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By Jennifer Sangalang, Florida Today

Melbourne, FL (Florida Today) -- Supermodel Kate Upton's making waves and paying homage to her Space Coast roots.

The 21-year-old uber model donned a bikini for her photo shoot with Zero Gravity Corp. ZERO-G for Sports Illustrated's 50th swimsuit issue. The photos, which a news release states were taken in March, show Upton floating in mid-air, similar to astronauts floating in zero gravity.

The issue is on newsstands now.

Upton had a small role in "The Three Stooges" and recently filmed the comedy "The Other Woman" with Cameron Diaz, Nicki Minaj and Leslie Mann. It's set to be released in 2014. Upton attended Holy Trinity in Melbourne.

"The ZERO-G experience was really exhilarating for everyone involved," MJ Day, editor of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, said in the news release. "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."

She joins an elite list of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covergirls - she donned the Si cover in 2012 and 2013. Supermodels Tyra Banks, Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova, Elle Macpherson, and Kathy Ireland have been featured on the cover at least twice.

Upton flew out of Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, and according to Kim Paschke, the photo shoot happened on a weekend. Bristow Air Center helped organize the shoot, Paschke said.

James Drummond, a line service technician at Bristow, said he was at the photo shoot back in March, and the five or six local Bristow techs kept things very discreet. Drummond said about 50 people were at Space Coast Regional Airport, the majority made up of Sports Illustrated's entourage of photographers, makeup artists and staff.

ZERO-G offers individuals a chance to experience weightlessness without going to space, the news release states. "They do parabolic flights, an up-and-down motion with zero-gravity effect for an estimated 45 seconds to a minute," Drummond explained. "Imagine her trying to get a good shot while she's floating for that long."

Drummond wasn't familiar with Upton before the photo shoot, which features the supermodel in a gold two-piece string bikini, but he knows who she is now. "Yes, indeed," he said.

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