On May 8th, Space For A Better World with ZeroG Corp launched an incredible new experience called the ZERO-G Experience from the historic shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center on the eastern coast of Florida. In attendance were Apollo 16 astronaut, moonwalker, and Farragut alumnus Charlie Duke ‘53S, Farragut parent and fellow retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, and her son, Roman Stott ‘21.
Space For A Better World is an organization that inspires humans to make a positive impact on our planet through space-related ‘awe’ adventures and events, and as a communication platform extolling the virtues that space technology holds as a key to solving our Earthly problems. The proceeds from their experiences go to support charities such as Water Charity, which provides clean water to third world countries, and Forests Without Frontiers, which works to protect forests and plant trees.
Duke and Stott are both astronaut supporters and participants with Space For A Better World. As a gift for her son Roman, who recently graduated with the class of 2021, Stott and her husband Chris gave him the opportunity to join the inaugural ZERO-G flight with Duke.
The ZERO-G experience takes place in a specially modified Boeing 727 G-Force One aircraft that achieves weightlessness when the trained pilots fly aerobatic maneuvers called parabolas. The process starts with the aircraft flying level with the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then gradually increase the angle of the aircraft to about 45° relative to the horizon until reaching an altitude of 32,000 feet. During this phase, passengers feel the pull of 1.8 Gs. Next, the plane pushes over the top of the parabolic arc and the zero-gravity phase begins. For the next 20-30 seconds, everything in the plane is weightless. Finally, the plane gently pulls out of the maneuver, allowing flyers to gradually return to the floor of the aircraft.
After the experience, Stott, Duke, and Roman toured the Orion, a new spacecraft that is planned to take humanity even farther into space than they’ve ever been before.
“What an amazing opportunity to experience zero gravity flight with a fellow alumnus, who was the 10th man who walked on the moon,” said Roman. “It doesn’t get much better than this, except it did because my Mom and Dad were with us too!”