Skip to main content

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

Zero Gravity
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

Zero-G

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.

iFly

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.

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more