On 5 May, 40 scientists, including Jean-François Clervoy, a European Space Agency astronaut, took part in the first scientific flight onboard the new Novespace A310 ZERO-G from Bordeaux-Merignac (south western France). Novespace is a subsidiary of the French Space Agency (CNES).
During the flight, they executed 31 parabolas in order to carry out a range of experiments in a weightless environment. This flying laboratory will contribute to advances in space equipment research and development.
Offering the largest volume in the world available to perform parabolic flights, the A310 ZERO-G has now begun a new life. Previously, the aircraft formed part of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) governmental fleet. From time to time, the VIP configured aircraft, carried several federal chancellors on board.
In addition to the many scientific flights that will be made over the next twenty years, the general public will also be able to experience weightlessness, for which six non-professional flights are planned for this year.
As for the previous Novespace aircraft, the A300 ZERO-G, after 18 years’ service in the interests of science, it has now retired gracefully to the Cologne air museum in Germany.