From: Zero Gravity Corporation
Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Contract Represents A Major Milestone for NASA and ZERO-G, Demonstrating Government-Commercial Partnership
LAS VEGAS - January 3, 2008 - NASA has chosen Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G(R)), the first and only FAA-approved provider of commercial weightless flights, to manage and operate an aircraft to perform parabolic flights for NASA-operated experiments and personnel. The relationship marks a key milestone for NASA's parabolic operations, which have been previously operated using government aircraft and personnel. This represents the first time a commercial operator has been contracted to provide weightless flight services. ZERO-G's flights will primarily initiate from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
"We consider it a distinct honor to have the opportunity to participate in NASA's scientific, education and training activities. We are excited about the important initiatives that we'll be supporting and eagerly await our first flight with NASA aboard," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, CEO and co-founder of ZERO-G. "NASA's Administrator Mike Griffin and Deputy Administrator Shana Dale have shown themselves to be true visionaries when it comes to encouraging meaningful partnerships with the private sector. ZERO-G, which was founded in 1993 and began commercial operations in 2004, is 100 percent privately funded. As a commercial company we are pleased to support NASA's Vision for Space Exploration," added Diamandis.
During ZERO-G flights, NASA will perform experiments and research in aeronautics, fluid physics, combustion, material sciences and life sciences. The reduced gravity environment will also allow NASA to further develop its Crew Exploration Vehicle, and train astronauts for future flights on the space shuttle and the International Space Station.
"ZERO-G is very pleased to be able to work with NASA on the parabolic flight program. In developing our commercial Boeing 727 operation, we learned as much as we could from NASA's 40-plus years of history operating their KC-135 and C-9," said Dr. Byron K. Lichtenberg, co-founder and chief technical officer for Zero Gravity Corporation. "Today our primary business is providing weightless flight services to the commercial markets, general public and education markets." He continued, "From my early days as a space shuttle astronaut, I believed there was a commercial side to weightless flights and that the combination of commercial and government flights would benefit both sectors. It is our sincere hope that as the public gets to experience weightlessness, they will gain a better understanding of NASA's Vision for Space Exploration. Now the aircraft that the general public flies aboard will be the same aircraft used by NASA to train some of its astronauts."
The contract's one-year base period, valued at $4.7 million, began on Jan. 1. Four one-year options could add just over $5 million per year to the fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract total. These options could extend the period of performance to a total of five years, for an estimated $25.4 million.
Zero Gravity Corporation (www.GoZeroG.com) is a privately held space entertainment and tourism company whose mission is to make the excitement and adventure of weightlessness accessible to the public. ZERO-G is based in Las Vegas and Florida and is the first and only FAA-approved provider of weightless flight to the general public, as well as the entertainment and film industries; corporate and incentive market; non-profit research and education sectors; and government.
Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Las Vegas, ZERO-G is led by a world-class team of veteran astronauts and experienced business leaders. The company was co-founded by X PRIZE Chairman and space visionary, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis; veteran astronaut, Dr. Byron K. Lichtenberg, and NASA Engineer Ray Cronise. The team spent more than a decade working to bring the marvel of weightless flight to the public.
Since launching the ZERO-G Experience in September 2004, the company has conducted more than 150 weightless flights and flown over 3,000 members of the public, including celebrities and media personalities, corporate charters, science and math teachers, and individuals age 8 to 93.
The ZERO-G Experience consists of a brief training session for passengers followed by a 90-minute flight aboard G-Force One, during which parabolic maneuvers are performed; Flyers experience Martian gravity (1/3-gravity), Lunar gravity (1/6-gravity), and zero gravity. The ZERO-G Experience provides its Flyers with twice the amount of weightless time achieved in the proposed sub-orbital flight into space. Parabolic or weightless-flight is true weightlessness, it is not a simulation of any kind. NASA has been using parabolic flight to train their astronauts for the past 40 years.
ZERO-G operates under the highest safety standards as set by the FAA (Part-121) with its partner Amerijet International of Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Aircraft operations take place under the same regulations set for large commercial passenger airliners.
For the current flight schedule or more information visit www.GoZeroG.com or call 1-800-937-6480.
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