LOW-G FLIGHT
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NASA KC-135 in flight.
Candidate Astronauts train in KC-135
Typical Microgravity Parabola
Early Low-g MDA Ops Test in KC-135
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Weaver Sabreliner and Flight Crew
As is the case with most microgravity hardware development programs, there comes a time when you must make sure that your equipment will operate satisfactorily in microgravity.  The prudent development program will likely take advantage of available aircraft that fly in large parabolic arcs to simulate conditions of orbital flight but, in 20 to 25 second increments.  That time for ITA came in the mid to late1980s in preparation for its suborbital research and development phase which would begin in early 1989.   In early 1987, ITA initiated its microgravity aircraft program in the NASA KC-135, better known as the “Vomit Comet.”  Operated by the NASA Reduced Gravity Research Program at the time, the Boeing four-engine turbojet was used to understand the role of gravity on humans and hardware in space.  During a typical mission of 2 to 3 hours, the aircraft would fly 30 to 40 parabolic arcs. During each parabolic arc, the team experienced up to 25 seconds of microgravity time to run our tests.  ITA used that time to verify the manual and automated operation of its early, gen 1, MDA, called the “Frankenstein” unit because of the Frankenstein- like hardware protruding from its body.   A later mission would use the Weaver Aerospace Sabreliner, a smaller aircraft, to test the operation of the Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System (MEPS) hardware that ITA fabricated in association with NASA/JSC.  The MEPS hardware  utilized a single step process to form tiny liquid- filled, biodegradable, micro-balloons containing various drug solutions (a process called micro- gravity micro-encapsulation) in an effort to develop a better drug delivery system for tumors and resistant infections.  
Low-g Flight Stepping Stone to Suborbital Flight