Converting Airbus airliners for 'space flight'

Mark Ayton outlines the Zero-G programme operated by Novespace from Bordeaux airport in France.

Novespace, a subsidiary of the French National Centre for Space Studies, dubbed CNES, operated an A300 to fly parabolic flights from its base at the Bordeaux-Merignac airfield in southwest France. The organisation first led this scientifically-crucial programme in 1989 with a Sud Caravelle IV. The behemoth was retired in 1995 when the organisation placed A300B2 F-BUAD (msn 003) into service as its Zero-G aircraft. The A300 retired in 2014 after 17 years of scientific-led operations, the completion of 102 scientific flight campaigns, 13,183 parabolas and the equivalent of 80 accumulated hours of weightlessness. Missions flown from Merignac take place in reserved airspace above the Gulf of Gascogne.

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