ESA, France’s CNES space agency, DLR German Aerospace Center and industrial customers used the ‘Zero-G' Airbus A300 from 1997 to 2015 to conduct research in repeated microgravity periods of up to 20 seconds. The aircraft was the world’s largest used for parabolic flights until its replacement with an Airbus A300.
Parabolic flights treat passengers and experiments to a rollercoaster ride, flying angled at 45º 30 times per flight. They are used to conduct short-term scientific and technological investigations in microgravity and reduced gravity, to test instrumentation before use in space, to validate operational and experimental procedures, and to train astronauts for spaceflight.
The flights are managed by Novespace, a subsidiary of CNES. ESA typically conducts two parabolic campaigns a year. Scientists are invited to submit experiment proposals for review and selection.