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A Two-Sister Team of Thailand Performed "Zero-Gravity Flight Experiment" in Japan

In cooperation with NSTDA (National Science and Technology Development Agency of Thailand) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Thai students participated in the "Zero-Gravity* Flight Experiment Contest"** organized by JAXA. This was the first challenge for students in the Asia-Pacific region to experience the "Zero-Gravity" flight as an international cooperation project.A proposal titled "Study of Medical Drug Dispersion under the Microgravity Environment" was finally selected from 7 entries in Thailand by the theme selection committee of NSTDA at the end of December 2006. The experiment was designed, built and tested by the two-sister team, Apaporn and Sarunporn Boonyarattaphan, from Mahidol University and Saint John International School***.


At the theme selection committee of NSTDA


Ms. Apaporn (left) and Ms. Sarunporn (right) Boonyarattaphan with Dr. Sawat Tantiphanwadi

As the first step toward the flight experiment in November 2006, Deputy Director of Technology Management Center NSTDA Dr. Sawat Tantiphanwadi attended an interface coordination meeting held in Japan in order to confirm required interfaces between the experiment devices and the aircraft, the possible interference and emergency and safety procedures. As the second step in February 2007, Japanese engineers verified safety and feasibility of the experiment and confirmed the equipment of the sister team would function with some modifications at an interface verification meeting held at NSTDA.


At the interface verification meeting in front of their experiment device

Finally, on March 9 and 10, 2007, the experiment flight was conducted from Nagoya Airport in Japan.

Gulfstream II (courtesy of Diamond Air Service Corp)

Thai students flied together with Japanese students in Tokyo University and Gakushuin University.


Thai and Japanese students before the flight


During the flight

During the flight, their experiment devices operated normally and the Thai sisters cheerfully returned to the airport after the experiment.
The Thai sisters have published an excellent report about unexpected results. The first-ever Thai Zero-Gravity Flight Experiment on the JAXA's parabolic flight was concluded with great success.


Thai and Japanese students enjoying the conversation about their experiments (Ms. Saori Mizumura is the most left)


Ms. Apaporn explaining the experiment results just after the flight

We would like to introduce four comments, two from each manager of this cooperation in Japan and Thailand and two from Japanese and Thai students who participated in the micro-gravity flight experiment:


With all staff members after the flight

*About 20 seconds of Zero-gravity (weightlessness) can be made inside an aircraft flying a parabolic maneuver. During one flight, about 10 opportunities to conduct zero-gravity experiments (20 seconds each) are possible.
**JAXA student zero-gravity experiment web-site
http://iss.jaxa.jp/education/parabolic/en/index.html
***Saint John International School Web site
http://www.stjohn.ac.th/department/international%5Fschool2007/newsite/thai_astronaut.html

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