During the past few years the United States Air Force has been conducting a series of experiments on the effects of weightlessness.* In these series the zero gravity condition is obtained by flying specially equipped aircraft in a precision maneuver (Kep-lerian trajectory) during which time the effects of nearly complete weightlessness are felt by the occupants of the plane. In fighter* type aircraft, the period of weightlessness may extend to 40 sec; however, in such a vehicle, the subject must be strapped into place. In larger aircraft, such as the KC-135, the period of weightlessness may be as long as 32 sec and the subjects can float freely. It is expected that the X-15 aircraft, now under test, will expose the pilot to as much as 4 min of weightlessness. The first Mercury astronaut experienced 5 min of weightlessness. The first reported Russian manned flight is said to have involved about 90 min of zero gravity.


Space Flight Gravity Condition Artificial Environment Neutral Buoyancy Otolith Organ 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1961

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael B. Levine
    • 1
  1. 1.Lockheed Aircraft CorporationMariettaUSA

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