Vomit Comet!

San Jose Travel Blog

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My team with G Force One.
  Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be on the first manned mission to Mars.  I've always had an incredible fascination with astronomy and space exploration, so when I heard about the Weightless Flight of Discovery program that takes math and science teachers on weightless flights (sponsored by Northrup Grumman:  thanks!) I became determined to become accepted.  In my childlike imagination I imagined rigorous tests and top notch competition.  Even though I was terribly excited, I kept top secret security at work about my application, I didn't want to add to my competition.  I waited for months for the news.  In fact, I was in a internet cafe in Copan Ruinas, Honduras when I got the email I was accepted to the program.
Inside G Force One.
  I literally leaped out of my chair and started clapping.  I was a little disappointed that the competition wasn't tough at all.  Everyone that applied was accepted and there were still seats available for our flight!!  So I started telling every math and science teacher I ran into about the possibility and was startled to find that not everyone was thrilled by the idea of being weightless.  One guy took me up on the suggestion, he was as excited as I was, and he ended up being on my flight.
  The flight works like this:  a 737 passenger jet has most of it's seats stripped out of it.  The hollow interior cabin has it's windows blocked out and floor lined in padding.  The plane flies out to an airspace that has at least 100 square miles.
Trying to look as cool as we possibly can in flight suits.
  In that space the plane will do a series of nosedives and steep climbs.  As the plane is going over the top of these dives, the plane and everything inside the plane is falling at the same rate, which simulates a weightless environment.  We would have about 25-30 seconds of weightlessness on each dive and a total of 12 dives.
  We had a couple training sessions where we practiced basics.  We would have to lie on the floor during the steep climbs.  Due to acceleration against the force of gravity we'd feel about 1.8 Gs.  It would be difficult to lift our heads and legs.  If we were kneeling, or standing, we'd probably be knocked down.  Once the plane noses over and we start to fall, gravity would slowly lessen until we were weightless.
Before takeoff
  We'd try to make small movements as even light pushes can send you sailing across the cabin.  We also had to make sure to get our feet under us when we hear the call "feet down!" indicating we were coming out of the free fall and gravity would be returning in a gradual climb. 
  Being math and science teachers (and hence, total geeks  :) all thirty of us were elated to be on the flight.  For many of us, it was something we had dreamed about since we were little kids.  As we boarded the plane we had media around taking pictures and filming... the photos that I have come from a reporter from my local newspaper and her camera guy (who I thought did an awesome job- I felt really lucky that someone was there who's job was to take pictures of me!!).
  It was all too easy to pretend we were astronauts. 
  We had to strap in as the plane climbed to altitude.  Then we moved to the mat area and prepared our experiments.  We would start with two arcs in 1/3 G... about what an astronaut would encounter on the surface of Mars.  Then we'd have one arc at 1/6 G, comparable to the surface of the moon.  As we lay down on our mats and felt the G forces pull at us the giddy anticipation was palpable in the air.  When we felt the invisible tug of gravity lesson we rolled over and tried some push ups.  In 1/3 G your upper body launches off the mat and comes slowly back down.  In 1/6 G it's difficult not to launch yourself into the ceiling.  Finally we arced over into zero G...  total chaos as thirty flailing, giggling, whooping, careening teachers experience first hand that an object in motion tends to stay in motion until it smacks into something else.   
  All in all an amazing experience.  If you're a math or science teacher and want to go for free google Weightless Flight of Discovery.  If you're a rich bastard and want to pay $5,000 for the flight, google Zero G.
guybooth says:
what a cool experience!
Posted on: Apr 27, 2011
mightor20 says:
amazing! :)
Posted on: Aug 05, 2010
babyaly1 says:
SOOOO Much fun !!! Ah I want to become a science teacher just for this !! Do they take soon to be attorneys ????? That would be awessome :)
Posted on: Jun 14, 2010
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My team with G Force One.
My team with G Force One.
Inside G Force One.
Inside G Force One.
Trying to look as cool as we possi…
Trying to look as cool as we poss…
Before takeoff
Before takeoff
And climbing....
And climbing....
Push ups in 1/3 G is easy!
Push ups in 1/3 G is easy!
Human tricks!
Human tricks!
Trying to record our experiment wi…
Trying to record our experiment w…
Check out how excited I am.
Check out how excited I am.
Superman Fly!
Superman Fly!
Reporter attempting to report abov…
Reporter attempting to report abo…
Writing with one of my students s…
Writing with one of my student's …
It works!
It works!
Experiments with water and the wei…
Experiments with water and the we…
Im guessing that would really hur…
I'm guessing that would really hu…
Explaining how much of a space gee…
Explaining how much of a space ge…
Five minutes of fame.
Five minutes of fame.
Classic cheesy astronaut shot.
Classic cheesy astronaut shot.
Ive never been more excited to do…
I've never been more excited to d…
The tough part is not launching yo…
The tough part is not launching y…
...launching myself into the ceili…
...launching myself into the ceil…
My flight coach was supposed to ca…
My flight coach was supposed to c…
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photo by: Deannimal