Kate Upton's zero gravity bikini photo shoot for Sport Illustrated's
50th Anniversary Swimsuit issue hit newsstands on Tuesday, but the pics were taken almost a year ago.
The 21-year-old buxom, blonde beauty is seen floating weightless through the air courtesy of Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G), a privately held space entertainment and tourism company based out of Arlington, VA.
"The ZERO-G experience was really exhilarating for everyone involved," MJ Day, editor of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, said in a statement. "We have been almost everywhere in the past 50 years with SI Swimsuit, but we have never done anything like this. It was certainly the most out-of-the-box shoot. Once again, Kate surprised us all with how she handled modeling in weightlessness."
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"In my experience at Sports Illustrated, it's about the adventure," Upton added in a behind-the-scenes video for the Sports Illustrated website
. "It's so hard to explain how it feels. You're weightless, you're floating around, you have no control. But I got the hang of it."
Though the photos are just being released this week, the zero gravity shoot took actually took place on March 18, 2013, Space.com reported
In order to obtain zero gravity, Upton along with the Sports Illustrated camera crew were flown several thousand feet above the Earth's surface in a modified Boeing 727. The plane then took several downward slopes that resulted in second intervals of zero gravity being experienced in the planes padded cargo area, giving it a NASA-like backdrop.
According to ZERO-G, the company flew a total of 13 weightless parabola arches and four parabola arches that simulated lunar gravity, Space.com noted.
In addition to changing from a golden one-piece bathing to a golden two-piece during the flight, Upton also floated alongside balloons and drops of water. The shoot apparently took four years to plan, according to a member of the production crew as heard in the video seen below.
The cover photo of the 50th Anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was actually shot in Antarctica last year, according to Upton.
"It took two days to get down there and we were on the ship for six days," Upton told CBS News
. "To say it was an adventure was a complete understatement. I was in a bikini, which I don't recommend to anybody. But it was the most beautiful place I've ever been."
The 21-year-old Upton has to date appeared on three Sports Illustrated covers.
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