University of the Philippines student experiment to be carried out on International Space Station

Kevin Abran International Space Station
UP Los Baños student William Kevin Abran’s proposed experiment will be part of the Asian Try Zero-G (ATZG) 2022 program on the ISS. UPLB photo.

University of the Philippines Los Baños student William Kevin Abran’s proposed experiment is set to be carried out on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Asian Try Zero-G (ATZG) 2022 program, a simple space experiment for young people.

The UPLB student’s entry, “Rotation of ‘Dumbbell-shaped’ Objects in Space”, is one of the six experiments chosen to be conducted by astronaut Koichi Wakata at the International Space Station (ISS)/Kibo (Japanese Experiment Module) in the fall of 2022.

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The Filipino student’s experiment was announced by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on June 24 as a finalist in the Category2for Individual or group applicants, 27 years old and younger. The final selection process of a total of 201 submissions received from 480 students and young engineers/researchers was participated in by Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Abran’s proposal experiment was introduced as a theme that “aims to systematically examine the behavior of rotating objects in orbit and the Dzhanibekov effect by means of two rigid bodies with different centers of gravity.”

These images show the procedures and predicted outcomes of the experiment proposed by William Kevin L. Abran.

According to Abran’s proposal, a rigid object, like “dumbbell-shaped rotators”, could be spun about the longitudinal axis and along the transverse axis. It only has two distinct principal moments of inertia, therefore, a rotation along the principal axes must be stable and will not result in the Dzhanibekov effect. It is difficult to physically simulate these motions on the ground without pre-determining the center of mass or without the constant application of force. However, in a free environment, like in microgravity, rigid objects could rotate continuously for a fair amount of time, so it will be possible to observe the long-term stability of their rotations.

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) led and organized the local call for proposals for this year’s ATZG Philippines, screened proposals in May for the preliminary round, and selected five experiments including Abran’s, to enter the final round of evaluation by JAXA. Proposals were evaluated based on scientific significance, novelty, safety, resource requirement, and feasibility.

ATZG is one of the activities of the Kibo-ABC program that aims to expand the use of the Kibo module on ISS and develop the youth’s understanding of space environments. PhilSA Deputy Director General Dr. Gay Jane Perez is the country’s point of contact for all Kibo-ABC activities.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to University of the Philippines Los Baños student William Kevin Abran for having his experiment chosen to be carried out on the International Space Station!

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