ACS Athens Academy students are preparing two STEAM experiments, spACS 1 and spACS 2, to be conducted at 100 km altitude under microgravity conditions inside Blue Origin’s “New Shepard” reusable rocket. The experiments will be included in separate launches. Jeff Bezzos’ Blue Origin is a world-class aerospace company that is pioneering rocket reusability and space flight and paves the way for space colonization.
ACS Athens students are designing, prototyping, and fine-tuning each scientific apparatus, are conducting scientific research and experiments, and managing the program, meeting tight deadlines and constrains: the scientific apparatus has to fit inside a 10 cm x 10 cm x 20 cm container with a total maximum mass of 500 g; the experiment has to be pre-programmed to run autonomously; the apparatus has to meet strict safety criteria.
spACS 1 scientific goal is to investigate the viscosity of honey under microgravity conditions, a Physics-based experiment on fluidity.
spACS 2, which won the first place in the Hellenic Physical Society’s 1st aerospace contest (November 2018), combines Physics, Chemistry, and Biology to investigate the behavior of foams and emulsions under microgravity conditions focusing on Greek traditional products (olive oil, ouzo, petimezi).
Both groups of students follow the same work breakdown structure consisting of a Research Team (literature research, experimental apparatus design, experiment conduction and data collection, data analysis and evaluation), a Development Team (microcontrollers’ assembly, coding, mechanical and electrical engineering, 3D design), and an Administration Team (articles, outreach initiatives). Students meet regularly at the Incubator's space and make use of the Incubator and Academy Chemistry lab's facilities and resources. spACS experiments have inspired IB Extended Essays and Internal Assessments. Academy faculty has been engaged with both programs.