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Scientists regularly organize microgravity experiments on spaceflights (microgravity is a state of near-weightlessness like that experienced aboard the International Space Station). Their goal is to observe physical and physiological phenomena that are otherwise masked by gravity. For example, they might want to study how the heart works, analyse the properties of certain fluids or see how a material behaves at high temperature. The CADMOS laboratory at the Toulouse Space Centre plays a key role in this respect, helping scientists to prepare their experiments and collect data. The main platforms that CADMOS scientists use for microgravity science are the International Space Station (ISS), the Airbus A300-Zero G and unmanned space capsules.
Created in 1993, CADMOS performs national and European experiments (for ESA), as well as participating in multilateral cooperation initiatives, notably with Russia and the United States. As a testament to its expertise, CADMOS is one of nine User Operations and Support Centres (USOCs) in Europe selected by ESA to help users operate equipment on the ISS.