LONG BEACH, Calif. — When Marty Strode told each of his kids he’d take them anywhere in the world for their 16th birthday, he figured they’d pick Machu Pichu or the Pyramids, but his son, Charlie, decided he wanted to go on a trip that’s out of this world, literally.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Charlie said.
Marty and Charlie flew from Australia to Long Beach just to experience seven minutes of total zero gravity.
“I’m definitely going to try that one-finger pushup,” Marty said. “I’ve done pushups every day, but I’ve never done them with one finger.”
On a warm April morning, they boarded a tricked out Boeing 727, a hollowed out plane that flies in parabolic arcs — maneuvers similar to a rollercoaster — that mimics what it would feel like in the International Space Station.
Ever since Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson blasted off into the upper atmosphere last year, the space tourism market has been skyrocketing, with more and more people looking to experience what it feels like to be an astronaut, for a fraction of the price.
Matt Gohd, Zero Gravity Corporation’s CEO, said that in the last year his company has seen a 30% increase in sales.
“They’ll see them floating effortlessly in space so they’ll go and Google ‘zero gravity’ and here we are,” he said.
Marty and Charlie paid $8,200 per ticket, which includes 15 spurts of weightlessness.
At 24,000 feet, the plane starts heading almost straight up like a rocket. Passengers are instructed to lie down on the ground, as they feel the gravitational pull. Then, as the plane begins to descend, people begin floating. For the next 20-30 seconds, everyone is weightless. As the plane gently pulls out of the maneuver, flyers gradually return to the floor of the aircraft.
For Marty and Charlie, it was a life-changing moment that left them feeling, well, over the moon.
“I felt like, ‘Wow this is crazy!’ Almost floated to the ceiling.”
For Charlie, “it just went way past the expectations.”
Boldly going where few have gone before… for a price that’s a little more down to Earth.
If you’d like to check out Zero G’s next flight, you can go to https://www.gozerog.com