Novespace, subsidiary of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) created in 1986, uses the ZERO-G A300 Airbus that she owns to serve global clients, for research and testing purposes, mainly for parabolic flights.
Parabolic flights show great flexibility accessing microgravity and enable a wide range of scientific experimentations and technological trials. Compared to other means to access zero gravity (sounding rockets, free fall towers, orbital flights, etc.) they offer a much bigger effective volume and the possibility for scientists to act on their experiences in real time with a much lower cost.
The CNES and the European Space Agency (ESA), partner of the “parabolic flights” program, are financing maintenance operations for the aircraft. Maintenance and preparation of the aircraft to the flights are managed by Sabena Technics. In-flight operations are realized by the test flight department of the Military General Direction (DGA).
Today, Novespace operates mainly the ZERO-G A300 for parabolic flights, mais also uses it as an aerolifted platform for trial and measure means. Novespace therefore organized three observation missions for the recovery of the Cryothecnic Main Floor (EPC) of the Ariane 5 for the CNES.