A proposed experiment by a Filipino student of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) is set to be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) in the fall of 2022.
William Kevin Abran's entry “Rotation of ‘Dumbbell-shaped’ Objects in Space”, is one of six experiments chosen as part of the Asian Try Zero-G (ATZG) 2022 program, a simple space experiment for young people.
It will be conducted by astronaut Koichi Wakata at the ISS/Kibo (Japanese Experiment Module).
On Friday (June 24), Abran's experiment was announced by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a finalist in the Category２for Individual or group applicants, 27 years old and younger.
A total of 201 submissions was received from 480 students and young engineers/researchers, hailing from countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Singapore and Thailand.
The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) screened local proposals in May and selected five experiments, including Abran’s, to enter the final round of evaluation by JAXA. They were evaluated based on scientific significance, novelty, safety, resource requirement, and feasibility.
Abran’s proposal 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.”
Abran hypothesised that a rigid object, like “dumbbell-shaped rotators”, can be spun about the longitudinal axis and along the transverse axis. It only has two distinct principal moments of inertia, so a rotation along the principal axes must be stable and will not result in the Dzhanibekov effect.
In a free environment, like in microgravity, rigid objects could rotate continuously for a fair amount of time. Therefore, the long-term stability of their rotations can be observed.