Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Would You Like to Skydive from Orbit?

Have you ever dreamed of skydiving from orbit? Yes, this means jumping out of a spaceship in space to return to earth with a parachute! This has been described in one of the Star Trek novels, authored by William Shatner, that chronicles the later adventures of Captain Kirk. But that's fiction. This is real. A company called Orbital Outfitters is designing a suit that will serve the purpose, either for recreation or emergency vehicular escape purposes.

Rick Tumlinson, founder of the Space Frontier Foundation and Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon whose wife, astronaut Laurel Clark, died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, are behind it all. They are designing a suit that can withstand extreme environments---from the airless chill of space to the burning heat of reentry. Indeed, this daredevil spacesuit might just as well be Iron Man's costume.

A new sport called spacediving is envisioned to become popular once commercial flights into space become commonplace. The developers say it will be the ultimate extreme sport.

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