Thursday, October 11, 2007

HOW AWESOME! Ready for take off on the weightless flight over Long Beach, CA on Monday, Oct. 8th. We flew with Bill Smith, channel 5 reporter in our "Go for the Gold" section of the plane. First, we watched a video to get us prepared for the flight including do's and do not's. Then we finalized all of our experiments and turned in our cameras to our flight coach.

After getting our anti-"motion-sensitivity" medication, we were screened for security and boarded a bus to the Zero-G plane. After a few more photo ops, we ascending through the rear of the plane for our flight.

Regular instructions were given - safety instructions, seat belts, etc.- then we were off. Only real difference? No overhead compartments, no carry on luggage, and we had to give up our shoes. Then, we were up to our section of the plane where we collected our cameras and got positioned for our MARTIAN then our two LUNAR parabolas before the first of 12 weightless parabolas.

To be able to experience the same sensation as the astronauts and to be able to share it with my students to inspire them to reach for the stars was a true blessing. When the first weightless parabolas approached, most of the rules were sort of forgotten. You learned how to deflect people (with a gentle push with the fingertips) and when they say "feet down" they really mean it (landing on your head is not such a fun experience).

At least once or twice you would end up stuck in the middle of the plane and you would not be able to move until someone grabbed you. For an earthbound person who has been around aerospace engineers for over 20 years, it was incredible to be able to see and experience the environment where they work on a daily basis.

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