Fellowship Programme for "Drop Tower Experiment Series" (DropTES)

Update April 2017: The application period for the fourth cycle of Drop Tower Experiment Series has ended. Please check back here for information about future DropTES opportunities.

The Drop Tower Experiment Series is a fellowship programme of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in which students can learn and study microgravity science by performing experiments in a drop tower. The Bremen Drop Tower in Germany is a ground-based laboratory with a drop tube of a height of 146 meters, which can enable short microgravity experiments to be performed in various scientific fields, such as fluid physics, combustion, thermodynamics, material science and biotechnology.

In collaboration with the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the fellowship programme offers a selected research team the opportunity to conduct its own microgravity experiments at the Bremen Drop Tower. The series of experiments will consist of four drops or catapult launches during which approximately 5 or 10 seconds of microgravity, respectively, are produced.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The DropTES Fellowship Programme is open to research teams from entities that are Member States of the United Nations. Teams should consist of up to four Bachelor, Master and/or PhD students who must be endorsed by an academic supervisor.
  • It is further required that the proposed experiment be an integral part of the students' syllabuses, that is, part of a Bachelor thesis, a Master thesis, a PhD thesis, or another form of research project associated with the applicants' studies at the respective university.

Schedule of the DropTES Programme

April - May 2017: Selection of the winning research team by the Selection Board. Suggestion of a cooperation partner from the European space science community as a mentor for the selected research team, if desired.

May - October 2017: Experiment preparation in close cooperation with ZARM experts and the scientific mentor, if selected:

  • submission of the first experiment progress report at the beginning of June
  • critical design review (CDR) soon afterwards
  • submission of the final experiment progress report at the beginning of September
  • experiment transfer in October or November (depending on customs issues) to the Bremen Drop Tower

November - December 2017: Experiment Series:

  • up to two weeks of experiment integration at the Bremen Drop Tower prior to the series week - decision after receiving the final experiment progress report
  • one-week drop tower series 27 November - 1 December 2017¬†

December 2017 - March 2018: Report Submission by team:

  • submission of the final experiment report to the Selection Board
  • submission of the ZARM's feedback report to the Selection Board
  • publications in journals, proceedings, and others - if possible
  • presentations at conferences, workshops, and others - if possible
  • part of Bachelor, Master and/or PhD thesis - if possible

Financial Support

The selected research team will be offered financial support exclusively for travel purposes. This may include the provision of a round-trip air ticket between the participants' international airport of departure and Bremen, Germany. En-route expenses or any changes made to the air ticket must be the responsibility of the participants.

In this context it has to be noted that the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs will not bear the expenses for the preparation, transport and shipping as well as insurance of the experiment. Funding to cover these costs must be obtained separately, through private means or through national or international institutions. Applicants and their nominating organizations are therefore strongly encouraged to find additional sources of sponsorship.

The drops or catapult launches are sponsored by DLR Space Administration. Technical Support provided by ZARM is included in those drops or catapult launches and therefore free of charge.

For the stay of the research team in Bremen, ZARM will provide free of charge its on-site apartment, which has two separate cabins, a bathroom and a common kitchen. The ZARM apartment can accommodate upto four people.

DropTES previous cycles

The results of the DropTES previous cycles can be seen here: first cycle, second cycle, and third cycle.

Contact Information

For further information regarding the Fellowship Programme and applications, please contact hsti-droptes@unoosa.org.

Links to Earlier Selection Rounds

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