Nicole Guglielmo Going Weightless

    On June 15, Naugatuck Valley Community College student Nicole Guglielmo, Waterbury, will head to NASA Johnson Space Center‘s Ellington Field in Houston to conduct experiments aboard the agency’s “Weightless Wonder” aircraft.

   Naugatuck Valley’s opportunity to participate is the result of the hard work and commitment of Nicole Guglielmo, and her fellow teammates from other nationwide community colleges. The students were selected from more than 20 proposals based on scientific merit and educational outreach potential. They have put many hours into researching and building their experiment. They are also taking time to reach out to other students and the community to share their unique experiences and discoveries.

   “We are excited that our program provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for aspiring scientists and engineers to study and understand their craft. The students gain useful skills by participating in the program through collaborative planning and teamwork,” said Doug Goforth, program manager.

   Each year, the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program (RGEFP) gives undergraduate students the opportunity to propose, build and fly a reduced gravity experiment. As part of one of 14 undergraduate teams attending, Guglielmo will perform the experiments aboard a microgravity aircraft, which produces weightlessness 18 to 25 seconds at a time by executing a series of about 30 parabolas – a steep climb followed by a free fall – over the Gulf of Mexico. During the free falls, the students will be able to gather data in the unique environment and experience near-weightlessness.

   Guglielmo will also have a chance to fly their experiment during the week of June 15-25. This experiment will investigate the adhesion of water droplets on two parallel membranes and investigate the efficacy of spreading water on the membranes with a thermal gradient, also known as Marangoni convection during their reduced gravity flights. Following their flight, the team will evaluate findings, draw conclusions and provide the results to NASA.

   For more information about the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, visit the Web site at: or contact Rachel Kraft at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Public Affairs Office, at 281-792-7690, or