Vladimir Pletser

Director of Director of Space Training Operations at Blue Abyss

Biographical Paragraph

Vladimir Pletser earned a Master of Engineering in Mechanics in 1979, a Master of Sciences in Geophysics in 1980 and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1990 from the University of Louvain, Belgium.

He is currently Director of Space Training Operations at Blue Abyss, a company based in UK, proposing a new approach for astronaut training. From 2016 to 2018, he was Visiting Professor – Scientific Adviser at the Technology and Engineering Centre for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, supporting the preparation and development of microgravity research instrumentation for parabolic flights and for the future Chinese Space Station.

Previously, he worked for 30 years as Senior Physicist – Engineer at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) of the European Space Agency (ESA), developing scientific instruments for microgravity research in fluid physics, crystallisation of proteins and zeolites and on dexterous manipulation on board the International Space Station.

He was also responsible of the ESA aircraft parabolic flight programme. He logged more than 7350 parabolas, representing more than 39h 30m of weightlessness, equivalent to 26 Earth orbits, and 53 min and 50 min at Mars and Moon g levels, during which he participated in several hundred experiments in physical and life sciences. He holds the official Guinness World Record for the number of airplanes (14) on which he flew parabolas. He served as Flight instructor for public Discovery Parabolic Flights. Astronaut Candidate for Belgium since 1991, he was Payload Specialist candidate for several Spacelab missions, including Spacelab LMS for which he spent two months in training at NASA-JSC, Houston, in 1995. He was Astronaut Training Instructor for Parabolic Flights with ESA astronauts and for NASA and DLR astronauts for several Spacelab missions.

Selected in 2001 by The Mars Society, a private organisation promoting the human exploration of Mars, he participated in three international simulation campaigns of Mars missions in the Arctic Circle in 2001 and in the Desert of Utah in 2002 and as Crew Commander in 2009., He is visiting Professor in 20 universities in Europe, USA, Canada, Africa, Israel, and China. He has more than 650 publications, including 6 books, 16 book chapters, 63 articles in refereed journals and 138 articles in international conferences proceedings. He is member of the International Astronautical Academy and of several other academies and scientific organizations.

Vladimir Pletser Wikipedia Page
Vladimir Pletser Site

Lecture title in the We Speak Science Lectures That Last Series: Microgravity with Parabolic Flights and on ISS

Space research has opened since several decades the possibility of conducting investigations in absence of gravity. But is it really without gravity? This weightless environment opens up a new dimension to apprehend small phenomena usually masked by the effects of gravity. Overcome gravity for long periods will allow new insights in numerous domains, some already known and utilized since several years, some others
still unknown today.

The conference will introduce the definition of weightlessness and how it can be attained by the concept of free-fall. Several examples will be presented on how to achieve weightlessness and the various means, platforms and vehicles used by international space agencies to create weightlessness. In particular, aircraft parabolic flights will be presented and various experiments will be reviewed. Parabolic flights are one of the many means used to prepare for the long duration utilization of the ISS that will be further presented during the talk.

Related Articles

Back to top button