+ Zero G Plane Producing Passenger Glee Also Quietly Enabled Scientists To Pursue These Space Exploration/Travel Advances
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Zero G Plane Producing Passenger Glee Also Quietly Enabled Scientists To Pursue These Space Exploration/Travel Advances



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(Oct. 24, 2020, 6:25 p.m.) -- Like most of the people preparing to board Zero G's Oct. 25 Long Beach flight, we expect it will be exciting and FUN (what a concept in reporting a news story.) We expect to spin and twirl beyond Earthly limits (and beneath our panedemic face mask we may even smile and laugh.)

But in our view the spinning and twirling are only part of the story. .

We are mindful that scientists have used that same Zero G plane to advance biomedical research (LBREPORT.com coverage here. and other scientists focused on space exploration have used the plane to advance their research. These are separate research flights on the same plane but with focused scientists and experiments aboard instead of spinning passengers. (Several research flights are scheduled for Ft. Lauderdale in November, details on Zero G's schedule below.)

The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) used Zero G to measure the mechanical response of soil in reduced gravity. That might not matter in your garden, but it might very much matter in landing and roving on the planet Mars and elsewhere..

Zero G notes: "These results will be used to enhance our understanding of regolith [soil] properties in a variety of different environments important to future NASA missions on comets, asteroids, and Mars..."

[Zero G text] With the combined datasets, regolith properties like the angle of restitution and the internal friction angle can be calculated. These results will be used to enhance our understanding of regolith [soil layer of unconsolidated rocky material covering bedrock] properties in a variety of different environments important to future NASA missions on comets, asteroids, and Mars.


Experimental data being collected while Jason Marshall (left) and Jose Andrade (center) watch during a zero gravity parabola. Text and image source: Zero G

[Scroll down for further.]







In a space travel/exploration advance, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (CU Aerospace) designed a low-cost flight experiment based on the "UltraSail" concept in which two CubeSat satellites deploy a 20 sq. meter solar sail, which can play the same role as propellant on a conventional spacecraft.

A major advantage of a "propellantless" solar sail is that the need for a relatively massive and expensive propulsive device is avoided. CubeSail mission goals are successful sail deployment, attitude control, and deorbit.
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Ms. Laystrom-Woodard releases CubeSail during a zero-g parabola. Text and image source: Zero G

The CubeSail mission is a first in a series of increasingly complex demonstrations leading up to a fullscale UltraSail mission.

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After taking passengers on parabolic weightless flights in NYC (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) and Ft. Lauderdale (Nov. 7), Zero G is cheduled to fly four research missions in Ft. Lauderdale on Nov. 17, 18, 19, 20.

Then it'sscheduled to return to Long Beach on March 13, 2021. will fly

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Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.


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