June 2, 2011
USU to perform experiments in zero-G ‘Vomit Comet’
(Nancy Van Valkenburg, Ogden Standard-Examiner) — Troy Munro is back in Houston this week and next, leading a team of other Utah State University student scientists and engineers who will take their first research flight in NASA’s “Vomit Comet.”
Logan resident Munro, 24, flew last year, and this time has announced his plans to abandon ship and keep his feet on the ground.
“There’s a reason they call it the Vomit Comet,” he said. “Last year, I threw up at least five times in zero gravity, a sixth time coming down, and again at the hotel. Then I slept for 4 or 5 hours.”
It’s a sacrifice the electrical and aerospace engineering student was happy to make — once. This year, five new students will make the flight on the specially modified Boeing 727, and Munro and one other student will stay grounded in gravity. The USU group will participate in the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program today through June 11, with flights scheduled for June 9 and 10.
All seven have worked on refining last year’s heat transfer experiment, which tested the possibility of using water to diffuse excess equipment heat that might otherwise damage or disable vital equipment on a space craft. A relatively small amount of water would be lighter and less complex than the motorized fans currently used.
The Utah State team’s research is all about the bubbles created by boiling water, and just how those bubbles might behave without gravity to force them to rise. The students have prepared silicon chips, partially covered with platinum, for use in their experiment.
To read the rest of this article from the Ogden Standard-Examiner, click here.Posted by: psilberman