NASA Flight Opportunities Program Selects 15 Space Technologies for Tests

New Shepard booster over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 15 promising space technologies to be tested on commercial low-gravity simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons and suborbital rockets. These flights will help advance technologies for future spaceflight, taking them from the laboratory to a relevant flight environment.

During an Aug. 28 visit to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, where the Flight Opportunities program is managed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency will focus on funding more of these payload flights in the future.

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Final Frontier Design Completes Testing & Validation of IVA Suit

IVA spacesuit in a “float” test. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, December 20, 2017 (FFD PR) – Final Frontier Design (FFD) completed 4 microgravity research flights on Zero Gravity Corporation’s (ZERO-G) Boeing 727, in November 2017, to evaluate and qualify their Intra Vehicular Activity (IVA) space suit for the dynamic environment of space flight.

The testing marks the culmination of a NASA Flight Opportunities Program cooperative agreement with FFD, and was supported by Integrated Spaceflight Services (ISS) of Boulder, Colorado. A team of 15 people from FFD and ISS assisted to safely execute the mission.

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Future Looks (Mostly) Bright for Space Industry in DC


The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference is being held in Colorado through today. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks are there tweeting away:

  • Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
  • Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
  • Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News
  • Laura Seward Forczyk @LauraForczyk

Below are updates based upon their tweets on what is happening in Washington, DC, from talks by officials from the FAA, NASA, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
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NASA Selects New Technologies to Flight Test on Parabolic Aircraft, Balloons & Suborbital Rockets


EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected nine space technologies to test on low-gravity-simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital rockets. The opportunity to fly on these vehicles helps advance technologies closer to practical use by taking them from a laboratory environment to a real-world environment. The selections were made by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which conducts a competition approximately twice per year for funding to fly payloads using flight providers selected by the proposers. These space technologies are being tested using relatively low-cost flights that simulate spaceflight or just reach the “edge” of space.

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JPL Researchers Validate Technology Performance on Zero-G Parabolic Flights

Research team members evaluate the performance of the Biosleeve Gesture Control Interface for Telerobotics on a March 2017 parabolic flight. (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — A series of parabolic flights from Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) in March 2017 enabled researchers to test and validate the performance of two technologies from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL):

  • Comet Sample Verification System (T0164-P): A tool that enables researchers to verify the quantity and volume of a sample from a comet surface before bringing it back to Earth for analysis
  • Biosleeve Gesture Control Interface for Telerobotics (T0161-P): A sleeve-based gesture-recognition interface that provides intuitive force and position control signals from natural arm, hand, and finger movements, with the potential to be embedded in clothing worn by astronauts working on the International Space Station (ISS) and other missions

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University Research Teams Validate Payload Performance on ZERO-G Parabolic Flights

University of Florida students work on revolutionary approach for efficient microgravity transfer line chilldown experiment. (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Several payload proposals selected from NASA’s Research Announcement: Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion (REDDI) 2016 solicitation flew as part of a Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) parabolic flight campaign during two weeks in March 2017.

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William Shatner to Float on Zero-G Flight


LAS VEGAS (Zero-G PR) – Star Trek® fans rejoice! Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®) has partnered with Roddenberry Adventures to offer an extraordinary ZERO-G Experience® with William Shatner, beloved star of the iconic television series. For the first time, fans will have the chance to fly in zero gravity with the man who played Captain Kirk. A limited number of tickets for this exclusive flight on August 4 are now on sale to the general public.

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Zero G’s 727 Makes Emergency Landing in Florida

Zero G's G-Force One
Zero G’s G-Force One

Zero-G Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE 727 made an emergency landing on Thursday at Vero Beach Regional Aircraft in Florida after the pilots reported engine trouble.

The crew reported a possible engine fire. There were three people on board the aircraft when it landed safely.

Zero G, which is owned by Virgina-based Space Adventures, uses the aircraft to fly weightless parabolic arcs.

The aircraft recently returned to service after a nearly 18-month stand down. The aircraft’s original engines were repossessed by the company that leased them. The 727 also had to go through FAA certification due to changes made in the aircraft.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program Looks to Busy 2014

An exterior camera on the forward portion of UP Aerospace' SL-8 sounding rocket captures this spectacular view of the Earth's horizon during its flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico for NASA's Flight Opportunities Program last November. (Credit: UP Aerospace)
An exterior camera on the forward portion of UP Aerospace’ SL-8 sounding rocket captures this spectacular view of the Earth’s horizon during its flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program last November. (Credit: UP Aerospace)
EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate accomplished its busiest year in 2013 since its inception in late 2010, and 2014 promises to be even busier.

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Virgin Galactic Customers Enjoy Early Taste of Microgravity

Joanne Le Bon in microgravity. (Credit: Steve Boxall)
Joanne Le Bon in microgravity. (Credit: Steve Boxall)

As part of its gathering of future spaceflight participants in Mojave on Sept. 25, Virgin Galactic also scheduled a series of space-related events and activities throughout the week for those coming in from the four corners of the globe. These included an after party at the Endeavour exhibit in Los Angeles, centrifuge training at NASTAR in Pennsylvania, tours of the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and microgravity parabolic rides aboard Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE (above).

A press release from ZERO-G follows after the break.

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Spaceport Sweden Selling Parabolic Microgravity Flights

The 'Zero-G" Airbus A300
The ‘Zero-G” Airbus A300

KIRUNA, SWEDEN (Spaceport Sweden PR) — Have you ever dreamt of flying, defying the laws of gravity and float free in the air like an astronaut? Since space exploration began, only a few hundred have had the privilege to experience the ultimate space experience and the magical feeling to float in total weightlessness.

That is about to change. For the fist time ever, weightless flights will be offered to the general public in Europe. Spaceport Sweden has been selected as a key partner and reseller for the air Zero G flights in the Netherlands and Nordic countries (excluding Iceland).

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NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program Selects 24 Payloads

Made in Space tests a 3D printer in microgravity. (Credit: Made in Space)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected 24 cutting-edge space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons and a commercial parabolic aircraft.

Sixteen of the payloads will ride on parabolic aircraft flights, which provide brief periods of weightlessness. Five will fly on suborbital reusable launch vehicle test flights. Two will ride on high-altitude balloons that fly above 65,000 feet. One payload will fly on the suborbital launch vehicle and high-altitude balloon platforms. The flights will take place in 2012 and 2013.
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Design a Patch, Win a Free Zero-G Flight

Participants experience microgravity aboard a Zero-G Corporation parabolic flight. (PRNewsFoto/Zero Gravity Corporation, Al Powers)

ZERO G PR — ZERO-G is celebrating its 300th flight on April 14 by returning to the airport where it took its inaugural flight – Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL).

To celebrate this exciting flight we are asking fans to design a unique patch commemorating this milestone.

The winner’s design will be transformed into a patch which will be worn by the 300th flight participants. To top it off, the winner will also get to fly for free on the 300th flight!

Entries must be submitted by March 26. A winner will be announced April 2.

To enter or for more information – Click Here

NASA Selects Technology Payloads For Reduced-Gravity Flights

SuperMod launch. (Credit: Armadillo Aerospace)

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA has selected nine proposals to demonstrate new technologies for the second set of payloads to fly on commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles and the Zero-G commercial parabolic aircraft. NASA is using commercially available vehicles to carry these technology demonstration payloads to help develop the U.S. commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program provides test flights to demonstrate and validate space technologies on airborne platforms flying above 65,000 feet, the area known as “near space.” The program also supports parabolic flights that simulate brief periods of microgravity or weightlessness.

“We’re moving out with a set of payloads that can benefit from the proving ground of near space,” Mike Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington said. “We’re looking forward to increasing the number of commercial flights and technology demonstration payloads flown, with companies providing a viable reusable flying science lab capability for researchers from all across America.”

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Fly an Object in Microgravity with ZERO-G

 (PRNewsFoto/Zero Gravity Corporation, Steve Boxall)

ZERO-G PR — ZERO-G wants to know what you would like to see float in weightlessness.

Submit one photo of an object you would like to see weightless by April 15. ZERO-G will select the Top 5 entries and publish them on ZERO-G’s Facebook page on April 18. Then it’s up to ZERO-G fans to select the winning object. The winner will be announced on April 22 and the winning object will fly on an upcoming ZERO-G flight.

  • Object must be able to fit inside a shoe box.
  • Object cannot be an animal, or anything flammable, it cannot be made of glass, magnetic, or have sharp edges, it cannot be a liquid.

Please include your full name and name of your object, in order for your entry to be considered.

Object Line-Up

Acceptable entries include stuffed animals, toys, feather boas, play money…the possibilities are endless!

Submit Your Entry Now