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Orbite’s Head of Astronaut Training, Brienna Rommes, becomes certified weightless instructor on two continents

By Brienna Rommes

Orbite’s Chief Astronaut Instructor and Director of Astronaut Programs, Brienna Rommes, became the only American currently certified on two continents for both the French AirZeroG by Novespace weightlessness program and on the US ZeroG Corporation program on Friday February 25th, 2022. With her recent international microgravity instructor certification, Brienna has now performed 208 parabolas and accumulated over 26 hours flight time on 13 different weightlessness flights.

In her role at Orbite, Brienna coaches individuals interested in space experiences (some of which plan to really buy a ticket to space) how to operate, be safe, and enjoy themselves in space by training them onboard weightless microgravity flights, high “G” flights, immersive VR spacecraft simulations, and more. This certification adds to her existing certifications and brings an international instructor status and a heightened level of expertise and safety to Orbite’s training and experience programs.

After completing her final instructor training flight on the Airbus A310 at Novespace headquarters in Bordeaux, France, Brienna came back to the US to be the coach for ZeroG’s Boeing 727 aircraft; coaching weightless flights in two continents one week apart.

Based in the Bordeaux-Mérignac airport area, Novespace operates some thirty microgravity parabolic flights a year, mainly for space agencies (including CNES, ESA, DLR and JAXA) as part of their scientific and technical research programs. Novespace has 8 instructors worldwide, now 9. They are a subsidiary of the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES) which is a member of the European Space Agency (ESA); the European equivalent of NASA in the USA. They support the training of astronauts and help conduct research experiments for space. The consumer AirZero G flight program, was initiated by Jean-François Clervoy, an ESA astronaut and President of the Board of Directors at Novespace, in 2013. Astronaut Jean-Francoise was also the individual to present Brienna’s certificate and announce her as a certified Novespace Instructor to the team, a great honor for Brienna and the Orbite team.

Brienna has been a coach for the weightless flights for the US ZeroG program and recently coached parabolic flights on March 5th and March 13 (with Astronaut moonwalker Charlie Duke) from the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Launch and Landing Facility (LLF). ZeroG has been operating commercial flights since August 2004 and is the main weightless provider for the United States.