Do you want to take off on a small rocket to a height of 100 kilometers, and then jump out of it and in one spacesuit overcome all the way to the surface of the Earth? For money. You say – I’m not a suicide. Wait a minute The authors of this risky venture promise a soft landing – they are developing a system for parachute jumps from space.
One of the leitmotifs of the project was the development of technologies that may later be useful in the development of astronaut rescue tools. The new project pursues the same goal: first working out safe jumps from the stratosphere, and then …
But from the beginning and we will begin. Who are the initiators of the new extreme jumps from space?
The first is Rick Tumlinson, an enthusiast of the private rocket industry, one of the founders of the Space Frontier Foundation and the LunaCorp company, which plans to commercialize the Moon. He also participated in the work of the X PRIZE Foundation, which was famous for a number of comic competitions and also in the work of some other private space projects.
The second is Jonathan Clark, a former NASA on-board doctor, who in 2003 tragically lost his wife – astronaut Laurel Clark, who died in the crash of the Columbia shuttle.
They created the company Orbital Outfitters to develop means for high-altitude jumping, starting with “just great heights” and right up to the individual return of a person from space, moreover with orbital speed, which, however, should not turn the jumping into a burning meteor.
Already in 2009, Orbital Outfitters intends to demonstrate a record parachute jump from a height of 36.6 kilometers; over the next two years, Tamlinson and Clark plan to show the world a man’s jump from a height of 97 kilometers (who exactly will jump — not yet known), and the ultimate goal of the entire project is to safely return an astronaut from astronaut with an parachute jump at orbital speed from a height of over 240 kilometers.
Obviously, in the latter case, the person will need a very fireproof spacesuit. But even jumping from lower altitudes is not an easy task. Nevertheless, the partners are thinking not only about the means of saving astronauts, but also about an unusual business.
Imagine that you are climbing a suborbital trajectory on a small open rocket chair (something like this). At a height of one hundred meters, you contemplate the black sky and the stars, the planet under your feet and … leave the chair. Then you fall to the ground on your own, of course – in a special spacesuit.
During the fall, your speed reaches 4 thousand kilometers per hour, so that without additional heat-shielding layers on top of the suit is not enough. When braking in more dense layers of the atmosphere, the overload will reach 4.4 g, and the temperature of the surface of the suit will jump to 240 degrees.