The pop band OK Go, known for its whacky choreographed videos on treadmills and in a Rube Goldberg machine, has created a music video in a zero gravity aircraft that’s creating a huge buzz on social media.
“Upside Down & Inside Out”, which was released directly to Facebook Thursday, was shot onboard a S7 Airlines zero-gravity airplane.
S7 Airlines, a Russian regional airline based in Moscow, flies to more than 85 destinations, the majority of which are domestic. But they do serve international destinations, including Austria, Armenia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates.
The airline’s joint venture with the band was meant to raise its profile, which we can assume has already been achieved. (The music video has already been viewed over 27 million times.)
So what’s an American rock band doing working with a Russian domestic carrier?
The airline has an outfitted anti-gravity aircraft –a Russian Ilyushin Il-76 --which allows passengers to experience weightlessness for about 25 seconds at a time. That’s possible because pilots fly in a wave-like path—similar to a really crazy roller coaster ride, with ascents of 45 degrees and nose dives of 30 degrees. The result, called parabolic motion, creates the sensation of zero gravity for passengers. These flights have been affectionately called “vomit comets” --for obvious reasons.
OK Go has a fascinating explanation of how, for their video, they made 21 flights, with 15 zero gravity parabolas per flight, for a total of about two hours and fifteen minutes in weightlessness—all without anyone getting sick. The band traveled to Moscow to get three weeks of training at the Roscosmos State Corporation center, Russia’s space science program. Also a note of interest, the two spinning flight attendants in the video are real S7 crew members who happened to have acrobatic training.
Zero-gravity flights were originally used to train astronauts. NASA's Reduced Gravity Program began in 1959. But over the past decade they have been used for gravity-free movie shots-- like “Apollo 13”, "Gravity" and photo shoots like Kate Upton’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit with Zero Gravity Corp.
Now these flights are going mainstream as experiences for thrill-seeking tourists with some money to burn. Russia’s Space Affairs has a zero gravity experience for tourist that costs about $6,7000; French company Novespace allows the public to experience a parabolic flight in an outfitted IL-76 cargo jet for about the same price. Zero Gravity Corp., in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has one for the non-super model population for about $5000.
If you're brave enough, you’ll likely have to get a medical exam before you go, good insurance--oh, and a barf bag.