Suggest this One to your Students — Space Diving

Image from Gizmodo

Imagine 120,000 feet, on board an orbiting spacecraft, and the door is open. There’s a red light at the door, and someone is counting down. At “0” the light turns to green and you hurl yourself out

      of the door

          into space.

You have on a specially equipped suit that helps you to fall, gracefully, to Earth — and you do it for fun. Gizmodo says:

Orbital Outfitters, run by Rick Tumlinson, a longtime civilian space booster who founded the Space Frontier Foundation, and Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon, has already started to develop the equipment it thinks is needed to achieve the feat. Clark, whose wife Laurel perished in 2003’s Columbia disaster, believes that the smaller the body is attempting re-entry, the less the chance it has of breaking up – hence the thinking behind space dives being used for NASA emergencies.

Falling to Earth would have you traveling over 2,500 miles per hour. Approaching the outer atmosphere, you would engage your drogue chute, which would bring you down to a more manageable 120mph. Finally, a more traditional chute would be deployed, bringing you to a soft landing.

Then it’s back up again. But up may not be such a problem either, with Japan expected to start development of its space elevator sometime in 2018.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.