“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”
– Danny Kaye
If there is one thing that every kid dreams about being when they are older it’s an astronaut. The appeal of be able to travel outside our world and into the great unknown is every kid’s goal at one point. Space, even now, still fascinates everyone to some extent. The universe is so incredibly large and complex that it is just hard not to wonder. But to become an astronaut and to truly experience space is grueling work. One must go through rigorous training and extensive practice, to even be considered in traveling up into space. And even then, it is not always a guarantee. However, to still fulfill this kid dream of mine of being an astronaut item number sixteen on my bucket list is to experience zero gravity.
There are many ways to experience zero gravity, but, unfortunately, the only one that is offered to the public for a fairly reasonable price is by plane. The zero gravity of space is simulated by the plane flying a series of parabolic flight maneuvers that counter the forces of gravity and allow the passengers to experience no gravity. The airplane is essentially flying up and over hills, creating pockets where gravity seems to just disappear and everything inside the plane begins to float. The duration of weightlessness during each parabolic maneuver is approximately 10 seconds. Which may not seem like a lot time, but it actually is when adding everything up all together. A typical zero gravity flight consists of approximately 10 parabolas, giving the passenger roughly two minutes of total weightlessness
When researching possible packages and places to experience zero gravity, one company kept on popping up, Zero Gravity Corporation. The Zero Gravity Corporation offers the “Zero-G Experience” package, which includes includes 15 parabolas, a ZERO-G flight suit, other ZERO-G merchandise, and a photos or video of the experience. However, this package was extremely expensive, which caused me to find another company instead, Zero Gravity U.S.A.. Zero Gravity U.S.A. uses similar techniques as Zero Gravity Corporation, however, the trip is in you own personal plane. So rather than being on a plane with ten other people, Zero Gravity U.S.A offers rides with just you, the pilot, and the “weightless coach”. This allows for a more personal experience, enabling you to be able to do somersaults and other flips and tricks with ease and comfort. Another advantage to the zero gravity package from Zero Gravity U.S.A. is the cost. Whereas Zero Gravity Corporation is $4,950 dollars per person, Zero Gravity U.S.A. is slightly less than $3,000 dollars per person, making the whole thing much more affordable.
However, the one downside to Zero Gravity U.S.A. is that the company is based out of Florida. Meaning that to experience zero gravity from the package offered by Zero Gravity U.S.A., one has to travel to Florida first. As a result, the price of gas and or the price of an airplane ticket will add onto the price of the package, therefore increasing the price of the overall trip. Personally, I have never made the drive to Florida even though I have family that lives there, so I would be more comfortable flying than driving. Unfortunately, as mentioned, this adds to the price. The average flight to Florida from Philadelphia is about $175 dollars. As a result, the total price of item number sixteen on my bucket list is $5,125 dollars.