space is calling

Out-of-this-world weightless flight experience blasts off from Houston this spring

Take weightless flight above Houston this March. Zero-G Experience/Instagram

If you were over the moon after witnessing the recent flights hauling billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — and even final frontier fave Captain Kirk — to space, then an out-of-this-world experience launching from Houston may have you thanking your lucky stars for the chance to become a bona fide space cadet.

TheZero-G Experience, operated by privately held space entertainment and tourism company Zero Gravity Corporation, will land in Space City on March 19, giving locals the opportunity to hop aboard the FAA-approved G-Force One, a modified Boeing 727-200 that allows passengers to experience the feeling of weightlessness — without actually traveling to space.

Billed as an experience that’s like nothing on earth, the Zero-G Experience enables flyers to encounter a weightless environment in which they can “float, flip, and soar like an astronaut,” all without actually slipping the surly bonds of Earth.

According to the Zero Gravity Corp., here’s how it works: “The process starts with the aircraft flying level with the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then gradually increase the angle of the aircraft to about 45 degrees relative to the horizon until reaching an altitude of 32,000 feet. During this phase, passengers feel the pull of 1.8 Gs. Next, the plane pushes over the top of the parabolic arc and the zero-gravity phase begins. For the next 20-30 seconds, everything in the plane is weightless. Finally, the plane gently pulls out of the maneuver, allowing flyers to gradually return to the floor of the aircraft.”

The flight enables guests to experience lunar gravity (one-sixth their weight), as well as Martian gravity (one-third their weight).

And you don’t even have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy this spaced-out experience. However, from the come-back-down-to-earth reality side of things, you will have to drop a pretty penny for the once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity.

The five-hour Houston Zero-G Experience, which includes 15 parabola (gravity-free) acrobatic maneuvers, costs $8,200 per person. (People of all abilities and ages 8 and older are welcome; though those with certain medical conditions may need to get doctor approval.) The purchase price includes a Zero-G flight suit, Zero-G merch, a certificate of weightless completion, and photos and videos from the experience.

A Zero-G medical pro will also conduct a rapid COVID-19 test on all passengers prior to flight.

Houstonians can book tickets for the local flight here.

Aside from Houston, the only other Texas city the Zero-G Experience will visit is Austin, with the flight taking off from Capital City on March 20.

For more info and to watch videos of the Zero-G Experience, visit the Zero-G website.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Asma Mirza joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to explain how a pandemic pivot turned into a global health opportunity. Photo courtesy

In the span of a couple years, a Houston startup went from innovating a way for patients with degenerative eye diseases to see better to creating a portable and affordable breath-based diagnostics tool worthy of a prestigious grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Steradian Technologies, founded in 2018, set out to create human super-sight via proprietary optics. In early 2020, the company was getting ready to start testing the device and fundraising. Then, the pandemic hit, knocking the company completely off course.

Co-founder and CEO of the company, Asma Mirza, says on this week's Houston Innovators Podcast that the Steradian co-founders discussed how their optic technology could detect diseases. Something just clicked, and the RUMI device was born.

"We are from Houston, Texas, which is one of the most diverse and accessible cities in the country, and we were having trouble with basic diagnostic accessibility. It was taking too long, it was complicated, and people were getting sick and didn't know if they were positive or negative," Mirza says on the show. "That's when we pivoted the company and decided we were going to pivot the company and use optics to detect diseases in breath."

Fast forward two years and the company has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a grant to sport the development of the tool — which costs about the same price as a latte to make. The impact for global health is huge, Mirza says, allowing for people to test their breath for diseases from their own homes in the same time it takes to take your temperature.

"You blow into a cartrige and we're able to take the air from your breath into a liquid sample," Mirza says, explaining how the device uses photons to produce quick results. "It's wild that we still don't have something like that yet."

She shares more details about the grant and the future applications for the technology — as well as the role Houston and local organizations have had on the company — on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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