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First flight of the new Novespace’s Airbus A310 ZERO-G

News International-French

6 May 2015

The first flight of the new Airbus ZERO-G operated by Novespace takes place with 40 scientists selected by the European Space Agency (ESA), the French Space Agency (CNES) and the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) on board.

They do 31 parabolas and carry out experiments in weightlessness. Representatives from ESA, CNES and DLR will be present for the first flight in Bordeaux as well as Jean-François Clervoy, ESA astronaut and chairman of Novespace

The biggest available area for weightlessness on board in the world

The Airbus A310 ZERO-G, which has the biggest available area for weightlessness on board in the world, is ready for its new adventure. In its previous life, the Airbus ZERO-G, known as « Konrad Adenauer », was used by the German air force VIP fleet. Konrad Adenauer was one of the founders of the European Union and he along with Charles de Gaulle reconciled France with Germany. Originally built as a military plane, several chancellors have flown on board. This flying laboratory for scientific research is symbolic of French-German and European cooperation.

Novespace, a subsidiary of the French Space Agency (CNES) was created in 1986, to promote space technological transfers. These parabolic flights are mainly used for scientific research but are also used in the development of space equipment. Many of the experiments do not need to be carried out in space, as weightlessness time on board is sufficient for excellent results.

June 17th, 2015: maiden flight for weightlessness open to the public
Since 2013, Novespace and their partner Avico propose to nonprofessional weightless flights to include 15 parabolic manoeuvres creating 20 seconds of weightlessness each. 6 AirZeroG flights will take place before the end of this year. The proceeds from these flights are reinvested for the scientific space campaigns. These public flights are also an excellent way to promote scientific and space culture.

The Airbus A310 ZERO-G, which is in excellent condition and has been perfectly maintained, has done 7500 cycles. The former « Konrad Adenauer » has been transformed, by Lufthansa Technics in Hambourg, from military aircraft to airborne test bed and sensing platform.

The F-WNOV is now in the expert hands of testing engineers in Novespace for 20 years or more. The previous Airbus A300 ZERO-G can be visited in the Aviation Museum in Cologne (chancellor Adenauer’s birthplace) having flown for 18 years in the colours of Novespace.

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