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31 January 2024

Team from Universidad de Central Venezuela selected for DropTES programme to test production processes in microgravity

VIENNA, 31 January (United Nations Information Service) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) together with the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen, with the support of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Agency, have selected a team from the Universidad de Central Venezuela for the ninth round of the DropTES programme.

In their project, the team will examine the effects of microgravity on the welding of aerospace aluminium alloys. The results of this experiment could provide valuable insights for the development of components, equipment, and infrastructure in space, supporting human space exploration.

Delivered under the Hypergravity/Microgravity Track of the Access to Space for All initiative, DropTES allows selected teams to conduct microgravity experiments at the Bremen Drop Tower and GraviTower Bremen Pro at ZARM. These unique ground-based facilities offer a high-quality microgravity environment by creating a vacuum and giving teams an opportunity to conduct a wide range of scientific experiments and technological demonstrations in weightlessness here on Earth. Previous teams of the programme have conducted experiments for material science, such as 3D printing and soldering in microgravity, to advance additive manufacturing and mechanical engineering, like robotic arms and deorbit sail systems, which have served as demonstrations of a technology before sending it to space as part of a spacecraft.

Director of UNOOSA Aarti Holla Maini said: "I am pleased to select another interesting experiment for DropTES. The paradigm of space activities is shifting and there is a need to conduct more research on human space exploration not only for Low Earth Orbit, but also for the Moon and beyond. The results of this new research on welding will bring new knowledge for the educators and students involved in this project. Through the UNOOSA Access to Space for All initiative, we are fostering capacity-building for the future generation. I would like to thank ZARM and DLR for their continuous support in realizing such exciting and valuable opportunities.”

Director of ZARM Marc Avila said: "With the support of UNOOSA and DLR, we have created an opportunity for student teams from developing countries, or countries that do not have their own space programmes, to turn their interest in space into something real. Here at ZARM, these students find the support to design, build and finally test a microgravity experiment in our Drop Tower - normally used by professional scientists and space engineers. Hence DropTES allows them to have a glimpse into the professional space environment and serves as the first step into their professional space careers. I’m delighted that the team selected this year is interdisciplinary and diverse. Their proposal focuses on a technologically relevant problem (welding of aluminium in space conditions) and could led to relevant findings for future production and semblance activities in space. Congratulations to the team.”

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad Central de Venezuela Julio Molina said: "It is an honour to be awarded the 9th round of the DropTES Programme. This experience constitutes a great opportunity for our university to develop intensive and top-level education and research capabilities and, at the same time, with the Agencia Bolivariana para Actividades Espaciales, establish a long-term educational strategy to guarantee the professionals that will contribute to consolidating an emerging national space sector."

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For more information, please contact:

Access to Space for All initiative Team
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Email: unoosa-access-to-space[at]

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