Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment Design Challenge

Canada’s first microgravity research competition for students, in collaboration with the National Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency.

In addition to our collaborators, we would like to thank our sponsors for supporting our vision and efforts in training the next generation space workforce.

Gold sponsors


Bronze sponsors


Check out Team AVAIL's progress on their YouTube Channel

Click here to view the selected teams.



The Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment Design Challenge (CAN-RGX) is a competition for Canadian post-secondary students to design and test a small scientific experiment on board the National Research Council (NRC) Falcon-20, which has been modified for reduced gravity flight in association with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Any student team at a Canadian university or college can submit a proposal for their experiment, after which, 4 teams will be selected to fully design, build and fly their experiments. Two members of each team will fly their experiments on board the Falcon-20 which simulates microgravity conditions by flying in consecutive parabolas.

We seek to create tangible student-led impact in space exploration and development. This is a unique opportunity for students to develop skills in STEM, to fly on board a parabolic aircraft, and conduct research in an environment that is unparalleled here on Earth.


For Participants


  • October 7 2016 – Submit your Letter of Intent
  • December 2 2016 – Submit your Proposal
  • December 23 2016 – Teams will be notified of their selection and feedback will be provided by judges.
  • February 15 2017 – Submit your Preliminary Design Review
  • March 30 2017 – Submit your Critical Design Review
  • April 30 2017 – Submit your Test Equipment Data Package and Outreach Activities Report
  • July 24 – August 4 2017 – 2 week window for the Flight Campaign

All submissions must be sent by email to by 11:59 p.m. ET. Check out our Handbook, here, for more detailed instructions on submitting your project proposal, PDR, CDR, TEDP and OAR, along with judging criteria.

Templates for some parts of the submission documents can be found here.



We will compile a list of answers here to your questions. If you don’t find an answer below, feel free to contact us at

  • Who can I ask for help if I have a technical question related to my experiment design?

Selected teams will have access to a group of Subject Matter Experts (SME) who have extensive knowledge on parabolic flight science. These SMEs will be available to answer your technical questions during the competition. Send us your questions to the e-mail address above.

  • Can my experiment involve flammable material if it is properly contained?

No. The ‘Experiment Constraints’ outlined in the Call for Proposals prohibits the use of high-pressure, toxic, corrosive, explosive and flammable materials, regardless of the level of containment.

  • Can I alter my experiment idea after submitting my Letter of Intent?

Absolutely! You are welcome to tweak your experiment or completely change topic when writing your Proposal. The Proposal is the only document that will be evaluated for selection.

  • Will lab space or equipment be provided to build our experiment?

No. Teams are responsible for securing access to proper facilities/equipment needed to design and build their experiment.

  • Will we receive training before the parabolic flight?

Yes. Selected teams will undergo a pre-flight briefing where they will be coached by flight officers and guided through emergency procedures.

  • Will we be allowed to bring our own tools on board the aircraft?

Yes, given that the tools are deemed safe for use in parabolic flight. Note that all tools will need to be contained or tethered during parabolas.

  • Can we perform experiments on humans, animals or living cells?

No. These types of experiments will not be possible for this year’s competition.

  • Can my team have more than one faculty advisor?

Yes, but you must identify one primary faculty advisor who must also be affiliated with your team’s academic institution.

  • Can I apply if I am an international student?

Yes! Any student enrolled at a Canadian post-secondary institution can apply, regardless of residency status.

  • Can I participate if I am enrolled part time?

Yes! As long as you can provide proof of enrollment at your academic institution, you can enter into the competition.

  • Do you accept unofficial proof of enrollment?

Yes, however official proof must be submitted with the team’s Proposal.

  • Is there a limit on how many members can be in my team?

No, however your team can only be associated with one ‘primary Canadian institution’. This means that any team members who are not enrolled at the primary Canadian institution will be listed as ‘collaborating institutions/members’.


Relevant Topics and Areas of Research

Any biological or physical process that depends on gravity on Earth can be studied in microgravity to observe changes. Students from a wide variety of backgrounds can perform experiments; these include, but are not limited to:

  • Material Sciences
  • Fluid, Heat and Mass Dynamics
  • Mechanics and Structures
  • Sensors, Control Systems and Robotics
  • Chemistry
  • Geological Processes
  • Astroparticle and Radiation Sciences
  • Kinesiology, Biophysics and Biomechanical Engineering
  • Biology and Biochemistry
  • Plant, Animal and Human Physiology
  • Nutrition Sciences
  • Pharmacology and Medicine

For inspiration, here is a list of abstract titles from the 2014 NASA Reduced Gravity Flight Opportunities Program, which cover several research topics:

  • Dust Coagulation in Microgravity
  • Electrodynamic Dust Mitigation for NEO Missions
  • Flow Boiling Bubble Detachment in Microgravity
  • Canfield Joint Attitude Control
  • Zero Gravity Mass Inventory Gauge System
  • Frontal Polymerization in Microgravity
  • Fiber Supported Droplet Combustion of Biofuels
  • Still Deployment Mechanism for Small Satellite Platforms
  • Moisture Transport Systems for Wearable Applications
  • Vectran Combustion in Microgravity
  • Low-Velocity Regolith Ejecta
  • Alteration of Actin’s Critical Concentration in Microgravity
  • Miniaturized cardiac monitoring systems in microgravity
  • Noninvasive Biosensing for Long Distance Space Flights
  • Peristaltic Flow in Zero Gravity
  • Automated Microgravity Fluids Testing for Advanced Plant Habitat
  • A reporter system to assess the effects of microgravity on UV-induced DNA damage
  • Measuring and Interpreting the Effects of Gravity on Human Biochemical Processes
  • CPR in a microgravity environment
  • HTEE (Hemodynamic Transesophageal Echocardiography) Evaluation and Analysis Research Team (HEART)


Sponsorship Opportunities

We encourage aerospace companies to support this unique opportunity by becoming a CAN-RGX Sponsor. To learn more, download our competition sponsorship package.