Canadian Arrow is proposing a new type of extreme sport we call "spacediving". During
the 60's, NASA spent time researching the possibility of astronaut orbital escape
systems. Several "Space Parachutes" were designed featuring personal retro-rockets
and conical drag skirts or inflatable cones to protect a single astronaut during reentry.
A self contained ballistic recovery system could be designed to bring a spacediver
safely to the ground.
We believe this type of extreme sport could bring about a revolution in spacesuit
design. We think that astronauts and spacedivers will eventually use Counter Pressure
Suit technology. This type of suit uses elastic material instead of gas pressure to
protect an astronaut from the vacuum of space. A good description of how this type of
suit might work can be found in the book "The Millennial Project", written by Marshall T.
In the future 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! This sport will initially develop
at lower altitudes, with ever higher and higher record breaking jumps.
Even now, there are plans to break Joe Kittenger's 102,000 world record, set back in
1960. Several teams from across the globe are intent on jumping from altitudes of
almost 28 miles high. Ultimately, a new permanent altitude record for a balloon jump will
be set, with the maximum possible height of a balloon being the determining factor.
However, using a sub-orbital vehicle, new records can and will demolish any previously
held altitude records.
While we are in the construction phase of building our X Prize vehicle, we are
continuing to explore the spacediving aspect.