Aviation Pioneer Burt Rutan Flies Weightless for the First
ANN has been having a ball sharing Zero-G with a number of
luminaries while Editor-In-Chief Jim Campbell has been serving as a
crewmember aboard "G-Force One" this week. But... with the
exception of Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin, none of these VIPs have been
as eagerly awaited as Scaled Composites' Burt Rutan (shown below,
to the the right of X Prize's Gregg "Born 2 Fly" Maryniak).
Aviation Pioneer and SpaceShip One Designer Burt Rutan boarded
G-Force One, Zero Gravity Corporation's (ZERO-G) Weightless 727-200
aircraft, at Mercury Air Centers in Burbank, CA, on Thursday to
experience his first weightless flight. Campbell (who apparently
has a cast-iron stomach) shot all the Zero-G pix on board (and has
been since the pre-Part 121 certification test flights), usually
floating free to make sure that all the right angles were
Accompanying Burt was Scaled's furry mascot, "Boscoe," a stuffed
bear that is expected to be on the next flight of SpaceShipOne...
if he makes the grade. "I brought Boscoe here to see how he handles
Zero-G. If he gets sick, he's off the flight," said Burt (totally
deadpan). Boscoe did well... even ditching Burt for a while to fly
around the cabin on his own, visiting with a number of other Zero-G
flyers... especially the cute ones.
Burt's own experience was an exhilarating one... and his
handling of Zero-G looked as expert as any of the "old-timers" who
have done this many times before.
"'The ZERO-G Experience' was ten times better than I expected,"
said Rutan. "I highly recommend it for those who want to experience
a suborbital flight. It was really amazing, unbelievably cool!"
Rutan experienced one Martian, followed by one Lunar and then 27
zero-g parabolas. Rutan is also the leading contender for the
X-PRIZE competition in which his SpaceShip One flew 100 kilometers
on June 21st in the qualifying flight.
Peter Diamandis (shown below, with Burt), founder, chairman, and
CEO, Zero Gravity Corporation said, "I am very proud to be able to
have taken Rutan on his first trip to weightlessness. Now he is
ready for his suborbital flight."
THe Zero-G Corp. is a privately held space entertainment and
tourism company whose mission is to make the excitement and
adventure of space accessible to the public. ZERO-G is the first
and only FAA-approved provider of Weightless Flight, termed The
ZERO-G Experience), which includes a full-day program led by a
veteran astronaut in which a Flyer (the customer) experiences
Martian, Lunar and Zero Gravity conditions.
The ZERO-G Experience is conducted aboard G-Force One -- a
specially modified, FAA-approved Boeing 727-200 aircraft. ZERO-G
serves the general public (age 15 and over), as well as the
entertainment and film industries, corporate and incentive market,
non-profit research and education sectors, and government.
ZERO-G's aircraft partner is Amerijet International, Inc., the
Fort Lauderdale-based cargo transportation and logistics provider.
Zero Gravity Corporation is headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida.
Its flight operations are conducted out of Fort Lauderdale -
Hollywood International Airport.