United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

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

The Drop Tower Experiment Series is a new fellowship programme of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in which students can learn and study microgravity science by performing experiments in a drop tower. The Drop Tower Bremen 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.

Extended deadline for applications submission is  30 April 2014.

Drop Tower

Photo: The Drop Tower Bremen (Courtesy: ZARM)

Eligibility Criteria

  • The DropTES Fellowship Programme is open to research teams from non-space-faring countries. 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.

DropTES Details & Application Documents

The fully completed the above application form, properly endorsed by the applicant's institution, should be emailed to hsti-droptes@unoosa.org both in PDF format (.pdf) containing the signature page, and in MS WORD (.doc), no later than 30 April 2014. Please note that our email accounts only accept emails with a size limit of up to 10 MB.

The applicants should also mail the fully completed original application form to the following address: Office for Outer Space Affairs, United Nations Office at Vienna, Vienna International Centre, P.O. BOX 500, A-1400 Vienna, AUSTRIA.

OOSA will then proceed to evaluate each submission. At OOSA's sole discretion, additional information may be requested from applicants, if necessary, to assist in the evaluation of an application. Selected applicants will then be notified with the results of the selection process. All awards are final and made at the sole discretion of OOSA, not subject to challenge or review.

Schedule of the DropTES Programme

1 June 2014: 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.

June - November 2014: Experiment preparation in close cooperation with ZARM experts and the scientific mentor:

  • 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 Drop Tower Bremen

24-28 November 2014: Experiment Series:

  • up to two weeks of experiment integration at the Drop Tower Bremen prior to the series week - decision after receiving the final experiment progress report
  • one week drop tower series from 24 - 28 November 2014

31 March 2015: Report Submission by team:

  • submission of the final experiment report to the Selection Board
  • submission of the 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 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 separate cabins, a bathroom and a common kitchen. The ZARM apartment can accommodate four people with two separate rooms.

Contact Information

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


Last updated on 5 March 2014.

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