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From
15 rue des Halles - 75001 Paris
Tel 01 42 33 41 41 - Fax 01 40 26 08 60
PARIS, 19 September 2006
PARABOLIC FLIGHTS
PRESS RELEASE
New campaign of parabolic flights for CNES
Sixth campaign of 2006 for Novespace
The next Novespace parabolic flight campaign will be organised on behalf of CNES (the French Space
Agency) on the 26, 27 and 28 September at Bordeaux Mérignac airport. The A300 ZERO-G aircraft
will be carrying thirteen experiments which were selected by scientific committees at CNES. This will
be CNES's second campaign of 2006 and its objective will be to develop new technologies, prepare
for Space missions or simply to increase human knowledge. A full description of the thirteen onboard
experiments, outlined below, is available from Novespace.
Wave turbulence on the surface of a fluid in microgravity
This experiment aims to study the wave turbulent state on the surface of a fluid generated by lowfrequency forcing. The main objective is to characterise the state of capillary wave turbulence over a
wide range of wavelengths.
By Eric Falcon, Statistical Physics Laboratory, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Internal models for visuomotor coordination in weightless conditions
The ability to predict an object's trajectory in three-dimensional space, in order to intercept it, implies
the existence of internal models in the nervous system which represent our understanding of the
physical laws of motion. For as long as gravity is present, it imposes constant acceleration on any
mass and therefore has to be included in these models.
The aim of the experiment is to study how these models adapt to conditions of weightlessness.
By Joe McIntyre, CNRS Paris
Vibratory phenomena in inhomogeneous fields
Vibrations generate significant dynamic forces in heterogeneous systems, resulting from variations in
local density, as these forces generally have a non-zero mean value. On Earth, their consequences
are often hidden by the effects of gravity.
In microgravity, where these forces can become crucial, their effects are still largely a mystery.
By Prof. Pierre Evesque, CNRS-Ecole Centrale, Paris, Dr. Daniel Beyssens, CEA, Grenoble and Dr.
Yves Garrabos, CNRS-ICMCB, Pessac
Hydrodynamic sorting and measurement of the viscosity of a suspension of polydispersed vesicles in
a SPLITT channel
The experiment carried on this campaign is part of a project which is aiming to develop techniques for
continuous and membrane-free separation of biological species on a micrometric scale, such as blood
cells, bacteria, viruses, etc.
By Mauricio HOYOS, CNRS Paris
Dynamics of a suspension of vesicles under shearing
This experiment is part of the BIOMICS project, whose objective is to improve our understanding of
cellular dynamics and biomimetic systems under flow. This parabolic flight campaign forms part of the
preparation for an experiment which will, in principle, be performed on board the MASER 11 rocket
probe, scheduled for launch at the end of 2007.
By Thomas Podgorski, CNRS/UJF Laboratory of Physical Spectrometry, Joseph Fourier University,
Grenoble
Study of sensorimotor transformations in movement control
The central question in this experiment is to find out whether these deleterious effects on the precision
of movement can be minimised by incorporating other indices normally available on Earth.
By Laurence Mouchnino, UMR 6152. Movement & Perception, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Marseille
Ablation of a lipoma
The goal of this experiment is to validate the principle of an operational surgical structure in weightless
conditions.
By Professeur Dominique Martin, University of Bordeaux II Victor Segalen, Bordeaux
PROGRA2 (PRopriétés Optiques des GRains Astronomiques et Atmosphériques – optical properties
of astronomical and atmospheric grains)
PROGRA2 will make it possible to determine in microgravity the polarimetric phase curves (ie,
changes in the degree of polarisation as a function of the phase angle) of light scattered by samples of
calibrated dust. These samples will include terrestrial, extra-terrestrial and laboratory material such as
lunar soil simulant, pulverised meteorite, soot, sand, basalts, salts, etc. Such phase curves are
essential for interpreting remote observations (ie, made from the Earth) of light scattered by particles
in the solar system: interplanetary dust, coma, atmospheric aerosols, etc and deducing their physical
properties, such as albedo, size and porosity.
By Jean-Baptiste Renard, LPCE-CNRS, Orléans
Technical test of a state-of-the-art actimeter for quantifying physical activity and energy expenditure in
zero gravity
The essential objective of this study, which is being performed as part of the ILSRA-2004 experiment
(ref: 0173-0144) is to determine the energy requirements of astronauts on long-term space flights,
using the doubly-labelled water method, during three-month flights to the ISS. The secondary
objectives are to study the various components of energy expenditure: metabolism at rest,
postprandial thermogenesis and energy cost of physical activity. The latter will be studied using a
miniature monitor attached to the subject's triceps.
By Stéphane Blanc, IPHC-DEPE, UMR CNRS ULP 7178, Strasbourg
Study of the behaviour of gas released from an electrolysis of an aqueous solution
Study of fluid distribution in a sphere
Two experiments will be performed during this flight. The objective of the first will be to understand
the behaviour of gas released from an electrolysis in weightless conditions, whereas the second will
be to learn how liquid is distributed in a spherical tank. Ostensibly, the liquid should be
inhomogeneously distributed.
By Pastel Club Espace / Planète Sciences Midi Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées region
Experimental characterisation of a dynamic film during capillary drainage
When a wetting fluid such as an oil is drained, a dynamic film subsists behind the moving interface.
This film remains somehow attached to the solid wall, rather like on the edges of a meniscus.
The aim of this experiment is to determine the thickness of the dynamic film left on the capillary walls.
By Christian-Olivier Marcadet, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers, Bordeaux
ISU – ME Suit
(International Space University – Medical Evacuation Suit)
The main objective of the ISU-ME Suit experiment is to determine the practical feasibility of various
medical evacuation procedures in conditions simulating those on the ISS and the Soyuz TM.
By Vladimir Ivkovic, International Space University, Illkirch-Graffenstaden
It is worth remembering that parabolic flights provide access to microgravity conditions, albeit limited in duration, but
nevertheless simple and inexpensive. They benefit fields such as the physical sciences (mainly fluid and material physics), life
sciences (mainly human physiology), testing of Space devices, preparing for manned Space missions (equipment testing,
protocol validation, crew training); but in addition to their scientific and technological significance, their educational benefits are
invaluable, giving young people the opportunity to participate for the first time in research projects which often inspire them to
pursue careers in science.
The A300 ZERO-G has to date performed 6,759 parabolic flights. The aircraft is owned by Novespace which oversees
management and marketing of the parabolic flight campaigns. Novespace is a subsidiary of CNES, which was the originator of
this programme.
Contact: [email protected]