Purdue engineer chosen for NASA suborbital flight

Indiana

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WEHT) On Wednesday, Purdue University’s Steven Collicott was chosen to receive an award from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. This will give him the chance to participate in a suborbital flight aboard a Virgin Galactic craft while running his own zero-gravity experiment.

Collicott, a professor of aerospace in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was 8 years old during the first moon landing and has since dreamed of reaching the stars. “The sudden news that I now get to fly into suborbital space to work in an amazing new zero-gravity laboratory aboard Virgin Galactic is a thrill beyond words,” he said. “That I’ll be one of the first researchers to fly with their own experiments is an exciting notion that I never bothered to consider before.”

Having previously taught zero-gravity experiments aboard a parabolic aircraft flight (often called a “Vomit Comet”), Collicott will be the first active faculty member of Purdue to go into space. He will also be joining Purdue’s “Cradle of Astronauts”, a group of 27 alumni that have either gone into space or been selected for spaceflight.

Collicott’s experiment will study the behavior of certain liquids in weightless environments when they wet solid surfaces. It’s hoped that the results from this will help in the development of more environmentally-friendly rocket propellants used in future space launches.

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