'Vomit Comet' Inspires Zero-Gravity Coaster
Are you the type to wait in line an extra 30 minutes just so you can sit in the very first car of the roller coaster? If so, this next bit of information will make you throw your hands up, just like you do on the coaster's first big drop.
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BRC Imagination Arts, a Southern California design firm, has a proposal on the table that's sure to elate thrill seekers everywhere. According to Pop Sci, BRC wants to build a theme-park ride inspired by NASA's astronaut training airplane, the KC-135, affectionately referred to also as "The Vomit Comet."
During NASA's training flights, the KC-135 does 30 to 40 parabolic dives to create 20 to 25 seconds of weightlessness for soon-to-be astronauts, similar to the microgravity they experience in space.
BRC's zero-gravity ride, essentially does the same thing. Imagine blasting down a straight-away track at 100 miles an hour in a fully enclosed cabin, then taking a sharp, 90 degree turn straight up. As you're launching vertically towards the sky, the ride rapidly decelerates. Safety belts are loose enough that, during deceleration, riders come out of their seat and are suspended in mid-air.
This weightlessness is prolonged for what designers say will be eight seconds, as the coaster begins to fall back down the track. There's even a computer system that monitors the speed of falling passengers to ensure the coaster is travelling fast enough to create zero gravity.
Should the Vomit Comet's coaster cousin cough up a cabin full of ralphing riders, the cars are equipped with drains, and attendants will be ready with hoses when the coaster comes back to Earth.
To build the ride, BRC says they need $50 million. Finding a financial backer could get the proposal off the drawning board and onto the track as close as the end of 2013. Got your check book handy?