Microgravity flights open to the public!
4 December 2012
Parabolic flights on the Airbus A300 Zero-G are now open to all. A first in Europe!
3 flights a year
Now, you too can buy a ticket for a microgravity flight on the A300 Zero-G operated by CNES subsidiary Novespace! Previously reserved for science experiments in microgravity, parabolic flights on the aircraft are now open to the public at a ticket price of €5,980. Three Air Zero G flights are already scheduled for next year. They can be purchased from Avico, France’s leading air charter broker, and the first lucky passengers will embark on 15 March.
Weightlessness completely alters our notion of what’s heavy and what’s light,” explains Jean-François Clervoy, ESA astronaut and Novespace CEO. “It’s such a strange feeling that it’s not hard to see why it interests so many fields of science. Experiencing weightlessness on a parabolic flight really is like being an astronaut for a day!”
Flights will last approximately 2½ hours, with 15 parabolas totalling 5 minutes of weightlessness. Each flight will accommodate 40 passengers, looked after by instructors and a cabin crew. A300 Zero-G flights will operate out of Novespace’s facilities at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport.
For many, a dream come true
Passengers ready to go on Air Zero G flights must be aged 18 years or over and provide a medical certificate. A dozen seats on each flight will be allocated to and paid for by CNES to fulfil its space and science education and outreach mission. A seat will also be reserved for a student and another for cultural partners, notably museums, drawn from a hat or selected by a judging panel.
Revenues collected from these public flights will help to cover the costs of the Airbus A300 Zero-G, with a view to acquiring a new aircraft, thereby benefiting regular space research conducted during 6 science campaigns on average every year. For CNES President Yannick d’Escatha, “What is a dream for many of us is now attainable and I am delighted and very proud to be associated with this exciting project, a first in Europe. It is the result of the unstinting efforts of CNES, which began developing parabolic research flights in 1988, and of its subsidiary Novespace, in partnership with the French defence procurement agency DGA and the French civil aviation authority DGAC, to whom I would like to express my warm thanks.”