'There was nothing holding me down': Man describes experience on zero-gravity flight

He experienced the wonder of zero-gravity flight and no longer being bound to his wheelchair.


Sawyer Rosenstein, 27, is a news producer at sister station WPBF and also a self-proclaimed "space geek."

In October, Rosenstein did something he's dreamed of doing for more than a decade. He flew on a zero-gravity flight.

Astro Access, a group focused on space inclusion, launched a group of disabled scientists, veterans, students, athletes and artists on a historic zero-gravity flight.

It's the first step toward putting a person with a disability in space.

"This is absolutely history," Rosenstein said. "I mean, it's the perfect timing for it because we are right now in the epicenter of space tourism. This is history in the making — flight gets one more step closer. We're basically the first ones, the pioneers, the experimenters trying to figure out the basics of 'OK, how does someone who's paralyzed or someone who can't see or hear handle weightlessness and adapting.'"

Space was not always Rosenstein's passion.

He was a child actor, destined for a career in the arts, until a fateful day in middle school.

"In 2006, I was sucker-punched by a bully in the middle school locker room, totally out of the blue, didn't see it coming," Rosenstein said. "There was not anything that provoked it. Two days later, I woke up to get dressed. I stumbled around, fell on the bed and that was the last time I walked. May 18, 2006."

When asked what the zero-gravity flight will mean to him, Rosenstein said, "For the first time in many years. I will not be bound by the chair. I will not be bound to this earth. I will be able to float, go anywhere and have nothing holding me back. And I think that is what makes this even more special than just making history is to finally be free."

Video below: Sawyer's Modified Space Suit

When the moment finally came, Rosenstein said it was more than he expected.

"It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life," Rosenstein said. "I will never forget it and has changed me forever ... that was one of the amazing things. I didn't hurt in zero gravity. Here on earth, you know, I have back pain. I have neck pain. I have pain from wheeling in my arms.

"All of a sudden we get into floating and at one point I just noticed, my body feels really good. Gravity is really a hindrance. There was nothing holding me down. Not a chair, not society, not gravity. Nothing."

Video below: A part of Delray Beach took the trip with Sawyer