Zero Gravity Corporation
|Headquarters||Arlington, Virginia, U.S.|
Byron K. Lichtenberg
Zero Gravity Corporation (also known as ZERO-G) is an American company based in Arlington, Virginia, formerly of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which operates weightless flights from United States airports. Unlike NASA, ZERO-G is governed under Part 121 of FAA regulations (as are all US commercial passenger and cargo airlines) enabling the company to cater to both tourists and researchers alike.
Founded by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, astronaut Byron K. Lichtenberg, and NASA engineer Ray Cronise, the company has been operating weightless flights since 2004. A number of notable passengers have been on weightless flights run by the company, including Penn Jillette and Teller, Martha Stewart, Burt Rutan, Buzz Aldrin, and John Carmack. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking also completed a shortened flight on April 26, 2007.
In April 2006, ZERO-G became the first commercial company to gain permission from the Kennedy Space Center to use its space shuttle runway and landing facilities. On April 21, 2007, it began regular flights from Las Vegas for the general public at ticket prices of US$3,675. Good Morning America aired promotional footage featuring the show's weatherman Sam Champion during a preview flight in Ohio. On December 9, 2007, Zero G hosted Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters to disprove the conspiracy theory that the Apollo Moon landing was a hoax.
On April 20, 2011, a Safety Approval was granted to ZERO-G by the FAA which allows the company to "...offer reduced gravity parabolic flights to prospective suborbital launch operators to meet the applicable components of the crew qualification and training requirements outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (14 C.F.R., Section 460.5)."
The company owns and operates a Boeing 727-227F Advanced, registration N794AJ,[full citation needed] dubbed "G-FORCE ONE". It flies parabolic arcs similar to those of NASA's KC-135 Reduced gravity aircraft.
Fliers undergo a brief training session before embarking.[full citation needed] A flight lasts 90 to 100 minutes,[full citation needed] and consists of fifteen parabolas, each of which simulates about 30 seconds of reduced gravity: one that simulates Martian gravity (one third of Earth's), two that simulate Lunar gravity (one sixth of Earth's), and 12 that simulate weightlessness. Each parabola begins with the aircraft climbing at a 45 degree angle at approximately 23,000 feet (7,000 m), peaks at 32,000 ft (9,800 m), and ends with the aircraft pointed down at a 30 degree angle.
Research flights for NASA
NASA has a microgravity services contract with ZERO-G, which provided the first flights under this contract on September 9 and 10, 2008. Flight time from Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center was provided for the FASTRACK Space Experiment Platform. The flights were funded by NASA’s Strategic Capabilities and Assets Program.
- "Learning to Fly, Strip, and Vomit on a 727". 2007-03-05.
- "Zero gravity for 3.5 G's". 2007-04-26.
- Stephen Hawking's Zero-G Flight Booked, CBS News, March 1, 2007
- "Hawking takes zero-gravity flight". BBC News. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
- "Las Vegas Welcomes Its Most Unique Attraction Yet: Weightless Flights by Zero Gravity Corporation". 2007-03-05. Archived from the original on 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
- "Weightless Thrill Ride". 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
- "Ask Sam Champion About Zero Gravity". 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
- "Reservations". Zero Gravity Corporation. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- Zero G Flights Could Bolster Space Tourism, Research Industries, Space.com, September 22, 2004
- "Space experiment rack receives flight time" (PDF). SPACEPORT NEWS. Sep 19, 2008.