Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Unstructured Space Dive

Space Jump

What you see here is an artists conception of an experimental emergency reentry suit, that's actually on the drawing boards, which is supposed to give astronauts a last ditch option for returning to earth if their vehicle is incapacitated. The idea is that they literally do a high dive from orbit into atmosphere.

If Richard Branson is really serious about promoting space tourism, he ought to market this as the next extreme sport.


Marvin the Martian said...

What's interesting is the motivation for such research. The space shuttle never had a suitable escape system, but now we're returning to an Apollo Mk 2-style capsule for future exploration, which DOES have an escape system for the entire capsule. But if the capsule is damaged or destroyed, how to save the astronauts? The suit is a response to that question.

But the REAL question is, how would the capsule BECOME damaged or destroyed? I think NASA and the military are less concerned about equipment failure (the rocket exploding), and more concerned about an actual attack on a space flight, such as from orbiting laser or kinetic weapons, or from other forces unknown.

I find that worrisome.

magidin said...

There are other possible sources of damage. Just the sheer amount of space junk flying around is beginning to tax NASAs ability to keep track of it, and the more flights, the more junk. An errant set of pliers could very easily cause extreme damage to a capsule. Or even something like what happened to Apollo 13.

Marvin the Martian said...

True indeed. The first person to start a business that cleans up all the garbage in orbit is going to be very rich.

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