Is Zero-G on the ISS fake?

A quick search of “Is the ISS fake” will bring a plethora of “proofs” that detail why the International Space Station is all fluff. One major area space-deniers point out is zero-g.

People claim that any weightlessness that astronauts display is either due to zero-g planes, or to suspension. While these are ways to simulate weightlessness, they don’t apply to space expeditions.

And here’s why!


Do They simulate zero-G in planes?

This one always crops up in debates. The idea is that the ISS background is built in a regular aeroplane, which then falls downwards at an angle of 45 degrees. This will simulate weightlessness as the plane accelerates downwards.

Yes this does simulate zero-g, and is used in astronaut training, but can’t last for more than half a minute.

Services that provide zero-g simulation can’t exceed an altitude of 35’000 feet. At high altitudes planes must travel faster to stay in flight rather than at low altitudes. But also, the speed of sound decreases with altitude, and planes are not made to exceed that. If a plane gets too high, you can get some dangerous shock waves above it!

Zero-g planes are like normal planes and cannot surpass sound, so the limit in distance means simulations last only 20 – 25 seconds each.



Is Zero-g made by harnesses?

The longer way to simulate zero-g is by suspending astronauts with wires and harnesses.

Okay, let’s assume this were true. That for long interviews, they are suspended.

Would astronauts be able to flip around, or somersault if they were suspended? No. Even with green screens and cables, editing out thin wires will result in a tacky and suspicious video.

Would non-suspended objects also seem to be floating in mid air? No.

Well then take a look at this interview from Expedition 28. Both astronauts’ necklaces are clearly not suspended and are floating for the entire 19 minutes. AND, exactly 8 minutes in, the crew are asked if they’re free-floating. One of them does a full turn, revealing no suspension mechanisms.

That’s it for this week. I was inspired to write this after seeing some comments on ISS footage that was not very well thought-out. Next week will be on Supernovae!


  1. I used to know a guy who insisted the ISS does not exist. I told him I’d seen it with my own eyes and offered to take him out one night with my telescope so he could see it too. It obviously takes some planning to do it, but it can be done! He did not take me up on that offer, but still I made my point.


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