Microgravity Research

In 2009, a unique prize helped to promote awareness of microgravity as a research tool and will soon be routinely available on a commercial basis. 

The prize offered consists of:

  • Flight of an experiment in Earth orbit as early as November 2009
  • A grant of $25,000
  • A trip for four to see the launch of the winning experiment from Cape Canaveral

The winning proposal among the nine submitted was from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.  The winning team, led by Dr. Mauro Ferrari, plans to use microgravity to understand the equations of motion of nanoparticles for steady-dose delivery of pharmaceuticals.

The flight is donated by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), one of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) partners.  The competition was organized by the Heinlein Prize Trust with assistance from the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.  It was open to U.S. universities, colleges, and non-profit organizations with optional industry partners.   Please click below for more information:


The Award


Proposal Content

Proposal Submission



Technical Requirements

    Mounting Plate

    Design Loads

    Microgravity Environment

    Experiment Hardware

    Questions and Answers

Additional Information

Competition Organizers

Download the Announcement        Proposal Abstracts          Finalists          Winner

Rice Allience Logo
spacex_logo heinleinmedalgold

Heinlein Prize Trust

Reprinted from the Microgravity Research Competition Announcement, January 2009, Heinlein Prize Trust.  Used by permission.

Copyright (c) 2009 Labflight Inc.