While appearing on "Ellen" earlier this week, actor Ashton Kutcher revealed that he's been training for his upcoming space flight on Virgin Galactic via the infamous "Vomit Comet." The Zero Gravity airplane, which dives up and down a few dozen times to simulate weightlessness, is well known for inducing motion sickness.
If you're already booked to fly Virgin Galactic, but aren't really interested in treating your body to the Vomit Comet experience - too bad. In looking at the company's website, it appears that the flight aboard their own zero gravity airplane, the WhiteKnightTwo, is a part of the three-day pre-flight training package.
"Our goal is to provide you with the most incredible experience of your life," the website reads. "The trip will be intense, exhilarating, and the more that can be simulated beforehand, the better the real thing will be."
Or rather, the less messy the real thing will be. While the zero gravity plane completes 12-15 parabolas (with people largely becoming ill during later dives. Kutcher admits he got sick after the fifth.), the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo ride will only complete one very large parabola.
"Virtually no customers on board parabolic aircraft experience any motion effects on the first parabola," Virgin spokesperson Jessica Ballard told Universe Today. "Since our experience could be thought of as one large single parabola, we expect very low incidence of any motion effects. In addition, our experience will also have significantly slower transitions between zero-g and positive G than parabolic flight, which we expect to improve our customers’ experience."
For those customers that are extremely susceptible to motion sickness, Ballard says the company will have medication available to assist "on a case by case basis."
Whatever happens, we'll all bear witness in real time the success of the first commercial flight into space via NBC. The network announced today that it has secured the rights to broadcast live the inaugural flight of the SpaceShipTwo rocket ship. On board will be Richard Branson and his children Sam and Holly.
"Without a doubt, Sir Richard and his children taking the first commercial flight into space, will go down in history as one of the most memorable events on television," Sharon Scott, president and general manager of Peacock Productions, said in a statement.
The network plans to air a primetime special the evening before the flight, followed by a three-hour event broadcast live the next morning on the "TODAY" show.
"Virgin Galactic is thrilled that NBCUniversal will join us on our exciting first journey to space," Branson said in a statement. "In this first chapter of commercial space travel, we will help make space accessible and inspire countless more people to join us in the pursuit of space exploration and science innovation."
Hold on to your stomachs - Virgin Galactic expects their first commercial launch to happen sometime in 2014.
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