As a writer for the NASA Web site’s students’ and educators’ pages, Heather Smith has written quite a few stories about students and teachers flying experiments on NASA’s reduced-gravity aircraft. Now she’s getting a chance to fly with a team and experience microgravity herself.
From June 3-9, 2009, Heather will be at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Ellington Field in Houston with a student microgravity team from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After a few days of training, they’ll take part in a flight that includes 30 parabolic maneuvers — basically an up-and-down roller coaster pattern. As the plane climbs, they will feel the pull of about twice the gravity of Earth. The plane will then “nose over” the top of the parabola and descend toward Earth in a free fall. For about 18 to 25 seconds, they’ll feel what it’s like to float in space.
Students and teachers can follow along during Heather’s adventure by reading her Free Falling blog on the NASA blogs page. Regular updates and photos will be posted during the experience.
For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/going-weightless.html