Guidelines (Word for Macintosh) Guidelines (Word for Windows)

Since 1959, the Johnson Space Center's Reduced-Gravity Program has provided a true three-dimensional "weightless" training and testing environment. Originally the province of astronauts in training and flights in support of missions ranging from Mercury to the Space Station, NASA's Boeing KC-135A's (NASA 930, which was retired last year, and NASA 931) have more recently provided other NASA, government, academic and commercial users with a reduced-g experiment venue.

WE INVITE YOU to submit a proposal to fly your microgravity experiment (and yourself) on "The Weightless Wonder" (also known as The Vomit Comet).

Academy Activities

Who: The 1996 Texas SURF Summer Academy will provide access to the Reduced -Gravity Program to four three-person teams, each consisting of two graduate, senior-level and/or junior-level undergraduate students ("SURFers") and a supervising professor. Only proposals from academic institutions affiliated with Texas Space Grant Consortium will be considered.

When and Where: The Academy begins with your decision to compete and ends with your receipt of class credit. During a two-week period in July and August 1996, the Academy will convene at Ellington Field, Texas, which is the home of Johnson Space Center's Reduced-Gravity Program. This is what you'll be doing at Ellington (dates are subject to change) :

7/29MonArrival and check-in; Academy orientation.
7/30TuePre-flight training Day 1.
7/31WedPre-flight training Day 2; test equipment buildup and checkout.
8/1ThuTest equipment buildup and checkout.
8/2FriTest equipment buildup and checkout.
8/3SatPreparation of experiment packages for installation on aircraft; enjoy (self-directed) excursions to Space Center Houston, the beach, and other features of metropolitan Houston.
8/4SunPreparation of experiment packages for installation on aircraft; enjoy (self-directed) excursions to Space Center Houston, the beach, and other features of metropolitan Houston.
8/5MonTest Readiness Review (TRR) of all test articles; installation of experiment packages on aircraft.
8/6TueFlight Day 1: pre-flight briefing; flight suits and boots issued; one 2-3 hour flight; adjust test articles as needed; daily post-flight debriefing and review.
8/7WedFlight Day 2: one 2-3 hour flight; adjust test articles as needed; daily post-flight debriefing and review.
8/8ThuFlight Day 3: one 2-3 hour flight; adjust test articles as needed; daily post-flight debriefing and review.
8/9FriFlight Day 4: one 2-3 hour flight; test equipment downloading and removal;daily post-flight debriefing and review; Ellington wrap-up.
What: There will be one flight each of the four flight days. During each flight, which will last an average two to three hours, you will fly 30 to 50 parabolic maneuvers in NASA 931. Depending on the actual trajectory flown, the aircraft will provide the following reduced gravity conditions for you and your experiment:

Negative-g (to -0.1g)Approximately 15 seconds
Zero-gApproximately 25 seconds
Lunar-gApproximately 30 seconds
Martian-gApproximately 40 seconds

You will also experience 1.8-g pull-up and 1.8-g pull-out conditions in each reduced-g maneuver.

You will conduct your experiment within NASA 931's 60-foot foam-padded "test area." The test area is equipped with electrical power, compressed gas sources, overboard vent system and photo lights. NASA will provide photographic services for recording activities in VHS video, 16-mm movie, 35-mm slide and 8" x 10" print media, as required by individual experiments. A professional quality video will be produced from raw video footage taken during each flight.

During the 10-day Ellington Field tour, pre- and post-flight activities will take place in Building 993, which will consists of approximately 1,760 square feet of air-conditioned work space and includes a briefing room equipped with tables, desks, chairs, phones, a VCR, and a video monitor. Work space is available on the ground for buildup and checkout of test equipment prior to installation on the aircraft.

After the flight, your team will prepare research reports, essays, presentations and/or other vehicles that you may specify in your proposal to articulate your Academy experience to other students (K-12 and beyond - you choose) and the public. Your team will also help prepare a professional quality video to be used as an educational and general public outreach tool.

Criteria for Selection

We are looking for the best do-able experiments and tests.

More than anything else, we want you to successfully go from design to lab to operations. By itself, being selected is no guarantee that you will actually fly!

A three-member volunteer proposal review committee will select the four participating teams based on the following criteria:

Your activities should not involve human test subjects, animals, biological tests or any other activity which would trigger the JSC Human Research Policy and Procedures Committee (HRPPC) protocol.

Flight team members must be at least 18 years old; however, a younger ground support crew member can participate if he or she provides written parental consent. Any team member under 18 must be chaperoned by an adult.

Academy Timeline and Deadlines

Letter of Intent: We must have received your non-binding letter of intent to propose by 4:30 PM, Friday, March 1, 1996. Any legible submission, including e-mail (fort@mail.utexas.edu), is acceptable so long as it contains the name and mailing address of academic institution(s) and department(s) involved; name and phone number of the proposal Contact Person; name and phone number of supervising faculty member; and a brief, one-sentence description of your proposed test activity.

Proposal: We must have received at the address below five (5) copies of your written proposal by 4:30 PM, Friday, May 24, 1996. It must be written in the form specified for the "Test Equipment Data Package" specified on page 12 of JSC Reduced Gravity Program User's Guide. It must also include responses to requirements set forth elsewhere in this Competition Guidelines document, including:

Teams Announced: We will announce the four Academy teams on Friday, June 7, 1996.

Equipment: Your test equipment must be built and operational by Wednesday, June 26, 1996. (Expect a site visit!)

Preflight Physicals: Each member of your Flight Team must submit the results of his/her pre-flight physical on Form 8500-8 by 4:30 PM, Wednesday, July 3, 1996.

Final Deliverables: In order for you to receive class credit for the Academy, we must receive your final deliverables by 4:30 PM, Friday, October 11, 1996.


Due to current budget deliberations, Texas Space Grant Consortium and its member institutions, The University of Texas at Austin (TSGC's fiscal host), and NASA do not in any way guarantee that any flights referenced in these Guidelines, the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) and/or related documents will actually occur. Proposers who incur costs in response to these Guidelines, the AO and/or related documents do so at their own risk.

Additional information about the 1996 Texas SURF Summer Academy can be obtained from Burke Fort, Academy Program Director, by:

Calling ... 800/248-8742 (outside Austin) or 471-3583 (in Austin)
Faxing ... 512/471-3585
E-mailing ... fort@mail.utexas.edu
or Writing ...

Mr. Burke O. Fort
ATTN: 1996 Texas SURF Summer Academy
Texas Space Grant Consortium
2901 North IH-35, Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78722



Wednesday, 31-Dec-1969 18:00:00 CST