Friday, July 2, 2010

Free Fall for the Fourth of July

"Family Aims High for Ultimate 4th of July Vacation: Zero Gravity Flight" (July 2, 2010)

"It's about to be the Fourth of July and I am going on a family vacation to the nation's capitol. This time around, we will not be going to the usual tourist destinations. Instead, we are taking a giant leap into the world of space tourism: All five of us will be spending our Independence Day suspended in gravity as we embark on our first family Zero-G trip.

"Many children go through a phase in their lives when they want to become an astronaut to see what it feels like to fly in space. It wasn't long ago that I was one of those starry-eyed kids and little did I know that I would get the opportunity of a lifetime to feel weightlessness before I even turned 23.

"As a political journalist, I spend the majority of my time following stories with fascinating characters and complex storylines chock-full of melodrama and power struggles. However, I must say that this has to be one of the coolest assignments I will ever have in my career...."

I think this article's writer had fun - both covering the assignment, and writing about it. There's a sort of 'personal' touch that's not always there.

Or maybe it's my interest in space flight.

A few quibbles: It's not "zero gravity," technically. "Weightlessness" is closer, since while the Boeing 727 is in its 30-second parabolic curves everyone in the cabin is 'floating.'

Sounds like fun, although I wouldn't recommend the experience for anyone susceptible to motion sickness.

And, until we get regular passenger service to low Earth orbit, those half-minutes of free fall are about as close as most of us could get to experiencing space flight.

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