While the wealthy are spending millions to be weightless in space, one aviation firm is selling the experience on Earth for a fraction of the cost


Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty

  • Zero Gravity Corporation offers flights onboard a plane that's sole mission is to achieve zero gravity.
  • Flights start at $7,500 and flyers experience weightlessness 15 different times.
  • The aircraft is going on tour around the US through December.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.
Humans don't need to go to space to experience zero gravity. Richard Branson and his crewmates flying in zero gravity in Virgin Galactic's spacecraft Richard Branson floats in zero gravity in Virgin Galactic's spacecraft

Virgin Galactic

The Zero Gravity Corporation, or simply "Zero-G," is the company behind "G-Force One," a special Boeing 727 aircraft that offers a zero gravity experience through parabolic flight. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

For $7,500, flyers get 15 opportunities to experience weightlessness without leaving the Earth's atmosphere. Participants won't be deemed astronauts, but they'll be getting the same weightless experience that Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and some of their passengers spent millions of dollars to get. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty

Read More: Winning bid for a seat on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin spacecraft goes for $28 million

And with the newly-minted billionaire astronauts getting to experience only a few minutes in space, flying might offer a better value for money and longer time spent weightless. jeff bezos and wally funk shaking hands onstage in flightsuits From left, Oliver Daemen, Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, and Wally Funk at a ceremony after their spaceflight on July 20, 2021.

Even Wally Funk was underwhelmed by how much time was spent in space. "I just wish it had been longer," Funk said. jeff bezos and three other passengers in jumpsuits float around spaceship cabin earth in background A screengrab from video recorded inside the New Shepard capsule shows (left to right) Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk in microgravity.

Blue Origin

Read More: Jeff Bezos' guest describes a short, crowded spaceflight experience: 'There was not quite enough room'

Here's what it's like to experience zero gravity without going to space. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

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Ground-Force One might not look like a typical spaceship but if 2021 has taught us anything, you don't need a space shuttle or the Saturn V to be weightless. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

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This Boeing 727 is a former cargo plane that's been converted for Zero-G's unique mission. In addition to the zero gravity experience flights, the aircraft can also be used for astronaut training and scientific research. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Future SpaceX astronauts recently trained on the aircraft in preparation for a private trip into space. SpaceX Falcon Rocket Florida A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

John Raoux/AP Photo

Source: Space.com

Flyers also get to experience some aviation history by flying on the Boeing 727, an airliner that's been largely retired by the world's air carriers. This particular aircraft began flying in 1976. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

But for the majority of flyers, it's all about the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being weightless while firmly within Earth's atmosphere. It doesn't require advanced training and flyers as young as eight can do it. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

The window-less interior does look very much like the interior of a science fiction movie spaceship with padded white walls surrounding the cabin. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Most of the passenger seats have been removed for maximum room to float around while weightless. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

The Boeing 727 then departs normally and heads to a designated area away from other aircraft. Pilots bring the plane to an altitude of 19,000 feet and flyers assume the required positions for zero gravity flight. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

From their seats, flyers lay flat on the floor as their internal equilibriums adjust to the new attitudes. Pilots then pull back on the yoke and send the plane to around 35,000 feet at a rate of 26,000 feet per second. Normal airliners climb at a fraction of that rate. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

It's their equivalent of blasting off in a rocketship as 1.8 Gs weigh down on the aircraft. Passengers feel the pressure of almost double their body weight. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

But once the pilots push the plane over, all weight is alleviated and passengers float into the air. richard branson vomit comet zero G The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Steve Boxall and Zero Gravity Corporation via Virgin

Parabolas last around two minutes and passengers only experience the weightless sensation for 30 seconds. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty

The 30 seconds, staff say, is more than enough time to have some fun. Passengers can float around the cabin and props like candy and water bottles are even brought onboard. richard branson vomit comet zero G The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Steve Boxall and Zero Gravity Corporation via Virgin

Plus, with 15 total parabolas, it's more time spent weightless than Jeff Bezos was able to achieve. Jeff Bezos space flight on Blue Origin rocket. Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket takes off on July 20, 2021 with Jeff Bezos on board.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

Varying levels of gravity are simulated include lunar gravity and martian gravity, including the full zero gravity experience. richard branson vomit comet zero G The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Steve Boxall and Zero Gravity Corporation via Virgin

And for those like Funk that prefer more room to spread out, private charters can be arranged. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

What flyers won't get, however, is the pristine view of Earth that Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin passengers experienced. G-Force One has only a handful of windows, owing to its life as a former cargo freighter, and so views of the outside are quite limited. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Common maneuvers include spins, push-ups, flips, hand-stands, and break dancing, the crew told Insider. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty

Ground-Force One's nickname is the "vomit comet" but the company says that very few flyers actually get sick on the flight, and that motion sickness can be mitigated with a proper pre-flight diet of carbohydrates. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

It might seem counterintuitive but at one experience, a spread of bagels and croissants were offered just before participants took flight. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 A complimentary breakfast before the Zero G flight.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Pilots up front know when weightlessness is achieved when a rubber duck in the cockpit starts floating. Strong seatbelts keep the flight crew from floating to the top of the cockpit. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Masks are required onboard the aircraft, as they are all aircraft, and COVID-19 rapid tests are now administered before each flight. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G flight suits worn by staff.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Flyers are also required to wear one-piece jumpsuits that are cleaned and shrink-wrapped. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

And the whole time, a photographer is snapping Instagram-ready photos. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 Zero G participants receiving a briefing.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

After returning to Earth, the last ritual of the flight for passengers is having their name tags turned the right way up. The crew intentionally distributes them upside down before the flight. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Ground Force One will be touring the US through December with coast-to-coast stops from New York to California. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

It's not quite the same experience as earning astronaut wings but it'll cost a fraction of the price. Zero G Experience Boeing 727 The Zero G Boeing 727 aircraft.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: [email protected] (Thomas Pallini)]


Tags: Travel, Transportation, New York, News, Air Travel, Planes, US, Trends, Earth, Features, Flying, International Space Station, Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, Aviation, Jeff Bezos, G Force, Boeing, Blue Origin, Funk, SpaceX Falcon, New Shepard, Zero Gravity, Jeff Bezos Blue Origin, Zero Gravity Corporation, Jeff Bezos Richard Branson, Tony Gutierrez, Boeing 727, Wally Funk, John Raoux, Thomas Pallini, BITranspo, Business Visual Features, Oliver Daemen Jeff Bezos Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen Mark Bezos Jeff Bezos, AFP Getty Zero Gravity Corporation, Space com Flyers, Steve Boxall, Virgin Parabolas, Thomas Pallini Business Insider Pilots, California The Zero

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