ME/EE Microgravity Team will travel to Houston for NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program

 Dr. Du and Zero gravity team


A team of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Electrical Engineering (EE) students and a faculty advisor at SJSU was selected to participate in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program from July 11 -19 at Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. The team will conduct several experiments under microgravity (Zero-G) environment aboard NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft.

The experiments are related to space debris collection, which becomes an increasing research topic. The team will test an innovative electrohesive method on debris collection, study and model the debris trajectories. The SJSU team was selected based on scientific merit and education outreach potential from more than 50 submitted proposals.

Recent seniors – Ish Sanchez (ME), Scott Gulkin (ME), Kevin Adinata (EE), Eduardo Alvarez (EE) – and a faculty advisor, Prof. Winncy Du (ME) comprise the team’s “flyers”, which will participate in the weightless experience and conduct experiments. Richardo Delgado (ME major) and Julia Bowen (Aerospace Engineering major) will also travel to Houston as the alternate “flyer” and “ground crew” respectively. Another student, Phillip Swanson (ME), and two faculty advisors, Profs. Periklis Papadopoulos (AE) and David Parent (EE) are part of the team will not go to Houston in July.

The microgravity aircraft is a modified Boeing 727, equipped with all power supplies that the research needs. It will produce periods of weightlessness lasting about 21 seconds at a time by flying a series of approximately 30 parabolas – a steep climb followed by a free fall – over the Gulf of Mexico.