letterMy first zero gravity flight experience.

from Ray Kurzweil
January 1, 2022

— contents —

~ letter
~ about
~ featurette
~ webpages
~ reading + watching

letter title: My first zero gravity flight experience.
author: by Ray Kurzweil
date: 2007

letter |

An introduction.

I got the chance to experience zero gravity at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. I participated in my first Zero G flight aboard an aircraft in parabolic flight. The plane flies up, and then down — is a repeating arc-like pattern. When it’s on the down slope it’s matching free-fall, so you’re basically falling with the plane. The effect is like floating weightless in space.

It was a transcendent + surreal experience. Your body doesn’t know what weightlessness is. We spend our whole lives under gravity. So floating, like astronauts do in space, is just an idea. But when you actually experience it, it’s phenomenal. It’s strange and exhilarating at the same time.

A transcendent experience.

We really did get to transcend gravity. I’ve lived with the physics of gravity since birth. So it feels liberating when gravity disappears and you just float away in the air. Transcendence is what human life is all about, and gravity is just one more barrier anybody can now overcome — at least temporarily.

I think the most important restriction that we’ll ultimately transcend is the limitation of our own minds. Expanding our brains by merging with our intelligent tech will enable us to transcend every other kind of barrier. That’s the essence of the singularity.

Going beyond our limitations is what being human is all about. We’ve been bound by gravity for every moment of our lives, so transcending the bounds of gravity —  even for a few minutes — is a liberating experience. This is one example of the myriad ways in which tech will enable us to transcend all kinds of limitations in the years ahead.

What it’s like.

The plane flew a parabolic arc that created the same gravity found on the planet Mars — that’s 1/3 G — and G is the gravity of Earth. I easily did some one-armed push-ups. Then the plane did 2 arcs that created the same gravity found on the moon — that’s 1/6 G. At that level of weightlessness I took big leaps and small jumps. Then the plane did 12 zero-G cycles, which was like floating in space.

The flight path is 100 miles long and ten miles wide. During the whole time of the flight, you never truly get used to the feeling of the reduced gravity. Your body logic doesn’t quite catch-up to what’s happening. But it’s not frightening. Because the arcs are consistent + repetitive, you can get into the sensation — and adjust without getting scared. But it never loses that thrill.

I definitely recommend it.

I hope you’ll one day get take a Zero G ride. The company does a good job making the flights accessible. It’s expensive but not un-affordable. I’d definitely recommend saving-up for it, integrating the flight as part of a vacation. They have zero gravity flights available at many locations across the country. It’s absolutely worth it. You take-away an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience — one that will forever shift your perspective.

— featurette —

about | zero gravity flight

Access to a space-like environment.

Zero G is the only commercial opportunity on Earth for individuals to experience true weightlessness, without going to space. Guests on-board can fly like Superman, and flip like an Olympic gymnast. Zero G’s Weightless Lab research program offers unprecedented + affordable access to space environments — so clients can conduct:

  • bio-medical  + pharmaceutical research
  • fluid and fundamental physics
  • materials science
  • aerospace engineering
  • space exploration hardware
  • human space habitation

The value of Zero G.

Past clients like: Ball Aerospace + Technologies, the California Institute of Technology, Harvard Univ., the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by NASA, Mayo Clinic, Purdue Univ., and Tethers Unlimited — said that parabolic flight is a critical first step to achieve their space research objectives. And for raising test-readiness levels to better ensure experiments will succeed.

Zero G is the first and only FAA-approved provider of commercial weightless flights. The experience is the identical weightless flight maneuver used by NASA to train its astronauts. Each mission is designed for maximum fun. The aircraft’s interior is a zero gravity playroom: complete with padded floors and walls, and video cameras to record the unforgettable moments. Flyers enjoy a flight of 15 parabolas, flight suit, complimentary merchandise, awards, a post-event party, photos, and a DVD of the flight.

Weightless flight is an experience that few have tried, but those who have call it amazing and life changing. It consists of a brief training session for passengers, followed by a 90-minute flight aboard our airplane named G-Force One — during which parabolic maneuvers are performed.

The controlled ascent + descent of the plane allows flyers to experience:

  • Mars gravity — 1/3 our gravity on Earth
  • moon gravity — 1/6 our gravity on Earth
  • zero gravity

We operate under the highest safety standards as set by the FAA with our partner Amerijet International. Our aircraft operations take place under the same regulations set for large commercial passenger airliners.

The Zero G experience is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience true weightlessness without going to space. Flying on our specially modified Boeing 727 airplane, you’ll experience a weightless environment that allows you to float, flip, and soar like an astronaut.

source: Zero G

image | above

Inside Zero G’s airplane, the walls and floors are padded — to prevent damage or injury to passengers who jump, tumble, float, and bounce in the weightless flight experience.

credit: Zero G


1. |

company: Zero G
web: home
banner: Like nothing on Earth.
banner: You can defy gravity.

2. |

govt. office: the Kennedy Space Center
web: homechannel
banner: Explore space.

presented by

govt. office: NASA
web: home ~ channel
banner: Pioneering the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research.

reading + watching

1. |

publication: the Physics Girl blog
featurette title: The physics of weightless flight.
deck: How planes simulate weightlessness.
hostess: Dianna Cowern

watch | featurette

presented by

indie creator: Physics Girl
web: home ~ channel
banner: Adventures into the physical sciences with experiments, demonstrations, and cool new discoveries.
banner: Videos for every atom + eve.

2. |

company: Air Zero G
webpage title: How parabolic flights work.

read | webpage

presented by

company: Air Zero G
web: home ~ channel
banner: Weightless with Novespace.

govt. office: Novespace
web: home ~ channel
banner: Gravity-free flights since 1986.

govt. office: the French National Center for Space Studies
web: home ~ channel
banner: We’re developing + implementing the French space policy.

— notes —

G = the gravity of Earth
Zero G = zero gravity
DVD = digital video disc

JPL = the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
FAA = the Federal Aviation Admin. ~ US
NASA = the National Aeronautics + Space Admin. ~ US
CNES = the French National Center for Space Studies ~ France

US = United States