The Aircraft

Novespace – Our partner

Novespace, subsidiary of the CNES, founded in 1986, owns and operates the Airbus ZERO-G. Novespace organizes in-flight tests and research activities for worldwide customers mainly on parabolic flights. For more than 16 years, Novespace has been organizing over 120 parabolic flight campaigns on board the A300 and A310 ZERO-G for international space agencies (CNES, ESA, DLR, JAXA), for technological investigations and scientific research.

17 years of reliable service

After 17 years of loyal service, the European workhorse for microgravity research on parabolic flights, the Airbus A300 ZERO-G operated by Novespace (France), was retired at the end of October 2014. Its successor, an Airbus A310, conducted its first microgravity flight campaign in spring 2015. The Airbus A300 was the world´s largest airplane used for gravity research. The success of this aircraft is supported by the long list of customers which includes ESA, CNES, DLR, JAXA, industrial customers and private commercial flights.

The new Airbus ZERO-G

The A300 offered hundreds of international resear­chers access to weightlessness and reduced-gravity for experiments and investigations in simulated lunar and martian gravity. The successor aircraft is the Airbus A310 “Konrad Adenauer” from the German Air Force, previously used by the German government for official travel and diplomatic business. In summer 2014, the new A310 (Airbus ZERO-G) successfully flew its qualification flights from Bordeaux-Mérignac airport.

Highest safety standards

The A310 was modified by Lufthansa Technik and underwent final qualification in March 2015 with the European Aviation Safety Agency and the French Civil Aviation Authority. The pilots of the A310 ZERO-G are test pilots from French Test Flight Center DGA, in charge of aircraft manufacturer follow-up. All of them have accumulated a high experience of parabolic flights on the Airbus ZERO-G. CNES, the ESA and the DLR are the main partners and users of the parabolic flight program. Benefits generated by other flights help to fund European microgravity research. Novespace relies on recognized European maintenance organizations and on experienced crew.