Thursday, October 18, 2007

Microgravity Hodge Podge

Okay, here it goes. I am going to attempt to give out all of the information that I know about my upcoming flight. I think I have touched on a few of these things in previous posts but I have found some really cool pictures in the last couple of days to go with it. First, the picture below is the plane I will be flying in on Saturday. This is not a doctored photo, this is actually the angle that it will go up on. A normal airplane takes off at a 20 degree angle. We will be going up at a 50 degree angle.

I don’t know my flight number yet. I will try to call my wife and have her post it to the blog on Saturday morning so that you can follow along if you want. The web site is . Basically you can go into the site and enter whatever information you know (tale number, flight number, airport, etc.) and follow along with the flight. Even if you don’t follow along in real time, you can go back in later and see the path that we took. I’m really interested to see where we fly. My guess is that it won’t be over the mountains. I would guess that we will actually be over western Kansas for most of the flight but I don’t know. Some of the other flights from California and Washington D.C. have flown out over the ocean. They try to put us away from all other aircraft because in the past when other pilots have seen a plane going down at a 45 or 50 degree angle they have put in distress calls.

I meet up with everyone at a hotel in Colorado Springs at 7:00 on Saturday morning. We then have a briefing and a light breakfast. We are supposed to avoid milk and eggs but instead have more bread type foods. Fine with me, I don’t like eggs and love cinnamon rolls. Then we have the TSA screening. I thought this was kind of odd that it was at the hotel rather than the airport. After that we get on a bus and head to the airport. We actually go out on the runway to load up on the plane. I think they will be taking some group pictures out there. We are supposed to take off at 10:30 Colorado Springs time. That is 11:30 Kansas City time.

When we load up onto the plane there are 35 seats at the back that we will set in for takeoff and landing. Once we get up to cruising altitude we will get out of our seats take off our shoes and put on colored socks. The socks tell us what part of the cabin we are supposed to be in. The main part of the plane is a padded room. (insert your own joke here). In each of the three areas, there are two video cameras. We are also allowed to bring cameras and video cameras. I am bringing both.

Once we start flying our parabolas, we will go out and lay down in the cabin. We do this to help us pull the G forces. In the bottom of the parabolas we will be pulling almost 2 G’s. It shouldn’t be too bad but when you get 2 G’s right after being weightless it might be a little disorienting. That is why we lay down. The first parabola will be a little shallower and will simulate the gravity on Mars (1/3). The second two parabolas simulate lunar gravity (1/8) and the remaining 12 parabolas will be zero gravity. They come in sets of three. The first three we have no experiments planned. Each of the last sets of parabolas we have some simple experiments planned. I’m not going go into those too much since I have already done that.
While I don't know my flight information yet for the microgravity flight, I do know my flight information for Friday and Sunday. These are just normal flights but if you want to practice or see "Where in the World is Mr. Kelsey," the information is below:
Friday, October 19
Leaving KCI (MCI is the airport code) flying to Dallas (DFW) - 6:00
American Airlines 1069
Leavign Dallas flying to Colorado Springs (COS) - 8:25
American Airlines 829
Sunday, October 21
Leaving Colorado Springs flying to Dallas - 11:15
American Airlines 1882
Leaving Dallas flying to Kansas City - 3:40
American Airlines 2036

I have a couple of main goals for the flight. Obviously I want to enjoy it. I don’t think I will be able to keep from having fun. Second, there are a couple of pictures that I want. One of me and my friend Bobby with one of us right side up and the other upside down. I also have a mystery picture I want. I will tell more about that later, after the flight). I also want to get good usable video of the experiments.

One of the kids asked me today what I am looking the most forward to on the trip. I wasn’t sure how to answer. There are so many things that I think will be amazing but probably what I really want to savor is the first sensations of being weightless, the first parabola of zero gravity where I will be laying on the floor and will just float off of the ground. I think that is the part I’m looking the most forward to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ooooooooooo that looks skary to go in that angle!