Non-spacefaring countries have minimal opportunities to participate in real microgravity researches, which take place in drop towers, zero-G aircrafts, or in space laboratories such as the International Space Station, amongst others. To increase the opportunities for non-spacefaring nations, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UN OOSA) launched the United Nations Human Space Technology Initiative (UN HSTI) in 2010 within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications. The role of the initiative is to provide a platform to exchange information, foster collaboration between spacefaring and non-spacefaring countries, encourage emerging and developing countries to take part in space education and research, and benefit from space applications.

The announcement of the 3rd cycle of the Zero-Gravity Instrument Project (ZGIP) was released and 42 institutions worldwide applied. The three-month evaluation process was carried out by experts from the HSTI and members of the Science Advisory Group. It was followed by the selection of 13 project proposals from eight countries, including the application of Oluwafemi Funmilola Adebisi for NASRDA, the Nigerian Space Agency. The project is a winner of the was a winner for the 3rd cycle. The reward was a clinostat for NASRDA.

What Is a Clinostat?

A clinostat is a device that negates the effects of gravity. For non-spacefaring countries that do not have access to microgravity environment, this device makes it possible to perform microgravity experiments. The clinostat is uniaxial. Plants seeds, cells, microorganisms and small samples from material sciences are possible samples that can be experimented on it. The experimental variables are rotation speed, temperature, humidity, and light conditions.

The objectives of the NASRDA with the clinostat are:

  1. To understand the impact of gravity on the sample of interest. The idea behind this is to know what the orientation of the sample will be in space, as well as to identify the underlying mechanisms. With clinostat experiments, the importance and impact of gravity can be demonstrated.
  2. To conduct observational experiments with respect to the differences under microgravity environment and comparing them with those of control experiments under gravity.

Understanding how organisms and matter react to gravity and the absence of it will lead to new applications that benefit mankind in the areas of food security, new medical cures, and the creation of a data set of experimental results in gravity responses that will contribute to the design of future space experiments and the advancement of microgravity research.

Call for Interest

The clinostat is for both research and educational purposes. It has been used judiciously and particularly for these purposes. Therefore, there is a call for interest for microgravity research and educational opportunities, especially for non-spacefaring and African countries. For inquiries please write to [email protected].

Experimentation with the Won Clinostat at the Microgravity Simulating Laboratory, NASRDA.

OLUWAFEMI Funmilola Adebisi is currently working with the Nigerian Space Agency, where she is part of the Space Life Science Unit of the Engineering and Space Systems Department (ESS) in the Obasanjo Space Centre, Abuja, Nigeria. She is the Group Lead of the Space Environment Working Group of the Space Safety and Sustainability (SSS) Project Group within the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).


United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna, Austria for contributing Clinostat to National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Obasanjo Space Centre, Abuja, Nigeria.