First-Ever Fully Functional Pressure Suit for Commercial Space Market Unveiled at X Prize Cup in New Mexico.
Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, X Prize Cup, Oct. 27, 2007 – The world’s first commercial spacesuit was unveiled today by Orbital Outfitters (OO) during a press event held at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, as part of the X Prize Cup. OO, headquartered in Washington, D.C. with affiliated operations in Los Angeles, is a company that provides emergency spacesuits and related apparel for crew and passengers riding aboard “Next Generation Spaceships.” OO unveiled its “Industrial Suborbital Space Suit-Crew” (IS³C) to those attending this two day Space event. Jeff Feige, OO’s newly named CEO, Chris Gilman, OO’s Chief Designer and co-founder Rick Tumlinson were on hand to debut the new suit.
“Orbital Outfitters is about an approach to solving the engineering, safety, and yes, marketing and design challenges of manufacturing space suits for the next era of space travel,” Tumlinson said. “We have already successfully tested this IS³C suit well above the pressure at which NASA operates its own spacesuits. While we still have a good deal of testing ahead of us, the suit we are unveiling here today is a working, first generation prototype version of an emergency crew suit.”
Tumlinson explains that Orbital Outfitters is the first “Space renaissance firm,” combining a team of experts in the areas of Space travel, Space medicine, aerospace business, spacesuit design and manufacturing, Space policy and Hollywood costume and effects. With over 100 years of combined experience dealing with all matters of Space travel and “New Space” companies, OO’s staff members also have extensive backgrounds in aerospace policy and dealings with NASA, the FAA and the Department of Defense.
Orbital Outfitters already has its first customer for the IS³C, XCOR Aerospace – a multi-million dollar NewSpace firm based in Mojave, CA. OO will deliver the first set of IS³C suits to XCOR Aerospace soon. XCOR develops rocket propulsion systems and rocket powered vehicles for private consumer Space flight. Beyond XCOR, OO also has preliminary agreements with other firms for their upcoming suit needs.
“There are already thousands of people making reservations to fly in the first suborbital Space ships,” said CEO Feige. “Our mission is to provide low cost, industrial quality spacesuits and related services to companies providing commercial and government Space travel. Initially, we are developing and producing the high quality IS³C system for Space flight crews and implementing a leasing model to maintain the highest possible quality control. This will lower the up-front costs for our customers.”
“The IS³C, designed for crew members such as the test pilots who will be flying the first sub-orbital spaceships, is just the first step for us,” added Gilman. “It is by intent a bit conventional in appearance, if not retro – although the technology inside of it is definitely 21st Century. We are already designing some very cool spacesuits for our customers that go well beyond even the IS³ in their design elements. After all, we not only have to be able to save a person’s life in an emergency, we have to make him or her look and feel good at the same time.”
MORE INFO ABOUT THE IS³C SUIT:
New technologies have been incorporated into the design of Orbital Outfitters’ IS³C suits. OO is using modern fabrics as well as special materials that let “sweat” out while still maintaining a pressurized environment. Also, the design is more fashion conscious than previously developed suit.
The IS³C is the first spacesuit to incorporate both style and function. Orbital Outfitters is moving beyond the era of government astronauts unconcerned with appearance, to commercial customers who are possibly paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for sub-orbital, and potentially millions, for orbital flights. These customers don’t just want to know they are safe, but they want to look good as well.
That said however, the IS³C is not a toy or simple fashion statement. It is a real piece of safety equipment which will keep the wearer alive in the event of cabin de-pressurization at altitudes above the Armstrong Line, and get him/her back down to Earth safely.
Note: The outer layer of the IS³C suit has been designed to be customizable to the needs of the companies which will be, in the near future, operating the sub-orbital vehicles available to the commercial Space travel market. The outer layers will appear in the colors of these companies, and will be visually pleasing.