Zero Gravity Hopes to Cash in on Patented Technology

Simulating zero gravity

By Joseph Herndon.


The venture involving Zero Gravity Corporation and Amerijet International is the first to win approval from the FAA for zero-gravity airplane flights in the United States.  For $2,950, regular folks can get a tamed-down taste of what astronauts feel.  Zero Gravity’s price tag for the daylong tour includes preflight training and a postflight party.


Passengers aboard a modified Boeing 727-200 jet will experience weightlessness for about 25 seconds at a time, courtesy of the plane’s special parabolic flight path.  A typical parabolic flight lasts about 90 minutes, with 15 up-and-down parabolas at an altitude of 24,000 to 34,000 feet. Two “Martian” arcs simulate one-third Earth gravity, three “lunar” arcs feel like one-sixth Earth gravity, and the final 10 provide the full zero-gravity experience.


Zero Gravity aims to keep capital expenses down by using Amerijet’s cargo planes only when needed — a scheme that Peter Diamandis (co-founder and CEO of Zero Gravity) and his partners patented five years ago (U.S. Patent No. 5,971,319).  The arrangement calls for a cargo jet to be converted to zero-gravity service in a matter of hours, then converted back after the flight.


Zero Gravity’s launch caps an 11-year effort for Diamandis, who is also chairman of the foundation behind the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight.


More complete story found at on MSN.


Note: Joe Herndon is a law clerk and at the intellectual property firm McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff and is a registered patent agent.  Joe is looking out for his chance for a ride in the “vomit comet.”