Blue Abyss and 0-G Launch sign collaborative agreement
Taking further steps towards delivering the world’s most comprehensive, extreme environment research, test and training services, Blue Abyss, and 0-G Launch have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of launching parabolic flights from the UK.
During the collaborative missions, Blue Abyss and 0-G Launch will use a specially modified Boeing 757 airframe to create micro, hypo and hyper-gravity environments, similar to what will be experienced by astronauts travelling to and visiting the Moon or Mars (16% and 38% of earth’s gravity respectively).
The missions will be used to deliver spaceflight training, scientific and technology research flights, reduced gravity experiences, and discovery flights for the general public.
Missions will typically include 15 parabolas and be able to carry scientific payloads, or up to 50 passengers in two classes: up to 10 in the ‘VIP Zone’ and a further 40 in the ‘Fun Zone’.
The first flights are planned to begin in late 2023, around one year before the Blue Abyss UK extreme environment facility is planned to open.
Vladimir Pletser, Blue Abyss Space Operations Training Director, said:
Aircraft parabolic flights are an incredible useful tool to train astronauts and to allow future spaceflight participants and the general public to accustom themselves with space environments. I am very pleased that Blue Abyss and 0-G Launch joined their expertise to provide this unique service from Newquay airport, the new gateway to space, the Moon and Mars.
Simon Evetts, Blue Abyss Research and Development Director, said:
The interest to experience weightlessness and the need for spaceflight preparation is only going to grow and grow in the years ahead. A few years ago, the UK woke up to the economic and inspirational value of Space so I’m quite sure having a parabolic flight capability from within our own shores will be hugely beneficial.
John Vickers, Blue Abyss Chief Executive Officer, said:
This is yet another key building block in our plans for establishing human and robotic mass participation in travelling to, and working in, Space. The opportunity to bring the most up to date parabolic flight services to the UK is tremendously exciting and we look forward to sharing this opportunity with a growing audience of interested parties.
Robert Feierbach, 0-G Launch Chief Executive Officer and Founder, said:
Blue Abyss is setting-up a state-of-the-art facility to become the world’s premier deep-sea and space extreme environment research, training and test centre. By adding our specially-modified Space Jet ™ commercial aircraft as part of these unique training programs, we will be offering high-precision parabolic flights for zero gravity, Lunar gravity and Martian gravity to the mix. We are extremely pleased to have 0-G Launch collaborate with Blue Abyss on jointly offering this high-quality training pathway to preparing humanity for increased exploration of space, thereby also creating many new services and technologies in benefit of Earth.
Principles of Parabolic Flight:
- Parabolic flights are a way of recreating weightlessness by following a parabolic flight path relative to the centre of the Earth. While following this path, the aircraft and its passengers will be in free fall at certain points, causing them to experience weightlessness for short periods of 20 to 30 seconds.
- Initially, the aircraft climbs with a pitch angle of 45 to 50 degrees using engine thrust and elevator controls, piloted by the aircraft’s avionics system. The weightlessness is achieved by reducing thrust and lowering the nose to maintain a neutral, or ‘zero lift’, configuration such that the aircraft follows a ballistic trajectory, with engine thrust exactly compensating for drag.
- Weightlessness begins while ascending and lasts until the craft reaches a downward pitch angle of around 45 degrees. At this point, the craft is pointing downward at high speed and must begin to pull back into the nose-up attitude to repeat the manoeuvre.
- The forces are then roughly twice that of gravity on the way down, at the bottom, and up again. This lasts all the way until the aircraft is again halfway up its upward trajectory, and the pilot again reduces the thrust and lowers the nose.
- This aircraft is used to train astronauts in zero-g manoeuvres, giving them periods of weightlessness in each parabola. It is also used by scientists and engineers to conduct microgravity research experiments and by the general public for discovery flights.
Image Credit: NASA Public Domain
About Blue Abyss:
Blue Abyss will enable the research and development of marine, subsea, space, aerospace, offshore and energy technologies, and techniques. It will facilitate training, testing and evaluation to prepare humanity and technology for operations in extreme environments through life science research, diver and astronaut training and technological readiness advancement. Creating valuable educational resources and outreach, raising aspiration and awareness among young people around the world and promoting the critical importance of sustainable green, blue and space economies.
The Blue Abyss team and its advisors includes a number of preeminent experts in the field of human spaceflight and astronaut training including:
Expert in microgravity research at the European Space Agency for 30 years, Prof. Pletser has logged 7,360 parabolas at zero-g, Mars and Moon gravities on 14 aircraft, during 90 flight campaigns (a Guinness world record). He has served as Astronaut Training Instructor for parabolic flights and Spacelab missions, and he followed astronaut training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for a Spacelab mission.
Prof. Evetts ran the multi-disciplinary Medical Projects & Technology Unit at the European Astronaut Centre, Cologne. His responsibilities spanned medical projects, astronaut fitness and the support of in-mission astronaut health & fitness.
An expert in the field of space physiology, Dr. Parazynski’s career spans 17 years at NASA with 3 space missions, during which time he completed more than 47 hours on spacewalks.
Dr. Howard has expertise in Commercial Space Training, Human Factors Engineering, psychology and human behaviour, and Health, Safety and Environment.
The first and only Romanian cosmonaut, Dumitru-Dorin was selected for spaceflight training in 1978 undertaking an eight-day space mission on board Soyuz 40 to the Salyut 6 Space Laboratory in 1981, and leading the Romanian Space Agency as President between 1998 and 2004.
Dr. Packham has served as the Associate Director for Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre since 2007, ensuring safe and successful human space flight to the International Space Station (ISS).
A former Apache pilot, flight instructor, test pilot and current European Space Agency astronaut, Tim was the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station, where he conducted a spacewalk during his six-month mission.
About 0-G Launch:
0-G Launch is a Washington DC-based company that offers the Space Jet™ airborne platforms using specially-modified commercial aircraft to provide high-precision microgravity and cost-effective rocket air-launch capabilities to the fast-growing Space industry. Among its services, it will provide microgravity parabolic flights for equipment R&D and testing, astronaut training and consumer zero gravity flight experiences globally, as well as testing & horizontal air-launch services for orbital rockets and hypersonic vehicle developers.
You can learn more about aircraft parabolic flights here.
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