Well….I went on a Zero Gravity flight!
It’s a flight where you get on an airplane (a full-sized 727) and do parabola maneuvers that make you weightless for 30 seconds at a time.
It was kind of like skydiving, I always knew I wanted to do it.
Now the VERY FIRST THING everyone wants to know is “HOW MUCH DID IT COST??”
$5,197.00 total cost.
So yes…..this wasn’t a cheap little adventure (you can take a whole family on a vacation for that much money)…..but it was a “once in a lifetime” unique thing. Plus when I go to space, I’ll have some experience :-)
So I’ll describe the whole day with words & pictures:
At 8:30am me and two friends (Steve and John) went to a Marriott where the ZeroG people were holding an orientation. They have Dramamine and some other anti-nausea medications freely available (after all, this thing is nicknamed “The Vomit Comet”)!
After watching some videos and a light breakfast, they tell you to use the bathroom since there’s no bathroom on the plane (since regular airplane bathrooms tend to “spill over” when you do weird parabola maneuvers in them). Gross.
One of the things I blatantly ignored was them discouraging you from bringing a camera. They said in the air it was “very clumsy” to fiddle with a camera. I still brought one anyway and put it in my flight suit (which you get to keep)!
They were gonna have a professional photographer onboard, plus a couple of high def video cameras to record all the floating.
Everyone on the bus was pretty excited and ready to go floating!
We got down and saw the plane. It was a full size plane, much like something you’d fly from Austin to New York in:
I naturally had to get my world-wide famous handstand picture pose. This one was timed pretty well!
Since the plane must first do a high-gravity turn before low-gravity, they HIGHLY SUGGEST you lay down and stare at one spot on the ceiling for this part. We would pull 1.8 G’s on this maneuver, so my 170 lbs body felt 306 lbs.
This is me in Martian gravity. Our first parabola was “Mars gravity” which is 1/3 your weight on Earth. The next two parabolas are “Lunar weight” where you weight 1/6th your weight.
John got these two great pics of him floating an iPhone. He was actually trying to play Hangtime….a game he developed which got banned from the Apple App store. You throw your phone high as possible and try to see how long it can “hang” in the air. This is a CLEAR loophole :-)
These pics are particularly great since John is CEO of Mutual Mobile (a 250+ person company here in Austin):
After the 6th zero-g parabola I think it was much better…..but at FIRST you definitely have a difficult time controlling yourself. Simply pushing off the floor with LAUNCH you upwards towards the ceiling.
Plus you’re often bumping into other people who change your trajectory.
I remember one time I just curled up into a ball and floated around the whole 30 seconds. I would get bumped, pushed, nudged….around the whole area by other people or the walls. It was fun to feel like a ping-pong ball!
The second thing after the “how much did it cost” questions….is “did you throw up in the vomit comet??” The answer is: YES!
“THE NICEST VOMIT EVER”
I’m not sure I’ve ever been motion-sick before……but I know if I ever DID get motion sickness, the LAST thing I’d do is start doing flips, handstands, or achieving terminal velocity. However that’s EXACTLY what I was doing the whole time.
For the last 3 parabolas I could feel a small part of my stomach go further and further up my throat each time. By the last parabola, I could tell something was gonna give. I grabbed the little air-sickness pouch they give you (everyone keeps one in their flight suit pocket), and wee bit of vomit came out.
HOWEVER it was the “nicest” vomit I’ve ever had!
Normally if someone vomits, it’s either because you’re violently ill, or very very drunk. Both are not good feelings. However, this was rather….dare I say…..pleasant?
I balled up the pouch when done, put it inside another…..and felt ok after that.
I kind of ignored feeling a little sick on the last few parabolas because I didn’t wanna waste my weightless time. Only 30 seconds each, 16 times total (8 minutes of weightlessness).
If I ever do this again (or go to space), I’m going to take the anti-nausea medication they give.
By the end of the flight, I’d say at LEAST 50 percent of the people felt A LITTLE worn out or nauseous. Not necessarily throw-up nauseous, but if you think about what your body just endured for the first time, it makes sense:
You were weightless for the first time in your life with NO visible reason why. You endure 1.8 G’s for 30 seconds at a time, then go weightless and do flips & tricks for 30 seconds…..then you repeat that SIXTEEN TIMES!
By the end, it’s not TOO surprising your body is probably saying, “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!??!?!”
If you’re actually INTERESTED in this kind of thing, and you can easily afford it….then go for it.
If you’re either going to spend your hard-earned $5,200 on a car down-payment or $5,200 on this…..perhaps the car payment might be better.
However I wouldn’t recommend saving up for years for this. ONLY if it’s easily affordable AND you really wanna do it….would I recommend.
SOME OF MY VIDEO:
A little side note:
I checked to see which astronauts were currently in space at the time of my Zero G flight (August 18th, 2012). There were SIX humans in space….all aboard the International Space Station. I checked their names:
Not a single Indian person…..nevertheless a Zoroastrian……so that means on August 18th, 2012…..from 12pm to 2pm ….
I WAS THE ONLY WEIGHTLESS INDIAN PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE!!