Space Garden
Video of Space Garden on the C-9, the Weightless Wonder!

[ Video of Space Garden on The Weightless Wonder ]
[ About the NASA Reduced Gravity Research Program ]

Can you imagine going to your school or office and floating in air along with your desks, chairs and pencils? Well that's what astronauts, scientists, and engineers experience when they take a flight on NASA’s C-9 aircraft, affectionately known as the "Vomit Comet."

Zero-g Flight TrajectoryThe NASA Reduced Gravity Program began in 1959 and the KC-135 was the perfect aircraft. The Boeing four-engine turbojet Stratotanker was originally designed for in-flight aircraft refueling and later as a 707 for commercial flights. Further modified to meet NASA's needs, the KC-135 was used to understand the role of gravity on humans and hardware in space. Medical studies and motion sickness experiments were also researched on these flights. NASA replaced the KC-135 in 2003 with the C-9, which it acquired from the U.S. Navy to continue reduced gravity experiments.

During a typical mission of 2 to 3 hours the aircraft will fly 40 to 50 parabolic arcs. During each parabolic arc there are 20 to 25 seconds of reduced gravity when the astronauts will experience how it feels to be in outer space.

The KC-135 supported about 80,000 parabolas flown in support of the Space Station and Space Shuttle programs. As a matter of fact, all the weightless scenes from the movie Apollo 13 were filmed in the KC-135. Ron Howard, Director of Apollo 13, made arrangements with NASA to use the plane for over six months.