week of August 16, 2014

Qatar goes weightless

Camilla Greene
Zero G
Zero Gravity
Lebanese Rocket Society

The Arab world has long dreamed of Outer Space. Representing a region whose ambition extended well beyond the sky, in 1964 the Lebanese Rocket Society successfully launched, at the height of the space race, eight rockets beyond the Karman line (which conventionally marks the start of interplanetary space). Overwhelmed by politics, Arabic cosmic ambitions have lain low since 1967. But next year Swiss company S3 is bringing a taste of Space back to the Middle East and North Africa. Landing at a runway near you, S3’s Zero-G world tour includes stop-offs at four Arab countries: Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Morocco, where, for a fee of between 10,000QR (just under $3000 US) and 244,000QR (around $67,000 US), S3’s zero gravity planes will perform 15 parabolas in 90 minutes, each providing between 20 and 25 seconds of weightlessness.

Though this might sound expensive for under four minutes of anti-gravity, it remains the only way to live out your Superman fantasies save waiting for companies, such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spacecraft (who will charge $50,000 - 182,075 QR - for five minutes of weightlessness) or Abu Dhabi's Space Adventures to finally colonise the sky. And it sure is easier than building your own rocket.

Sign up for Zero G in 2015 here.

Find out more about the Lebanese Rocket Society.