A British startup, Gravitilab, has become the first to carry out a microgravity experiment using a drone, with much better results than any purpose-built device for this type of experiment has ever achieved. On Earth, microgravity experiments are carried out in a number of cases, where the object to be tested is dropped from a height in a specially designed drone and, while falling, is for a time in a state of virtual weightlessness.
Europe has only one such built drop tower centre in Germany, and each company has to wait years to carry out its own experiment, or can choose to do experiments at the International Space Station, which also has a long waiting list and is brutally expensive. Microgravity experiments on the ground can achieve 2 seconds of weightlessness, whereas the drone solution being demonstrated can achieve a minimum of 5 seconds of weightlessness, and plans are to increase this to 20 seconds.
The company’s Rob Adlard emphasised that the drone solution allows them to go to the customer’s site, there is no need to wait years and the test is cheaper than any other option for conducting such an experiment. The drone will be taken up to an altitude of 600 metres by default, from where a specially designed capsule carrying the scientific test “subject” will be dropped.
Gravitilab plans to pioneer a new way of exploring and testing space with this new solution, as its services can be used in a wide range of sectors, from the beauty industry to satellite development.