It’s a week for space junkies. Yesterday, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket, and today, a zero-g rave launched from Frankfurt, Germany. Thrown by events company BigCityBeats in conjunction with help from the European Space Agency, the flight was DJed by Steve Aoki and W&W, and had only 20 attendees.
The event, called World Club Dome Zero Gravity, used a specially converted A310 aircraft, a model first developed by Airbus for commercial use that was later adopted by European aerospace manufacturers. It’s currently used by the European Space Agency (ESA) for astronaut training flights. The flight took off from Frankfurt Airport and lasted 90 minutes in total, with 20 partygoers, the DJs, and two European Space Agency astronauts on board. The event also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the launch of the ESA’s Columbus Laboratory Module to the International Space Station. This is actually the second zero-g rave to ever happen — the first happened in 2016, DJed by Mike Cervello.
A zero-g flight works by making parabolic flight maneuvers. Basically, having a plane go very high, followed by a very quick drop, like a roller coaster. For about 25–30 seconds, weightlessness is experienced and then gravity comes back at a maximum of 1.8 Gs as the plane starts to climb again. The company tells me those on board experienced a total of 25 minutes of total weightlessness, which is, um, a lot.
What was it probably like for those trying to dance on the flight? The Verge’s own science editor Liz Lopatto recently did a zero-g flight. She says no preparation is needed for these flights and you can absolutely control your movements and dance in zero-g. However, it’s obviously quite different. “People were doing handstands,” she says of her experience. “You could potentially get breakdancers to do really sick moves if they can adjust to not having to push very hard. Basically, you just need strong abs to dance in space, since moving your legs happens without help from gravity.”
As far as actually DJing in weightless conditions, it will be interesting to see once the full video comes out how the equipment was anchored, if the interior of the plane got any special acoustic treatment, and how the DJs dealt with mixing while continually going from periods of floating around to experiencing gravity. One of the artists, W&W, told BigCityBeats today just before the flight, “We’re nervous. There’s no going back now, is there? I don’t know how we’re going to mix. We’re just going to float away, aren’t we?” In the clip below you can see the DJ in the back lift up along with everyone else once zero-g hits.
What a fabulous 24 hours for space. We’re one step closer to reaching Mars and to attending intergalactic rave performances dedicated to Noob-Noob. Both noble pursuits. You can watch more from the flight here (and jump to 2:37:00 to skip all the pre-footage).