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back to article Spacesuit entrepreneurs plan parachute jumps from orbit

A former Nasa flight surgeon who lost his astronaut wife in the Columbia space shuttle disaster has teamed up with a self-described "bad boy" space commentator to mount trials in which humans would descend from orbit skydiver-style. Laurel Clark, a mission specialist, died along with her fellow crew members when the shuttle …

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Records are made to be broken

About five years, a woman skydiver was making plans to do a jump from 108,000 ft via a balloon. I have no idea what happened to that, probably money.

The Starship Troopers movie was crap. RAH was spinning in his grave.

Oh yeah, records. Except 755.

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Capt. Kirk did it first...

... in a filmed but unused scene from Star Trek:Generations - it's on the special edition DVD. Aparently 'Orbital skydiving' is listed as one of Kirk's hobbies.

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Silver badge

Roughnecks

"Sadly the cool motorised armour, drop capsules, hand flamers etc didn't appear in the film"

Nope, but some or all of them did appear in the kid's TV spinoff, Roughnecks. Remember watching that when I was somewhat younger. Damn good series.

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Anonymous Coward

NASA Tests

Be darned if I can't remember the name of man or the test; there was a documentary on tests done by NASA which culminated with a man jumping from a weather balloon where, in true US style, his glove wouldn't seal properly but he refused to terminate the test, exposing his hand to frost bite low pressure, etc His test was successful, great footage ... laughed about his ass hitting the atmosphere at about 2 or 3 times the speed of sound ... if anyone can recall the name of the project, the name of the tester, or provide a link to video footage that would be great.

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Anonymous Coward

Wouldn't it be better to use a small capsule?

If they made the whole passanger cabin of an orbiter detachable or installed a separate escape pod, it would be doable without developing new technologies. Actually the international space station uses an escape capsule just like this, it's called the soyuz reentry module. It comes complete with an orbital and a service module and a guaranteed 6 month shelf life. By stripping everything but the reentry capsule and a pack of solid fuel rockets for deorbiting, it can be used as a compact ecape pod.

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Silver badge

Surfing is Cooler

Parachutes are a bit dorky for the chic millionaire set, aren't they? Why not give them a high-tech surf-board each and they could descend in the style of Brian Narelle in John Carpenter's "Dark Star".

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Anonymous Coward

Dark Star...

...has one of the survivors of "Let there be light" surfing into atmosphere on a fragment of debris. Hope whoever pilots this scheme comes to ground rather more intact...

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Orbital Decay

Alan Steele, in his book "Orbital Decay" described a practical self de-orbiting emergency kit, but even in fiction, it was admitted that the character that used it was the first to have the temerity to give it a go.

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Extra vehicular activity ?

"despite having left the plane at three times the speed of sound"

Where did he go ? Did he 'pop out' for a ciggy break ?

Duncan E.

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Joseph Kittinger

In 1960 Captain Joseph Kittinger of US Air Force bailed out of a polyethylene plastic balloon at 31,354 m setting a new altitude record for balloon flight and a new record for parachute descent.

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He probably followed the Starfleet Survival Guide

http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Starfleet_Survival_Guide

The Starfleet Survival Guide has a section about surviving Atmospheric re-entry in a pressure suit - no parachutes involved.

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Video of Jump

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-369888258105653405

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Before jumping read Freefall by Tom Read

True story of an attempt to break Joseph Kittinger's record, all was going well until read had a schizophrenic episode and stabbed his girlfriend. Incredible, brutally honest book well worth hunting down. I'm not saying that the freefall was the cause but it might make you think before signing up

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Where do i sign?

I'd sell my wife and children to do something like that.

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Anonymous Coward

To heck with a personal jump...

What I want to know is when we will get a <A HREF="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082509/">Heavy Metal</A> style drop of a Corvette from orbit!

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Anonymous Coward

I'd sell my wife and children to do something like that.

I don't want the kids, but might make a offer for your wife. Photo?

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About the SR-71 breakup

What wasn't mentioned was that the pilot survived the SR-71 breakup but his 2nd seater didn't.

The SR-71 was being flown with an unusually rearward centre of gravity and suffered an engine "unstart" during a mach 3 turn. The was enough to make it uncontrollable, resulting in a hypersonic tunble and partial disintegration.

Neither occupant ejected. The pilot was thrown through the canopy with enough force to snap his safety harness and regained conciousness free falling in his inflated pressure suit before making a parachute landing. Something similar happened to the other guy except that his neck was broken as he was thrown out of the plane.

This episode doesn't probe anything about hypersonic bailouts or space-diving because of the way the occupants were slung out of a tumbling, disintegrating aircraft.

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