T minus 100 hours : boarding the aircraft

Excitement rushed through our veins as all final checks of our experiment read,“ready to go”. Ready to travel from Lausanne to Bordeaux, ready to move from the dark dungeon into the fancy aircraft, ready to function in microgravity.

During the rainy Sunday 13 May, the experimental setup was packed and carried out off our lab using the sole force of human muscles. However, the physical effort was minor relative to the thinking required to manoeuvre the “beast” through narrow doorframes and hallways into the boot of our car.

Nico and Danail carefully drove the experiment across France to Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast, while Phil and Marc travelled by plane. They used their extra-time to prepare a tasty welcome dinner for the four of us, continuing our longstanding culinary tradition.

Upon arriving at Novespace – the company conducting the parabolic flights – we were warmly welcomed by our French friends, who are never short of moderately funny jokes about the Swiss. The most entertaining moment was when the Novespace engineers decided to remeasure the centre of gravity of our experiment using a Pythagorean method that requires tilting the 228 kg box until it balances on its edges!

After a series of security checks, a forklift finally picked up our experiment to load it into the aircraft. This is always an emotional moment, a little bit like giving away your baby.

But finally our dear “Louis II”, the nickname of our experiment, reappeared in good shape inside the aircraft: time for a final team picture!

Last Updated (Tuesday, 28 May 2013 17:05)

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