Ellington Field: June 11, 2015
As many years as I’ve be going over to Ellington, I’ve always thought I need to take time to get a couple evening shots of its iconic gate guard that greets you when you drive through the main entrance, Challenger Drive. It’s a KC-135A “Zero Gravity Trainer” that NASA used to introduce astronauts and engineers in training to a zero gravity environment. During training, the aircraft would climb steeply and then dive down creating zero gravity. At this point the astronauts became weightless and would “float” inside the cabin. As you can imagine, some trainees became ill in the zero-G enviornment so it didn’t take long before it was dubbed the “Vomit Comet”.
This particular airframe was known as NASA 903 (the 903 coming from its aircraft registration number). It served NASA from 1973 to 1995 and upon retirement from service was placed on display at Ellington.
The other photograph is of a NASA hangar where they house the WB-57 among other airframes. There’s no mistaking it in the fore-front of the picture with its long drooping wings.
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