If you’ve fantasized about floating in space but lack the skills and training to make the astronaut life a reality, you still have an opportunity to achieve weightlessness – and you won’t have to exit the earth’s atmosphere to do it.
The first and only company in the US approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for weightless flights, Zero Gravity Corporation has been facilitating free-floating experiences since 2004, and its 2020 tour will be no exception. Making stops in 12 cities from coast to coast, Zero-G’s upcoming season will kick off in Atlanta on 21 March and wrap on 21 November in Miami, with 30 stops in between.
Here’s how it works. After a pre-flight check-in and a brief orientation, flyers proceed through security and board a modified Boeing 727 for the flight to the airspace, a designated area measuring some 100 miles-long and ten miles-wide, and once the plane has reached an altitude of 24,000 feet, even with the horizon, the fun begins.
The pilot performs an aerobatic manoeuvre called a parabola, pulling up the nose of the jet at an increased angle until it reaches 32,000 feet at a 45-degree angle, then pushes it over the peak – a trackless roller coaster, of sorts. And for the next 20 to 30 seconds, weightlessness is achieved. The plane levels off briefly, then repeats the manoeuvre. (There’s also a parabola for lunar gravity, at one-sixth your body weight, and Martian gravity, at one-third, courtesy of a larger arc over the top of the parabola.)
Of course, such adventures don’t come cheap. The experience starts at US$5400, which includes 15 parabolic manoeuvres, meals before and after the flight, and professional photos and video of you floating around the cabin, and runs up to US$165,000 for a private flights accommodating up to 34 people.
For more information, visit gozerog.com.