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Ecuador Builds Plane Producing Microgravity
    2008-05-20 10:34:42     Xinhua
The Ecuadorian Space Agency has built the first Latin American plane that can produce a period of microgravity, the Agency said Monday.

The plane, a Sabreliner T-39, will be used for scientific experiments and for training astronauts, Ronnie Nader, director of special operations at the Agency, told the media.

The plane must reach its highest altitude and descend in a 47 degrees angle to produce microgravity for some 25 seconds before leveling off.

Microgravity is a state of very low gravity, but not perfect weightlessness. Nader said the crew floats inside the plane during the period of microgravity.

Developing the microgravity plane is part of the scientific Dedalo program that will last 10 years, Nader said, adding that the plane will use a gravimeter of its own design to measure the microgravity.

Nader said his professional fellows in the United States and Russia had refused to give him technical information during the development process.

The plane will be used to train 10 young people between 12 and 16 years old who will later become astronauts, he said.
 
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