While most 'spacers' are currently occupied with how to get to space I'm actually more interested in the whys. One of which is space tourism.
Enjoying the view from a space hotel while learning to eat in reduced gravity might be a suitable challenge for those who think merely going to space is risky enough. Others will need more. Returning to Earth equipped with a parachute and pressure suit - spacediving - might be one of those.
Building on feats by the likes of Captain Joe Kittinger in 1960*, Canadian Arrow is proposing a new type of extreme sport [they] call "spacediving".
Canadian Arrow concieves of a future where "spacedivers may routinely take 60-second rocket fights to the edge of space, proceed to jump out, and while wearing a counter pressure suit, will free fall to earth from 40 miles or more. Even today, reaching 120,000 ft to make a high altitude jump requires a balloon ride of many hours. By contrast, a sub-orbital rocket could take skydivers from the ground to this altitude in just minutes!"
There are practical benefits as well. Canadian Arrow posits "this type of extreme sport could bring about a revolution in spacesuit design ... a self contained ballistic recovery system could be designed to bring a spacediver safely to the ground."
It makes me wonder if this might also be effective for anyone stranded on a space elevator or for emergency evacuation of low-orbit industrial or tourist facilities.
Canadian Arrow plans continue to explore spacediving while in the construction phase of building their sub-orbital rockets.
* William Thomas' Convergence Weekly has an excellent description of Kittinger's exploits in his SpaceDivers article.
Labels: space commercialisation, space tourism