Press Release

Student From Howard University Middle School of Math and Science Goes Weightless With Zero Gravity Corporation

By SpaceRef Editor
October 6, 2009
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Student From Howard University Middle School of Math and Science Goes Weightless With Zero Gravity Corporation

Fourteen-Year-Old Leaunteen Barnes Experienced Zero Gravity to Help Inspire Other Students

This past weekend Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G(R)), the first and only FAA-approved provider of commercial weightless flights, hosted its exclusive ZERO-G Weightless Experience in Washington D.C. ZERO-G awarded 14-year-old Leaunteen Barnes of Howard University Middle School of Math and Science the Zero Gravity Striving for STEM Excellence Award. ZERO-G awarded Barnes the unique opportunity to experience complete weightlessness after she was recognized by her school as the most improved student.

Since 2005, ZERO-G has created numerous educational programs focused on math and science. This incredible opportunity for Barnes is another example of ZERO-G’s ongoing initiatives to inspire STEM education through innovative programs that give educators and students a hands-on understanding of space exploration in microgravity.

This was Barnes’ first time on an airplane. “It was so amazing. I never thought that I could do anything like that ever in my life,” she said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to fly like Superman, and do other things that I can’t do on Earth!”

Barnes’ opportunity allowed her to flip and float onboard G-FORCE ONE, ZERO-G’s specially modified Boeing 727-200 aircraft. While attending one of D.C.’s top-flight public charter middle schools, she continues to surpass the complexities of the schools’ rigorous curriculum and has accepted the challenge to succeed.

“Leaunteen Barnes is a perfect representation of our school and what it means to be a Howard University Middle School of Math and Science student. Even though she came to us from a severely disadvantaged elementary school, she and her family dedicated themselves to doing the hard work that it takes to remain in good standing here at our school,” said Yohance Maqubela, CFO of Howard University Middle School of Math and Science. “Over the course of her three years here with us, she has raised her own academic bar to become an honors student. Now in eighth grade, and her final year with us, she is clearly one of our most improved students.”

ZERO-G was proud to award the weightless flight to Barnes as she will continue to excel in education and inspire her fellow classmates, by stimulating interests in science and math. The weightless flight will become an invaluable resource to Barnes as she will be able to showcase her experience and explain the real-world applications of math and science in this exciting environment. As the most extreme, hands-on learning experience, ZERO-G was honored to present this opportunity to Barnes.

“We selected Leaunteen because she is a role model for other students. With hard work and determination, there is no doubt in our minds that she will achieve her dreams and continue to excel in the classroom,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.

The experience offered by ZERO-G is the only commercial opportunity on Earth for individuals to experience true “weightlessness” without going to space. This is the identical weightless flight experience used by NASA to train its astronauts and used by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks to film Apollo-13.

Each ZERO-G mission is designed for maximum fun. The aircraft’s interior is a zero gravity playroom, complete with padded floors and walls and video cameras to record the unforgettable moments. When experiencing zero gravity, guests can flip like an Olympic gymnast, pour water in the air and watch the droplets hover before their eyes, release a handful of M&M’s and chase them down like a game of human Pac-Man, and enjoy 10-times more hang-time than the world’s best basketball player. It’s not simulated; ZERO-G replicates the same levels of weightlessness enjoyed on Mars (1/3-gravity), the moon (1/6-gravity), and zero gravity.

About ZERO-G

Zero Gravity Corporation is a privately held space entertainment and tourism company whose mission is to make the excitement and adventure of weightlessness accessible to the public. ZERO-G is the first and only FAA-approved provider of weightless flight to the general public, as well as the entertainment and film industries; corporate and incentive market; non-profit research and education sectors; and government.

Founded in 1993, ZERO-G is led by a world-class team of veteran astronauts and experienced business leaders. The company was co-founded by X PRIZE Chairman and space visionary, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis; veteran astronaut, Dr. Byron K. Lichtenberg, and NASA Engineer Ray Cronise. The team spent more than a decade working to bring the marvel of weightless flight to the public.

Since launching the ZERO-G Experience in September 2004, the company has conducted more than 175 weightless flights and flown over 5,000 members of the public, including celebrities and media personalities, corporate charters, science and math teachers, and individuals age eight to 93.

ZERO-G operates under the highest safety standards as set by the FAA (Part-121) with its partner Amerijet International of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Aircraft operations take place under the same regulations set for large commercial passenger airliners.

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For More Information:
Tom Dietz
Kirvin Doak Communications

SpaceRef staff editor.