Rather than resorting to suspending the actors from wire or using camera tricks or CG effects, director Ron Howard instead decided to have his actors actually experience weightlessness for the movie. To properly depict the lack of gravity in space, the Apollo 13 actors were filmed riding in NASA’s KC-135 weightless trainer, aka the “Vomit Comet”. The Vomit Comet is a plane used to simulate weightlessness for astronauts. It’s a hollowed-out Boeing 707 with padded walls that allows its passengers to be gravity-free by taking a steep dive from 30,000 feet in the air.
Howard went on the Vomit Comet with actors Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Kevin Bacon, producer Kevin Hallowell, and members of the film’s crew, to shoot the scenes that take place on the Apollo 13 spacecraft. Astonishingly, a trip on the Vomit Comet only provided 23 seconds of weightlessness, so they had to take multiple trips to record all the footage they needed.