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This is the KC-135A used by NASA to simulate a microgravity environment.


The "Vomit Comet" travels in a parabolic path beginning at 24,000 feet. It then climbs rapidly at a 45 degree angle in a maneuver called "pull up". Next, it traces the peak of a parabola, "pushover", then descends at a 45 degree angle, "pull out". During the brief pushover, the plane and its passengers both experience free fall which provides the microgravity environment within the plane. Each period of microgravity only lasts about 15-30 seconds, but the plane usually flies about 40 such parabola's each flight. Our experiment is unique in that it utilizes the effects of both microgravity at the peaks of each parabola and macrogravity (around 2 g's) at the trough of each parabola. The flight path is shown in the figure below.

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