‘Zero gravity’ flights to start next year

UAE residents will be able to float and flip weightlessly for a few minutes when they sign up for 'zero gravity' flights due to take off next year.

Customers enjoy the first zero-gravity flight for paying passengers, in Europe last year. The service will come to the UAE in April. Mehdi Fedouach / AFP
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DUBAI // UAE residents will be able to float and flip weightlessly for a few minutes when they sign up for “zero gravity” flights scheduled to take off next year.

Starting at just under Dh10,000, the 90-minute flights, operated by Swiss Space Systems (S3), are scheduled to take place over six days from April 9 to 11 and April 16 to 18. The UAE is one of more than 15 countries the flights will depart from around the world from January next year.

S3 is one of several private companies offering civilians the chance to experience weightlessness, something that is generally experienced only by scientists and astronauts as part of the training given by space agencies such as Nasa.

The company uses modified Airbus jets to perform 15 parabolas, each providing between 20 and 25 seconds of weightlessness during the course of the hour-and-a-half-long flight.

To simulate zero gravity, the aircraft will climb at a steep, 45-degree angle from 24,000 feet to about 34,000 feet and after 20-25 seconds dive at 45 degrees, creating the parabolic arc. It is at the top of the arc, for about 25 seconds, that passengers experience weightlessness.

S3’s website said its flights offered the “world’s most affordable ZeroG experience”. Tickets are priced from €1,990 (Dh9,790) in a party zone that caters for up to 40 passengers. The premium zone tickets are priced at €5,000 and can accommodate 28 passengers. Premium ticketholders can enjoy special activities “such as playing with liquids and balloons”.

A VIP room is also available in an exclusive section of the plane that has seats for up to 12 passengers at a minimum cost of €50,000. Passengers can expect a tailor-made experience.

Anyone signing up to the top two packages will also receive a Breitling S3 ZeroG watch and will be allowed to take home their flight suit.

The S3 flights will begin on January 10 in Japan and end in Puerto Rico on November 29. Tickets are still available for the UAE flights and can be bought at www.zerog.s-3.ch.