Solar System Express is in the process of designing a suit that will literally take skydiving to a whole new level. The future of skydiving for the ultimate thrill seeker in the future will be skydiving in a space suit, known as the RL MARK VI Space Diving Suit, from outside of earth’s atmosphere!
Yes, you read that correctly. The participant will be launched out of Earth’s atmosphere to altitudes of over 130,000 feet, at which point they will unstrap themselves from the launch rocket and they will “skydive” back to Earth’s surface.
In order to make this possible, Solar System Express had to make the suit from lightweight layers of aerogel and NASA Space Shuttle-like flexible insulation blankets to protect the jumper from the lack of atmosphere, pressure, and air to breathe at that level of elevation.
And as if skydiving for 130,000 feet was not thrilling enough, the suit will not have a parachute. Instead, the jumper will have miniature aerospike engines on his boots which will allow him to decelerate and then make an incredible two-footed landing (think Iron Man). Gyroscopic boots will kick in at lower elevation to ensure a level and controlled descent using the aerospike engines. Testing for this landing technique will take place in 2016.
Also like Iron Man, the RL MARK VI Space Diving Suit will have an interactive screen in the helmet. The technology of this is much like that of Google glass: projected information in the wearer’s field of view. Info like fuel levels, altitude, speed, acceleration, heart rate, and internal temperature of the suit will all be displayed using “optical see-through” technology rather than real time video.
Another creative feature of the suit will be a “high intensity LED chest piece” powered by energy-storing super capacitors and equipped with miniature stereo cameras. This will collect much of the data about the jump and will allow for the recreation of the jump in a 3D computer simulation!
So I think that this suit concept clearly is in competition with my previous post about Yves Rossy’s jet propelled wing in terms of today’s version of an Iron Man suit. It amazes me that we have the technology to even consider strapping rockets to an untrained person’s feet. This shows the designers trust in the ability of the gyroscopic boots to stabilize a person in free-fall and allow them to land on Earth on both feet without the use of a parachute. If this becomes even remotely affordable, skydiving from outer space will definitely be the next addition to my bucket list.