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RL Mark VI suit makes Space Skydiving a reality



With the RL Mark VI, Adrenalists may be closer to reenacting Felix Baumgartner’s groundbreaking space skydive than ever before.

The RL Mark VI was designed with daredevils like Felix Baumgartner in mind, but is built to make a space skydive feasible to all ambitious Adrenalists in the future. The suit comes complete with hi-tech augmented reality goggles, power gloves and movement gyros attached to a simple commercial space suit.

While we’re getting psyched about this suit, it is still a long ways away from being sold on any market. Also, right now, it’s pretty expensive, with the price tag hovering around $55,000. Not an absolutely ridiculous price for a suit of this caliber, but for most people a significant expenditure.

The space skydiving suit venture was designed and implemented by two tech startups, space firm Solar System Express and biomedical design company, Juxtopia. They want to start selling a production model by 2016, when they’ll have ideally lowered the cost to just $20,000.

The RL Mark VI spacesuit would allow high altitude jumps from near-space, suborbital space and eventually near-earth orbit. The suit will control the pitch, yaw and roll from 62 miles (100 km) up, which is the start of space for many.

Astonishingly, space skydives using the RL Mark VI won’t require a parachute (though, a backup will be a part of the equipment). Using modern wingsuit technology, with aerospike engines attached to the suit boots, the diver will glide, manipulate themselves in the air and land with just the propulsion engines from the feet.

The first such landing method they’ll test is the “feet-down” method, with foot sole aerospace rockets engaging 100 feet before landing. The next option is a wingsuit flare-up that slows the diver down before he gets upright 10 or so feet above the ground before thrusters land the diver standing up.

Lets not forget the AR Goggles, made by Juxtopia. They’re similar to Google Glass, but they’ll provide space skydivers with information about altitude, elevation, acceleration rates, location and FAA radar info, with trajectory data during the initial jump.

The onboard AR Goggles can notify the diver in the case of an emergency, in which case they’d switch back to the traditional parachute.

It may be a few years before you can try your own space skydive with the RL Mark VI, but while you’re waiting you can apply now to win a one-way trip to Mars.

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