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

 
 

Based on business activity in town, a new study ranks Houston as a top city for Asian Americans. Photo via Getty Images

Known for its diversity, Houston ranks as the third best major metro area in the U.S. for Asian American entrepreneurs, according to a new study.

Personal finance website SmartAsset analyzed data for 52 of the largest metro areas to come up with the ranking. The analysis looked at nine metrics in three categories: prevalence of Asian-owned businesses, success of new businesses, and income and job security.

About 9 percent of the Houston metro area’s residents identify as Asian.

The SmartAsset study puts Houston in fifth place for the number of Asian-owned businesses (nearly 19,900) and in fourth place for the share of Asian-owned businesses (almost 17.9 percent) among all businesses. Furthermore, Houston ranks 14th for the increase (nearly 9.6 percent) in the number of Asian-owned businesses from 2017 to 2019.

Leading the SmartAsset list is the San Francisco metro area, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth. Austin comes in at No. 11 and San Antonio at No. 14.

The largest minority-owned business in the Houston area, as ranked by annual revenue, is Asian-owned private equity firm ZT Corporate.

Founded in 1997 by Chairman and CEO Taseer Bada, who was born in Pakistan, ZT Corporate is valued at more than $1 billion. ZT Corporate generates more than $600 million in annual revenue and employs over 3,000 people.

“As we look ahead, the vision for ZT Corporate is limitless. Our team will continue pushing boundaries and finding the bright spots in the economy that produce consistent financial gains for our investors,” Bada says in a news release marking his company’s 25th anniversary.

ZT Corporate’s flagship businesses are:

  • Altus Community Healthcare, a provider of health care services.
  • ZT Financial Services, a wealth management firm.
  • ZT Motors, which owns and operates auto dealerships. Last year, ZT Motors bought three Ron Carter dealerships in the Houston area.

“ZT Corporate is a vital asset to our citizens as a longtime local employer,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says, “and has positively affected many lives through their health care organizations and philanthropic efforts.”

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