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Armchair astronauts fly weightless in California

Zero-G inks a deal with NASA in Silicon Valley so that the company can fly its commercial weightless flights on G-Force One from the space agency's Moffett Field.

It just got a little easier to have that weightless feeling in California, if you're willing to spend $3,500.

NASA Ames Research Center, based in Silicon Valley, has teamed up with Las Vegas-based Zero Gravity (Zero-G) to host commercial flights that allow passengers to experience several minutes of weightlessness. Under the agreement, called the Reimbursable Space Act Agreement, NASA will let Zero-G park its aircraft, a modified Boeing 727-200 called G-Force One, on the Moffett airfield and take off from its runway. Under contract with NASA, the two organizations will collaborate on research and astronaut training this fall.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Zero-G will reimburse NASA for the use of the runway and support costs.

The first Zero-G flight from Ames is scheduled for this Saturday, but the flight is already sold out. Tickets on Zero-G's roughly 90-minute flight cost $3,500, according to the company. It plans to book more flights for this year. Similarly in 2006, Zero-G began flying its craft from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That year, it flew up to seven flights per week.

"We are honored to be able to fly from Moffett Field and allow our passengers the opportunity to fly like Superman and float in midair just like NASA astronauts from an actual NASA center," Zero-G Chairman Peter Diamandis said in a statement.