By Lorenzo Castro E.
Miami, Jan 24 (EFE).- A United States company is offering frustrated astronauts and aspiring space tourists who do not have the wealth of billionaires Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson at their disposal an opportunity to experience zero gravity on board a modified Boeing 727.
A total of 28 people aboard Zero-G’s fully booked inaugural flight will feel temporarily freed from the Earth’s gravitational pull for 30-second intervals after take off from Miami’s Opa Locka executive airport on January 29.
The aircraft will reach altitudes of more than 9,150 meters.
“We fly a commercial altitude similar to any Delta, United or American Airlines (flight), you actually board going through TSA security, similar to how you would on a regular aircraft, but the biggest difference is that on a regular aircraft you don’t experience the zero gravity and with Zero-G you do,” Noelle Pearson, the company’s commercial director, told Efe.
Passengers on board the G-Force One aircraft will be seated at the back of the cabin for take-off before being able to move to the empty front portion to float around for up to 15 parabolas, a series of dives and climbs that produce the zero gravity effect inside the plane.
A five-hour flight on the specialized plane, on which passengers can experience zero-gravity, lunar gravity and martian gravity, comes in at a cost of $8,200.
“Zero-G definitely fits into the space tourism room as far as we are trying to make space accessible for all,” Pearson added.
The ticket price is stratospheres lower than those offered by companies such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
Specialist media outlets have quoted the price of a ticket on board Virgin Galactic’s Unity vessel, which takes passengers to an altitude of 80 kilometers, the edge of space, at $450,000 per trip.
In July last year, an anonymous customer spent $28 million to fund a trip on the inaugural flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard, which reached a height of 100 kilometers, regarded by some scientists as the border between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
The buyer later had to reschedule, which paved the way for 18-year-old Oliver Daemen to become the youngest person to travel to space.
Billionaire Jared Isaacman, commander of the Inspiration4 mission last year, covered all the costs of what was the first all-civilian space flight to date at a price rumored to run into the tens of millions of dollars.
Space lovers with slightly tighter budgets can from 2024 take a trip on board the World View’s Stratospheric Capsule, which for a cost of $50,000 a ticket plans to bring passengers to an altitude of 30,000 meters, according to the company.
With more companies looking to cash in on the space tourism race, the days where only astronauts got to experience the zero gravity of our cosmos look to be numbered.
Zero-G said that demand for space tourism packages sky-rocketed in the wake of Branson and Bezos’ respective flights last year.
The billionaire space race does have some precedence, however. Back in 2001, American businessman Dennis Tito paid $20 million to orbit the Earth on the International Space Station, to which he traveled on board a Russian Soyuz craft.
He was followed by Mark Shuttleworth in 2002, Gregory Olsen in 2005 and Anousheh Ansari in 2005. EFE