(Note: if you’d like to help me offset the cost of this experience, my GoFundMe campaign will be up until November 5th. Thanks to everyone that has donated so far!)
A week ago (geez, a week ago!) marks the start of the Microgravity program we participated in, in Ottawa. We joined Integrated Spaceflight at the NRC’s Flight Research Laboratory in order to test the Final Frontier Design spacesuit in microgravity.
We spent several hours Wednesday night doing safety briefings with our pilot and flight crew, and most of the day Thursday doing drills of what we were to accomplish on the flight.
Testing consisted mostly of range-of-motion exercises to ensure that the suit was comfortable during the motions an astronaut would be expected to accomplish. In addition to flicking knobs and dials, we went through a range of arm and leg motions, before the fun stuff: seat ingress and egress.
Sadly, our flight was cut short due to an equipment failure with the scuba system, but we managed to get a good portion of our testing done while having a great time. At one point, I watched a small paint chip spinning lazily while crossing my field of view, making me feel, momentarily, like I was floating in space.
In order to experience zero-gravity, the Falcon-20 needed to fly in a parabolic arc: basically the same trajectory that you’d expect for a ball being thrown (gently) between two people. In fact, a lot of chaos goes into making that moment of calm! The parabola was preceded by a two g-force dive and pull-up (to gain speed) and a two g-force pull-out (to slow back down). All in all, it was a lot of stress on the body… No wonder people get sick! 😉
The photos from within the Falcon-20 are actually screen captures from Integrated Spaceflight’s GoPros… I will be working this weekend to put together a short video of the best clips from my whole experience!
I will be leaving my GoFundMe/SpaceRoss page up until November 5th, so if you’d like to donate to help support this experience with me, please do! Thanks to everyone that contributed so far, it was the experience of a lifetime!