The airborne roller coaster is a specially modified 727.
Credit: Zero Gravity Corp
WASHINGTON Space tourists came closer to a one-stop shop as Space Adventures announced today its Jan. 1 purchase of Zero Gravity Corp., or Zero-G, which provides paying passengers brief periods of weightlessness aboard a modified Boeing 727 aircraft known as G-Force One.
The acquisition cements Space Adventures' control of Zero-G, in which it had been a substantial investor "for years," according to Eric Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Space Adventures. Anderson's Vienna, Va.-based firm arranges trips aboard Russian Soyuz vehicles to the international space station.
Space Adventures spokeswoman Stacey Tearne declined to discuss the price paid for Zero-G.
"Bringing the companies together allows us to provide a range of exclusive commercial spaceflight services from parabolic flights to orbital missions," said Peter Diamandis, Zero-G's chief executive officer. Diamandis, who also co-founded Space Adventures, will remain as Zero G's chief executive and becomes a managing director of Space Adventures. Byron Lichtenberg, former NASA astronaut, continues as Zero-G's chief technology officer.
Zero-G provides passengers with a brief training session followed by a 90-minute flight during which G-Force One performs a series of parabolas that enable passengers to experience Martian gravity, lunar gravity and zero gravity. Zero-G has carried more than 5,000 customers on more than 175 flights since 2004. The company won a research and training contract from NASA in January worth as much as $25 million.
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