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Wed Nov 26 19:20:52 SAST 2014

R70k for five minutes of weightlessness in 'vomit comet'

Sapa-AFP | 04 December, 2012 15:30

Image by: http://www.gozerog.com/

How much would you pay to emulate astronauts as they float weightlessly in space?

Until now restricted to trainee space explorers and scientists, Europe's "Zero-G" aircraft is to start making commercial flights for paying customers from March 15, its operators said on Tuesday.

The Airbus 300 flies parabolas, offering around 30 seconds of gravity-free experience at the top of each loop.

Over a flight lasting two and a half hours, those onboard acquire a total of five minutes of weightlessness, drifting in a big padded cabin.

Three flights are scheduled for 2013, each of them carrying 40 adult passengers, said France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), which operates the specially-adapted plane with the firm Novespace.

And the cost? 5,980 euros ($7,770) a head.

Zero-gravity flights are already available commercially in the United States and Russia.

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