|(Oct. 21, 2020, 9:47 p.m.. updated Oct. 22, 2020, 5:30 p.m.) -- The nationally famous "Zero G" jet aircraft -- which produces multiple periods of parabolically created weightlessness -- is preparing its latest flight from Long Beach Airport (Sunday Oct. 25.)
Space industry pioneeers Elon Musk (Space X) and Sir Richard Brsanson (Virgin Galactic) rode it in 2010 and 2014 respectively...and we speculate not simply for amusement purposes. The two pioneering entrepreneurs, and others, are now separately pursuing space travel and tourism market opportunities.
Zero G's specially modified Boeing 727-200 cargo jet has no windows so fliers can't see the plane climb at 45 degrees and then descend at 20 degrees. But they can feel the ascent (in which riders lie flat) with a pull of 1.8 G's before the plane dives into its 20 degree descent, a parabola that produces roughly 25 seconds of weightlessness...and does this over a dozen times per flight.
LBREPORT.com publisher Bill Pearl will be aboard the Oct.25 Long Beach flight for media coverage that goes beyond stories elsewhere...because we believe the weightless flights have significance that goes beyond. They offer a periscope into a future that some of us may or may not see but our children surely will. That future includes very different "routine" travel as well as the results of Zero G's less publicized but significant currrent uses for biomedical and scientific experimemts and research.
"I expect my college-age kids may one day travel to New York on a one-hour suborbital flight in which they'll be told to cover their coffee cups before their latte floats to the ceiling, and to keep their seat belts on unless they choose to float along with it," Pearl said,
He added "We don't yet know what discoveries and insights Zero G's scientific and medical research flights may produce." (See LBREPORT.com coverage of Zero G Weightless Plane Flight That Helped Pioneer Manufacturing Human Organs In Space
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At age 70, Pearl (while not a space geek) grew up as the space age emerged. He recalls Sputnik (beeping) and Telstar (sending a few minutes of black and white images back to Earth) and a half century later watched as CalTech/JPL received signals from Mars rovers.
In August 2000, Pearl launched LBREPORT.com, now in its 21st year and one of America's longest continually operating independent/stand alone online local news outlets. It routinely alerts its readers to visible fly-bys of the International Space Station.) (The next one is Friday morning Oct. 23, LBREPORT.com advisory here.)
The publisher enjoyed roller coasters at age 15 [and still does], but notes that multiple accounts describe the weightless experience as quite different. Instead of stomach-dropping adrenaline-pumping speed and swoops, fliers describe a gentle other-worldly floating in which they can -- and do -- spin, twirl, twist and flip in ways unconstrained by gravity.
Those who've taken the weightless flights include paralyzed physicist/cosmologist Steven Hawking (floating free of his wheelchair), former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and model Kate Upton (Sports Illustrated photo shoot.)
Under current COVID-19 conditions, fliers and cabin crew wear face masks; cabin air is changed with external air every three minutes (as on other commercial jets) and the maximum allowed number of fliers per flight has been lowered from 34 to 24 (a 70% reduction.)
Following its Oct. 25 Long Beach flight, the Zero G plane will offer flights in NYC (Oct. 31 and Nov, 1), Fort Lauderdale, FL (Nov. 7) and following a series of research flights plans to return to Long Beach on March 13, 2021.
The weightless experience currently costs $6,700 per person (plus 5% tax), a fraction of six figure sums quoted by some firms now starting to offer space flights.
For a very personal perspective shared by LBREPORT.com's publisher, see link here.
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