Welcome to the MIT Space Exploration Initiative’s (SEI’s) course on project development, prototyping, and deployment readiness for parabolic flights, culminating with an annually chartered research flight. Admitted student teams will be offered project-deployment slots on the SEI Spring 2024 parabolic flight. This course will cover three main topic areas:
Rapid prototyping and engineering skills to prepare projects for operation in altered gravity
Logistics, training, and safety pre-approval steps to meet flight readiness requirements and pass a Technical Readiness Review (TRR)
Creative and technical lenses for the future of space exploration, exploring the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative’s design and prototyping approach, MIT parabolic flight research examples across Science, Engineering, Art, and Design, and across departments.
Use the navigation drop-downs above to access more information about this and previous year’s courses, or click below to go directly to the overview or admission criteria pages.
Not sure if you want to apply but are still interested and want to learn more? Please fill out this form so we can share the details of our first class.
Important Notice: The class will be recorded, and the footage may be made public.
Questions? Please send a note to [email protected].
A zero gravity flight, or more formally a parabolic flight or reduced gravity flight, is one where the aircraft generates short, 20-30 second periods of alternating reduced gravity and hypergravity by following a parabolic flight path, all while remaining at normal "cruising" altitudes (~22,000-28,000 ft). Our flight will include 20 such parabolas, with a mix of lunar (1/6 g), martian (3/8 g), and microgravity (0 g). This is a rare opportunity to experience significant duration of true weightlessness (totaling ~5 minutes) and varying gravity levels without going into orbit or visiting another planet! The company we charter with (ZERO-G) provides reduced gravity research flights for NASA, and has flown everything from MIT research payloads to Stephen Hawking!
See a collection of all our previous flights here.
This will be the flight associated with the Fall 2023 course and is expected to fly in May 2024.
Even though we did not offer the course in Fall 2022, a flight is planned for projects that have flown before and require additional data.
This year’s flight flew on May 20, 2022.
This year's regularly scheduled flight flew just days after the postponed 2020 flight, on May 23, 2021.
Originally scheduled for May 2020, this flight was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and finally able to fly on May 20, 2021, just a few days before the regularly scheduled 2021 flight.