Some People Call Me The Space Cowboy

- Steve Miller, "The Joker"
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When my summertime boss at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab asked me at the beginning of 2011 if I were interested in taking a physics experiment this summer aboard NASA's "Weightless Wonder" - the so-called 'Vomit Comet' - I jumped at the chance.
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The Vomit Comet is a specially-equipped airplane that NASA uses for training astronauts in a microgravity environment as well as for projects in NASA's Reduced Gravity Research Program. I'll be taking three physics experiments aboard the 'Comet', fun ones, not too complicated.
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The research team I'm part of consists of four other area science teachers and one of the Assistant Directors of PPPL. We fly to Houston next Thursday (July 21), get some pre-flight training at Johnson Space Center, and then ride the 'Comet' the following Tuesday and Wednesday, with half of our team flying on each of the days. Our team calls itself the Space Cowboys, which seems pretty appropriate to me for a NASA project based in Texas. We've been spending the past few weeks designing and building our apparatus, and today we ship it to Houston to await our arrival there next week.
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More about the Weightless Wonder and the experiments us Cowboys are taking on board in the next couple posts.

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