Future Virgin Galactic astronauts fly with ZERO-G
Monday 14, October 2013
Some of those who have purchased seats aboard Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flights got an early taste of the weightlessness they will experience during their upcoming trips to space.
Teaming up with the Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G), Virgin Galactic provided Future Astronauts the opportunity to experience zero gravity before leaving the Earth’s atmosphere.
Over the course of three flights in Burbank, California, some of Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronauts climbed aboard a specially modified Boeing-727, known as G-FORCE ONE®. The partnership allowed Virgin Galactic to offer ZERO-G flights to their passengers at a preferred price and enjoy the experience alongside their fellow Future Astronauts in preparation for their upcoming space flights, expected to begin in 2014.
During each ZERO-G flight, specially trained pilots perform a series of parabolic arcs to create a weightless environment, allowing Flyers to float, flip and soar through the plane as if they are in space. These flights are not simulated – ZERO-G is the first and only FAA-approved provider of commercial weightless airplane flights for the public.
“We are excited about this new relationship and look forward to introducing even more Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts to the amazing feeling of weightlessness,” said Terese Brewster, President and COO of ZERO-G. “These flights are definitely an enhancement to their upcoming trip on SpaceShipTwo.”
"It's an utterly amazing feeling to be floating in zero-G. It's literally out of this world!" said Joanne Le Bon, Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut and ZERO-G flyer.
So far, more than 640 people from around the world have put down a deposit to fly with Virgin Galactic. The test flight program is well underway, and commercial operations are expected to begin in 2014.
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