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Click on the images below
to view 360 images
of the KC-135
KC-135 Interior view
Click here to see the interior of the KC-135.
KC-135 Cockpit
Click here to see the cockpit of the KC-135.
KC-135 bottom
Click here to see the underside of the KC-135.
 
 
 




KC-135 Operations Facility:

Facility Description


At NASA's Johnson Space Center, there is a microgravity research aircraft, a KC-135 Low-G Flight Research aircraft (a predecessor of the Boeing 707) which is typically used for refueling military aircraft. The four-engine turbojet has been modified to meet NASA's needs to train astronaut and conduct microgravity research. The biggest difference is the way that it is used to fly parabolas to create 20-25 seconds of weightlessness so that the astronauts can experience and researchers can investigate the effects of "zero" gravity. A typical mission is 2 to 3 hours long and consists of 30 to 40 parabolas. These parabolas can be flown in succession or with short breaks between maneuvers to reconfigure test equipment. The gut wrenching effects have earned this aircraft its famous nickname: "The Vomit Comet."

KC-135 diagram

As NASA's lead center for microgravity research in the areas of fluid physics and combustion science, Glenn hosts the KC-135 for 6-10 weeks each year in support of its ground-based microgravity research. Some flights include astronauts participating in crew training so that they can have low-g experience with experiment hardware prior to shuttle missions.


Facility Capabilities

KC-135A Aircraft A four-engine turbojet aircraft similar to the commercial Boeing 707 Crew: Pilot, copilot, flight engineer, and two reduced gravity test directors Electrical power available 28VDC, 80 amps 110VAC, 400 Hz, single phase, 50 amps 110VAC, 400 Hz, three phase, 50 amps per phase 110VAC, 60 Hz, single phase, 120 amps
Most test equipment bolted to the floor using 20-inch tiedown grid attachment points Vent/vacuum system to dump fluids overboard Cargo bay test area is 60 ft long, 10 ft wide, and 7 ft high photographic lights Air and nitrogen sources available.

KC-135 cross section

KC-135A Cabin Cross Section

 

Ground Facilities

  • Test equipment build-up area
  • Briefing room
  • Fax and telephones

Contact Information

KC-135 Operations Facility
Facility Manager: Jim Withrow
216-433-8315
Email: James.P.Withrow@grc.nasa.gov

Kathy Schubert
Multi-Discipline Program Manager
Functional Resource Manager
(216) 433-5331

Microgravity Science Division
NASA Glenn Research Center
21000 Brookpark Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44135
URL: http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov

NASA Glenn Research Center
21000 Brookpark Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44135
216-433-4000


 

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Responsible NASA person:
Kathleen.E.Schubert
Kathleen.E.Schubert@grc.nasa.gov

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This page was last updated on
Thursday, 21 April, 2005 7:18 AM

This page maintained by:
Tim Reckart, Zin Technologies, Inc.
tim.reckart@grc.nasa.gov