Not just for astronauts and OK Go: How you too can experience zero gravity

Zero Gravity
Watching OK Go’s latest music video, Upside Down & Inside Out, probably had you screaming, “I want to do that!” The band sure makes it look easy, but the choreographed stunts the members perform are highly complex, and probably a bit dangerous.

However, it is possible for anyone with the guts and grits – and the funds – to experience zero gravity.

One major American company, Zero-G, specializes in the type “weightless flights” that you see in the music video, where you can float around the inside of a plane, like astronauts and the OK Go guys.

It’s surprisingly simple: A plane flies in a parabolic arc, climbing at an angle of nearly 45 degrees, to around 25,000 feet. As the aircraft reaches the top of its arc, the occupants enter a period of free-fall, which they experience as zero gravity for less than 30 seconds before the plane must tip down and begin its descent. The plane will make this maneuver several times. It’s one way space agencies, like NASA, train astronauts.

Of course, it’s not for everyone; they don’t call the plane a “vomit comet” for no reason. OK Go reportedly spent a year preparing for the video. But for adrenaline junkies who love the free-fall sensation of high-altitude roller coasters, here’s how to get the maximum thrill weightlessness.


Starting at $4,950, Zero-G provides a flight that includes 15 parabolic maneuvers, each period lasting 20 to 30 seconds. The company’s modified Boeing 727 takes passengers up to 24,000 feet, as they’re being pulled by 1.8 Gs. There is a pre-flight orientation, and everyone is paired with a coach. Meals are provided before and after a flight, if you can keep it down. You’ll also get photos and a video of your time in the sky.

Throughout the year, Zero-G offers the experience in various parts of the country. On April 24, there is a special flight with skateboarding veteran Tony Hawk. The company, which counts a former astronaut and a NASA engineer as its founders (now owned by Space Adventures, a company specializing in space tourism; see below), also offers “weightless weddings,” where you can tie the knot in zero gravity.

Incredible Adventures

Florida-based Incredible Adventures uses a smaller Rockwell Commander plane, so there’s less room to float around, but it creates the same feeling of weightlessness. A flight with this company gets you 10 parabolas, with each period lasting only about 10 seconds. Flights start at $2,500, but you will need to head down to Florida. If it’s the feeling of free-fall you’re after, it’s an alternative to Zero-G’s pricier (but longer) experience.

Space Adventures

Why experience a few seconds of weightlessness when you can live in it? Provided that you have several tens of millions of dollars, Space Adventures, the company that owns Zero-G, will take you beyond Earth’s gravity-pull. So far, the company has taken only six super-wealthy individuals into space, and it’s dependent on the availability of Russia’s space agency.

Kingda Ka

OK, so you’re most likely priced out of the above options. A more affordable experience is to head to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, and take a ride on Kingda Ka, the world’s tallest roller coaster. Once you climb to 418 feet, you’ll feel a second of weightlessness as you zoom back down. There’s also a second, albeit brief, weightless moment before it pulls into the station. It’s not true zero gravity, as you don’t get to float around (that would be a bad thing in this situation) but a few times on the ride should be enough to satisfy until you can save up.


Skydiving isn’t the same as a zero gravity experience, as you’re mainly just free falling. But in an indoor skydiving facility like iFly, you can float around and perform similar rolls and turns. Depending on the location, prices start at around $60.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The N64 was an all-star console with a line-up of all-star games. These were the best.

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Emerging Tech

Meet the Mantis Q: A drone you can control by yelling, waving, or even smiling

"Mantis, take a picture." Yuneec's new consumer drone, the Yuneec Mantis Q, responds to voice commands along with gestures and smiles. The 4K drone also integrates several different flight modes and safety features inside a one-pound…

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

Science says waste beer could help us live on Mars

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new super-insulating gel, created from beer waste, which could one day be used for building greenhouse-like habitats on Mars.
Emerging Tech

Engineers have made a new type of lithium battery that won’t explode

While statistically rare, the lithium-ion batteries used in mobile devices have been known to burst into flames. Researchers from University of Michigan have been working to change that.
Emerging Tech

Genetically engineered bacteria paint microscopic masterpieces

By engineering E. coli bacteria to respond to light, scientists at the University of Rome have guided it like tiny drones toward patterns that depict Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to dig a tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to build a high-speed transportation tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to a nearby Metro station. The system would run 150-mph passenger pods between the stadium and a terminus to the west.
Emerging Tech

Watch as a ‘lifeguard drone’ rescues a swimmer struggling at sea

These days, drones are finding a range of roles in a myriad of fields. Lifeguards, for example, are making use of the drone's ability to quickly deploy flotation devices while also offering an eye in the sky to survey the scene.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? Here are the best drones on the market right now

To help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Experiment suggests that the best robot bosses could be jerks

Researchers have been investigating how future robot bosses can coax the most productivity out of us flesh-and-blood employees. The sad answer? Quite possibly by behaving like jerks.
Emerging Tech

VR experience shows caregivers what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease

Los Angeles-based VR startup Embodied Labs has developed a virtual experience that puts users in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the U.S.