A Tribute to Microgravity Research
The photograph above shows the 2012 Carthage Microgravity Team standing beneath NASA’s first reduced-gravity research aircraft NASA 930 (KC-135A).
This modified Boeing plane was acquired by NASA in 1973, and used for spacecraft hardware testing, astronaut training and microgravity research until September 1995. In this role, it completed 58,000 reduced gravity maneuvers, which translates into 13-1/2 days of reduced gravity. It was also used by Universal Pictures to film scenes for the movie Apollo 13.
Retired in September 1995, the plane is now on display at Ellington Field, near the Johnson Space Center, “as a tribute to all KC-135A flight and ground support personnel, and to all of the astronauts and test subjects who contributed much to microgravity research,” reads its plaque.
NASA used a second KC-135A aircraft for reduced gravity research from 1995 to 2004.
NASA currently conducts reduced gravity research aboard G-Force One, a modified Boeing 727-200, owned by Zero Gravity Corporation.
Members of the Carthage Microgravity Team will fly aboard G-Force One on Wednesday.