NASA/JSC Reduced Gravity Office with Zero Gravity Corporation
The Boeing 727-200F is a three-engine, swept-wing aircraft specially modified for reduced gravity operations. The interior contains 38 seats for researchers in the rear of the aircraft and a research area approximately 20m (67ft) long in the forward section of the cabin.
The airplane provides about 10-17 seconds of near-zero gravity conditions during each parabolic maneuver (see specs on the right). It can provide variable gravity levels between zero and one, including 0.16 g for lunar conditions and 0.38 g for Mars conditions. An increased gravity level of up to 1.8 g can be provided for up to one minute.
Before starting a parabola, G-Force One flies level to the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then begins to pull up, gradually increasing the angle of the aircraft to about 45 deg to the horizon reaching an altitude of 34,000 feet. During this pull-up, passengers will feel the pull of 1.8 g. Next the plane is “pushed over” to create the zero gravity segment of the parabola. For the next 10-17 seconds everything in the plane is weightless. Next a gentle pull-out is started which allows the flyers to stabilize on the aircraft floor. This maneuver is repeated 30-40 times, each taking about ten miles of airspace to perform.
Approximately 20m (67ft) of cabin length is available for test purposes. A floor plan schematic and cross sectional view of the cabin is available in the Interface Control Documentation. Test equipment is usually loaded through the cargo door, which is 2.3m (90 inches) high and 3.4m (134 inches) wide.
NOTE: Zero Gravity Corporation serves as a dry lease contractor to the Reduced Gravity Office (RGO) at JSC
10 sec @ 0.00 g +/- 0.02 g
(with 17 sec @ 0.00 g +/- 0.05 g)
TYPICAL DURATION OF MICROGRAVITY PARABOLA
Lunar: 20 sec @ 0.16 g +/- 0.05 g
Martian: 20 sec @ 0.38 g +/- 0.05 g
TYPICAL DURATION OF PARTIAL GRAVITY PARABOLA
4 flight days
(1 flight (= 40 parabolas) /day)
TYPICAL DURATION OF FLIGHT CAMPAIGN
Ellington Field, Houston TX
Reduced Gravity Office
Houston, TX 77034