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Flight Week
June 02-11, 2011

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Microgravity University

Flight Week

During the week of June 6th, 2011, we tested tube deployment characteristics aboard NASA´s microgravity aircraft, a modified Boeing 727. Over two flights consisting of 30 parabolas of ~20 seconds of microgravity, we tested how the hinges behaved for different initial angles, attached weights, and thermal history. Our experiment was contained in an aluminum and Plexiglas box fabricated to contain the moving hinge and weights in zero gravity. An indicator LED turns off when the solenoid releases the weight at the end of the hinge and shows the exact time of the release.

Flight 1
Flyers: Colin Ely, Mackenzie Day, Supriya Iyer.
Four tubes were tested varying the initial angles and masses. Sample video of these tests can be seen below

Flight 2
Flyers: Robert Karol, Connie Sun
Three tubes were tested varying their thermal cycling history. These tubes were cycled between -40°C and 60°C for varying numbers of cycles. This parameter models the thermal cycling undergone by satellites that enter and leave the sun´s warmth as they orbit the Earth. Sample video of these tests can be found below.