Five Engineering students from the University of Brighton have been selected as one of just two teams across Europe to take their ground-breaking project into zero gravity.
The members of the team, PHP Cubed, are all undertaking masters degrees in either Aeronautical or Mechanical Engineering. Georgie Crewdson, Tom Critchley, Matteo Pontecorvo, Liam Ardagh and Alex Evans will participate in the flight programme Fly Your Thesis! in Autumn 2019.
The students will be given the opportunity to test their project in a zero-gravity environment aboard an aircraft in Bordeaux, France, that simulates the weightlessness of outer space.
Last month PHP Cubed presented their work at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk in the Netherlands, along with five other teams from Poland, Germany and Italy.
Each team presented their experiment ideas to the selection board, with PHP Cubed and Grain Power, 3D-Printing from Germany making it through to the flight programme next year. The board based its final decision on the feasibility, safety, scientific value and educational value.
In January, the students will spend a week at the European Space Agency’s training facility ESEC-Galaxia in Belgium where they will learn skills such as project management, outreach and communication, system engineering principles, space science and other issues that will help them progress their project. They will then be in a position to fly their experiment in Autumn 2019 after having spent the year developing their project from scratch.
Mechanical Engineering MEng student Georgie Crewdson, part of PHP Cubed, said: “The main thing I will take from this experiment is the fact we will have flown in zero-gravity.
“The scientific value of the project is huge, and the data we collect may change the way we design nanosatellites and contribute to the innovation of space tech design.
“Our experiment will also provide a legacy for future students to build upon and innovate even further.”
Aeronautical Engineering MEng student Tom Critchley, another member of Cubed PHP, said: “We are all incredibly excited to start working on building our project now that we know we have made it through. The opportunity to experience and perform research in zero-gravity is a once in a lifetime experience which I cannot wait for.”
PHP Cubed are currently fundraising through the University of Brighton’s Springboard initiative, to raise money for materials for their innovative experiment. To donate to the project, visit: https://bit.ly/2FbA1DK