NASA Flight Opportunities Program
NASA depends on advances in technology, and yet, space testing and space qualification of promising technologies remains one of the most difficult of all NASA’s hurdles. High costs and risk of flight demonstration to incorporate advanced technologies into future missions have been a great challenge to NASA. Flying payloads on commercial parabolic aircraft, such as Zero Gravity Corporation’s specially-modified 727-200, G-FORCE ONE™, and reusable suborbital vehicles will bridge the famed “valley of death” and help move technologies rapidly to maturity. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria.
Applying for Flight Opportunities
The Announcement of Flight Opportunities is open through December 31, 2014, but cut-off dates will be provided on a periodic basis to select new proposals. The number of payloads selected for flight opportunities will be determined through a competitive process based on evaluation of the responses and subsequent ability to negotiate a no-exchange-of-funds Space Act Agreements. Such selections are also subject to the availability of appropriated funds and number of contracted flights available at any given time.
Common parabolic flight week schedule
Selected project teams will be provided flight time in a reduced/near-zero gravity environment through access to parabolic aircraft flights. Each flight includes approximately 40 parabolic trajectories and each parabolic trajectory provides approximately 20 seconds (17-20 seconds) of reduced-gravity time.
Reduced/near-zero gravity conditions such as lunar gravity (0.16g) or Mars gravity (0.38g) as well as other partial gravity levels can be created. The aircraft and its payload will experience increased gravity levels (~2g) in between parabolas. A parabolic flight campaign typically consists of 4 flights during 1 week (tue-fri) depending on weather.
For more information, see our:
Richard C. Mains
Flight Opportunities Program Technology Liaison
"NASA's Flight Opportunities/Parabolic program has been a great opportunity for us to gain access to the unique microgravity conditions that will allow us to get the data needed to develop more efficient heat exchangers." -- Jungho Kim, University of Maryland
"The microgravity test environment allowed us to understand more fully the behavior of several deployment strategies in a way that is not possible in the laboratory environment."--Sigrid Close, Stanford University