How does the drop tower work?

The functionality of the drop tower is fairly simple: All falling objects are automatically nearly weightless – just like the experiment that has been placed inside the drop capsule, an airtight container of 2.5 meter length and 80 centimeter width.

During a simple drop experiment, the capsule is pulled up to a height of 120 meters to the top of the drop tube and then released. After 4.74 seconds the experiment has landed safely in the deceleration unit filled with polystyrene pellets. Before the experiment, 18 high-performance pumps make sure that the drop tube is almost free of air containing only one ten thousandth of the normal air pressure. Due to the vacuum, the air drag is so low that the Bremen Drop Tower can provide one of the best quality of microgravity - in some aspects even better than on the International Space Station (ISS). Therefore, ZARM's drop tower facility is a very economic and easily accessible alternative to doing research in space.