During a ceremony on Friday during which Armadillo Aerospace was honored for the winning the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin announced that the space agency would be outsourcing most of its microgravity parabolic flights to Zero-G Corporation.
“We have conducted several flight tests with the Zero-G Corporation to determine whether they can meet the requirements for microgravity experiments that are currently performed on the government C-9 aircraft,” he said. “These test flights included five experiments from small businesses developing technology under the auspices of NASAâ€™s SBIR program. While the tests are not yet complete, project managers are confident that Zero-G can meet NASAâ€™s needs.
Thus, we are planning for the transition of all microgravity flight activities from the NASA C-9 to the commercial aircraft, while the C-9 continues to support Space Shuttle operations and acts as a backstop for the commercial microgravity service if necessary,” he added.
NASA signed a one-year contract with the company earlier this year with options for extensions.