Space History Photo: Mercury Astronauts in Weightless Flight on C-131 Aircraft

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Astronauts in the C-131 "vomit comet" simulate weightless flight. (Image credit: NASA)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, astronauts in simulated weightless flight in C-131 aircraft flying "zero-g" trajectory at Wright Air Development Center.

Weightless flights were a new form of training for the Mercury astronauts and parabolic flights that briefly go beyond the Earth's tug of gravity continue to be used for spaceflight training purposes. These flights are nicknamed the "vomit comet" because of the nausea that is often induced.

Each weekday, looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).


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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: