, N., Ha, L., Galeone, P.: Benefits of ESA gravity-related hands-on programmes for university students’ careers. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 28, 519 (2016). doi:10.1007/s12217-016-9505-x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Clément, G.: Fundamentals of Space Medicine. Springer, New York (2005). ISBN 9780387789507-9780387789491, 10.1007/978-0-387-78950-7

    Google Scholar 

  5. Clément, G., Reschke, M.F.: Neurosciences in Space. Springer, New York (2008). ISBN 9780387789507-9780387789491, doi:10.1007/978-0-387-78950-7

    Google Scholar 

  6. Elaerts, R., Peeters, W.: The international space university. ESA Bull. 126, 34–40 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Goetz, C.: Textbook of Clinical Neurology, 3rd edn. Saunders, Philadelphia, PA (2007). ISBN 978-1-4160-3618-0

    Google Scholar 

  8. Green, M.: How long does it take to stop? Methodological analysis of driver perception-brake times. Transportation Human Factors, Taylor & Francis Group 2–3, 195–216 (2000). doi:10.1207/STHF0203_1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. International Space University (ISU): Space Studies Program 2016., last accessed 26 January 2017 (2016a)

  10. International Space University (ISU): Space Studies Program 2016, Program Handbook., last accessed 26 January 2017 (2016b)

  11. International Space University (ISU): Official Website., last accessed 12 January (2017a)

  12. International Space University (ISU): Master of Space Studies., last accessed 12 January (2017b)

  13. International Space University (ISU): Executive space course,, last accessed 12 January (2017c)

  14. International Space University (ISU): Space studies program,, last accessed 12 January (2017d)

  15. International Space University (ISU): Southern hemisphere space studies program,, last accessed 12 January (2017e)

  16. International Space University (ISU): Space Studies Program 2016 Haifa, Israel #dreamitlaunchit retrospective,, last accessed 26 January (2017f)

  17. Jensen, A. R.: Clocking the Mind: Mental Chronometry and Individual Differences. Elsevier (2006)

  18. McGee, S.: Evidence Based Physical Diagnosis, 3rd edn. Elsevier/Saunders, Philadelphia, PA (2012). ISBN 9781437722079

    Google Scholar 

  19. Perez-Poch, A., González, D.V., López, D.: Hypogravity research and educational parabolic flight activities conducted in barcelona: a new hub of innovation in europe. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 28, 603 (2016). doi:10.1007/s12217-016-9516-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Pletser, V., Paulis, P.E., Loosveldt, E., Gering, D., Body, M., Schewijck, R.: A new ESA educational initiative: Euro Space Center class teachers in microgravity during parabolic flights. Acta Astronautica 57-12, 910–919 (2005) []

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Pletser, V., Kumei, Y.: Parabolic flights. In: Beysens, D.A., Van Loon, J. (eds.) Generate an Extra-Terrestrial Environment on Earth. ISBN 978-87-93237-53-7, Chap 7, 61–74. River Publishers Series in Standardisation, Aalborg, Denmark (2015a)

  22. Pletser, V., Rouquette, S., Friedrich, U., Clervoy, J. F., Gharib, T., Gai, F., Mora, C.: European parabolic flight campaigns with Airbus A300 ZERO-G: looking back at the A300 and looking forward to the A310. Adv. Space Res., 1003–1013 (2015b). doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.11.036

  23. Pletser, V., Rouquette, S., Friedrich, U., Clervoy, J. F., Gharib, T., Gai, F., Mora, C.: The first european parabolic flight campaign with the airbus A310 ZERO-G. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 28, 587 (2016). doi:10.1007/s12217-016-9515-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Truszczynski, O., Wojtkowiak, M., Lewkowicz, R., Biernacki, M. P., Kowalczuk, K.: Reaction time in pilots at sustained acceleration of + 4.5 Gz. Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 84.8, 845–849 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


These experiments were conducted under the auspice of the ISU SSP16 Space Sciences Department. The hospitality of the glider club of Megiddo and its members is thankfully acknowledged. The active contribution and flying expertise of Arnon Yaffee, the chief pilot is highly acknowledged. All subjects are thanked for their voluntary participation and their dedication. Mrs Laurie Goldstein and Mrs Maria Lucas-Rhimbassen are also thanked for their support as well as Prof. em. David Degani and Mr Ofer Lapid. Vladimir Pletser is supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists (Grant No. 2016VMA042).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vladimir Pletser.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pletser, V., Frischauf, N., Cohen, D. et al. First Middle East Aircraft Parabolic Flights for ISU Participant Experiments. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 29, 209–219 (2017).

Download citation


  • Aircraft parabolic flights
  • Microgravity experiments
  • Grob G-103 Twin II glider
  • International Space University
  • First microgravity flights in Middle East