Zero-gravity roller coaster inspired by NASA

A California-based design firm has plans for a roller coaster that leaves passengers weightless for up to eight seconds at a time.
Written by Jenny Wilson, Contributing Editor
Flickr / Steve Jurvetson

Inspired by the "Vomit Comet" that NASA uses to train astronauts, a California-based design firm is working on a roller coaster that would allow passengers to experience weightless for up to eight seconds. Such a roller coaster would be the first of its kind in the world.

The NASA training plane uses parabolic dives to simulate the feeling of weightlessness that astronauts feel when they go into space. BRC Imagination Arts intends to do the same thing in a theme park. Passengers in an enclosed car will travel at 100 miles per hour down a track, and then the track will shoot straight up into the air. Once it takes this turn, the speed will decelerate and create the "zero-gravity" feeling for eight seconds as the ride goes back down and passengers with loose seat belts experience a floating sensation. A computer system will monitor the speed of the roller coaster to ensure that zero gravity can be accomplished.

This ride is slated to cost $50 million, which is $20 million more than even the most expensive theme park rides tend to be. If funding can be secured, however, representatives say it could be ready as early as 2013.

[via PopSci]

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