University of Brighton postgraduates also won the European Space Agency's student project competition Fly Your Thesis in 2018 – after being the first UK team selected to take part in the long-running programme for 14 years.
Professor Marengo said: “What is important in this kind of flights is doing experiments directly on set-ups under weightless conditions, which makes this program different to all the other tools for microgravity experiments, such as sounding rockets, drop towers and the ISS.
“I have experienced more than 300 parabolas - over 100 minutes with absence of weight. The first time is a surprise, since you have really the impression to fly, to float in the air. It is difficult to get used to this feeling because it lasts only 22 seconds, preceded and followed by a period in hyper gravity, which can be rather heavy to cope with. In the transition between microgravity and hyper gravity, you can also feel dizzy even as frequent 0g flier.”
Novespace is part of the French Space Agency (CNES), and its Airbus A310 ZERO-G is one of the world's largest parabolic flight aircraft. UK involvement in space has surged in recent years, with rocket bases planned for Scotland and Cornwall, and nearly 45.000 people now employed in the industry. The UK's latest National Space Strategy plans to invest more than £6 billion over the next 10 years to strengthen the UK as a world class space nation. The UK Space Agency provides active support to student and research team access to microgravity platforms such as parabolic flights.