Experimental payload designed by UMES professor launched aboard Virgin Galactic’s Galactic 05

Experimental payload designed by UMES professor launched aboard Virgin Galactic’s Galactic 05

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore soared above and beyond into the stars as the institution was represented aboard Virgin Galactic’s Galactic 05 spaceship on Nov. 2

A payload, designed by UMES assistant professor Dr. Aaron Persad tested how confined fluid behaves in a low-gravity environment, was part of the ship’s second dedicated research flight. Kellie Gerardi, the payload specialist and bioastronautics researcher for the International Institute for the Astronautical Sciences, conducted the experiments in space.

“What’s really special about this opportunity is we’re doing it all through commercial means,” Persad said. “We’re not going through a government agency. It’s our own payload. We found our own funding and now it’s going to space. So, there’s an avenue for us to access space that in the past hasn’t been available before.”

Persad was on location in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico at Spaceport America, the hub for Virgin Galactic and the world’s first purpose-built spaceport, as part of the mission team and as a principal investigator.

The objective of the experiment was to investigate the equilibrium states of a fluid in freefall. The behavior of the fluid was video recorded and compared to predictions from theory.

Full story here.

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