It’s 7 a.m. in Houston, and I’m watching a video of a developed man getting sucked into a fly motor.
He made due, yet I don’t know I will: Soon I’ll board an airplane that makes 30% of its travelers hurl. This is the principal day of a NASA college program that peaks on board the Vomit Comet, an altered KC-135A plane that performs “parabolas” – a progression of climbs and plummets – to mimic weightlessness. For an anxious flyer like me, this brings up many issues: How can a 38-year-old airplane take the pressure of 8,000-foot jumps and 8,000-foot recuperations? Furthermore, Why on earth am I doing this?
Honestly, it sounded great when four understudies from Brown University welcomed me to fly with them. As I leave for the afternoon, a NASA educator reminds me: “Don’t be late tomorrow, or you won’t fly.”
Day Two: Classroom and Chamber
I’m late. Maybe it’s my new granola diet – this heaving thing has me nervous. Fortunately, NASA has a two-strikes strategy.
The present illustration is about oxygen – explicitly, how there’s tiny of it where I’m going this evening: a steel flight chamber that can recreate the gaseous tension at any elevation. Cautions the teacher before lunch: “With significantly less strain in the chamber, gas extends. Make it a point to, all things considered, oust it.”
In the chamber, at 25,000 feet, we eliminate our breathing apparatuses for 5 minutes. I feel fine – even total a straightforward test. At 3 minutes off oxygen, I’m approached to sign my name. Afterward, I see that I stated “William Confused.”
Day Three: The Flight
It’s go time . . . at last. Only 15 minutes into the flight, we drop into our first parabola. There are not many windows, so it’s hard to tell that we’re presently rising at 45 degrees. The G-force meter on the bulkhead understands 2 and change – my body feels two times as weighty. After forty seconds, we top.
“Here we go,” says one of the NASA folks. I prepare to stand up, not understanding that I don’t need to. I gradually start to rise. Before long, I’m in a real sense sitting in midair. Way cool! Then, at that point, following 30 seconds: “Feet on the ground.” And we enter another 2-G rising.
We complete three arrangements of 10 parabolas, which takes the better piece of 60 minutes. It seems like minutes. I don’t become ill; just two understudies do. Before long, I’m back on the ground on the telephone, boasting to my companions about my experience.
“Were you apprehensive?” asks one.
“Obviously not,” I reply, as
I speed through a McDonald’s drive-through. Furthermore, indeed, I supersized it.