Parabolic Flight Description

What is parabolic flight?

In parabolic flight, our aircraft is put into a suborbital trajectory that provides free-fall, or weightlessness. This is not a simulation. The weightless experience, other than duration, is exactly that experienced by astronauts on orbital missions. We will provide several parabolas per flight. Each maneuver consists of a gentle dive to pick up speed, followed by a two-gravity pull up lasting about ten seconds. Near the top of the maneuver, the aircraft engines are idled and the airplane is launched into the same parabolic trajectory that a cannon ball would follow, providing to twenty-five to thirty seconds of total weightlessness for experimentation and exercises. In addition to the specific tasks assigned for the class, participants will be provided with an opportunity to perform physics experiments that can be performed in no other way, or to simply float, fly, and briefly cavort about the cabin, just like the astronauts in Skylab and the Space Shuttle. At the bottom of the parabola, the aircraft pulls out of its dive and levels off for the next arc, restoring weight to the cabin.

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