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The New Space Race: While You Wait

Sheila Gibson Stoodley

Zero Gravity
Trainee astronauts become acquainted with weightlessness during parabolic flights, in which a jet with a padded interior flies a series of parabolas, or arcs, that allow as much as 30 seconds of free floating at the peak of each. The experience is similar to riding a roller coaster and can include the unpleasant effects; the Boeing 707 that NASA employed from 1973 to 1995 was nicknamed the Vomit Comet. For $3,750 per person, Zero Gravity Corp. of Dania Beach, Fla., abets breakers of the law of gravity aboard G-Force One, its Boeing 727. In June, it offered a flight that departed from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on the same runway used by the space shuttle.
 
Zero Gravity Corp.
800.937.6480
nogravity.com

Space Camp
Although it normally caters to children, Space Camp admits adults to its program in Huntsville, Ala., in the late summer and fall. The three-day basic program ($400 per person) includes a session in the 1/6th Gravity Trainer, which approximates the sensation of walking on the moon. Campers also have the chance to play the roles of astronauts and mission control personnel during a mock space shuttle mission. The Advanced Space Academy program ($900 to $1,300), which lasts from six to eight days, includes a ride in a 3g centrifuge and lengthier mission simulations.

Space Camp
800.637.7223, 256.721.7150
spacecamp.com

Jules’ Undersea Lodge
Named for science fiction writer Jules Verne, Jules’ Undersea Lodge, located 21 feet below the surface in Key Largo, Fla., is a former underwater research laboratory retrofitted with a TV, stereo, and microwave. Guests can even call for pizza, which is delivered in a waterproof sling. A stay at the hotel (starting at about $300 per person per night) resembles living in space because the quarters are pressurized, and survival gear is required to venture outside, where guests will experience weightlessness. Those who lack scuba certification must complete a short course on the mainland before proceeding to their rooms.

Jules’ Undersea Lodge
305.451.2353
jul.com

Photo by Rod Foster
Photo courtesy of TRG-AMR North America
Photo by Darin Schnabel
Copyright 2013 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.