Airbus A300 for parabolic flights
Research in 0g
Zero-G flying is just like throwing a football through the air, explains test pilot Captain Gilles Le Barzic as he briefs an audience about to leave gravity behind: "Except instead of a ball we have an aircraft."
Le Barzic is one of three expert pilots on ESA’s A-300 ’Zero-G’ Airbus, billed by its operator Novespace as ’the plane that removes gravity’. The aircraft has been specially strengthened to fly parabolic arcs enabling researchers to carry out experiments in weightlessness without going into space.
Last week saw the start of ESA’s 35th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Twelve teams from seven European countries and Canada and Russia gathered at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport, in France, to prepare and fit their experiments inside the modified white-padded Airbus fuselage. On 14 October 2003, the A-300 lifts off for the first of three consecutive flight days.
Dieter Isakeit | ESA
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