The French Space Agency is the majority shareholder of Novespace. A state-funded industrial and commercial establishment (EPIC), the CNES is the agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in five main strategic areas: Ariane, Sciences, Observation, Telecommunications and Defense.
Since 1988, the CNES has organized two annual parabolic flight campaigns to allow users to conduct scientific experiments in zero gravity without resorting to an expensive space system.
Every year, the CNES also gives high school students the chance to take part in these parabolic flights to test experiments carried out in class.
Parabolic flight experiments with scientific merit
The onboard experiments conducted on CNES campaigns are submitted by research laboratories and selected by working groups, which include experts from outside the CNES, who examine each project on their scientific or technological merit.
These groups meet several times a year to study the many applications submitted in response to the annual invitations to tender issued by the CNES. The experiments cover a very wide range of topics.
Researchers are interested in fields such as fundamental physics, physical sciences, life sciences, material sciences and sciences of the universe, as well as technological experiments, space device tests and preparations for manned space missions.
Examples of experiments
- behavior of the Ariane 5 launcher engine
- functioning of the human brain
- optical properties of light
- blood circulation in microgravity
- evolution of granular media
- combustion in microgravity
- the influence of the nervous system on joints
- equipment testing and crew training for space missions