Falling through the vacuum of space will be quite different than a dive that begins in the relative thickness of Earth’s lower atmosphere. There will be no aerodynamic forces acting upon the diver’s body that will allow him to stabilize his jump. This problem will be solved by a pair of gyroscopic boots and the fingertip controls built into the gloves of the diver’s spacesuit. Commands so issued to the control momentum gyroscopes built into his footwear will establish proper attitude and help to steady his fall through the airless void.

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As a safety precaution a flat spin compensator will automatically actuate after more than five seconds if the diver is unable to maintain adequate manual control. As the diver descends through the upper atmosphere, eventually the air will thicken to the point where aerodynamic forces will allow him to control the attitude of his body. Olav Zipser, word-renowned skydiver and lead jumper on the FreeFly Astronaut Project, has praised the new suit.

“Your product would be a great way to stabilize my decent during the first 30 seconds of free fall, when there is virtually zero atmosphere,” he said.

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CAD representation of the RL MARK VI’s gyroscopic boot prototype. Credit: Blaze Sanders, solarsystemexpress.com.

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The final function of the diver’s gyroscopic boots will kick in as he nears the surface of the Earth, and he fires off his miniature aerospike thrusters to smoothly lower himself to the ground for a two-point upright landing.

Two different landing scenarios are presently under consideration: “a feet-down” landing where the aerospikes fire into action from an altitude of hundred feet, gently lowering the diver down to earth; and the much more daring and challenging “wing suit flare up” where the diver swoops within ten feet of pay dirt before pulling up sharply and then lighting off his thrusters to initiate his controlled descent to the ground.

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Solar System Express intends to first test this propulsive landing capability somewhere around 2016, with a production model of the RL MARK VI coming to market about a year later. Until then any live tests of the system will conclude with traditional parachute jumps. Data collected during these jumps, along with rigorous control system testing and computer simulated recreations of each space dive, will enable Blaze Sanders and his team to refine the parameters and the protocols required for a text book propulsive landing.

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CAD representation of the RL MARK VI’s high-intensity LED chest piece prototype. Credit: Blaze Sanders, solarsystemexpress.com.

Mounted on the front of the jumper’s space suit will be a “high intensity LED chest piece” powered by energy-storing super capacitors and equipped with miniature stereo cameras which will collect much of the data necessary for recreating the jump in a 3D computer simulation. When finally transferred to video all of this collected 3D data should easily yield the kind of YouTube upload that one can point to with pride for years to come.

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The Gravity Development Board, a proprietary piece of hardware designed by Solar System Express, will serve as the main interface between the MARK VI’s three major components as well as the device which controls all critical systems.

According to Mr. Sanders, “The GDB will be the first space-rated open hardware electronic prototyping board, enabling any type of person to create space qualified hardware. The GDB will replace the Arduino Uno® as the preferred high-level prototyping environment, by being up to forty times faster, seventy percent smaller, having integrated high power drivers (capable of handling one hundred times the current), with more flexible Input/Output configurations, and yet be still much easier to program via 12 Blocks™, the powerful, intuitive visual language used for robotic programming. Engineers, artists, and designers are thus enabled to create any project they can imagine. Our quick release breakout board, the ‘Ejection Seat™,’ allows for easy prototyping, yet keeps the GDB form factor small and robust enough to use in New Space start-up product releases.”

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Final Frontier Design, of Brooklyn, New York, is working with Solar System Express on a customized version of their low-cost Intra-Vehicular Activity IVA 3G spacesuit, first introduced to the public last year and successfully crowd funded through an online kickstarter campaign. The entire RL MARK VI ensemble, along with the 3G spacesuit and a protective thermal outer covering, will be put through a rigorous testing regime beginning in June of 2014. Ground based testing will commence with a series of thermal and vacuum chamber tests, and vertical wind tunnel tests to be conducted at the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The protective thermal covering will be fashioned from lightweight layers of aerogel and NASA Space Shuttle-like flexible insulation blankets formed into a garment that will serve as the spacesuit’s outermost layer. This is the material that will protect the space diver from the heat of reentry as he plunges through the earth’s upper atmosphere. Solar System Express has already started conversations with several wing suit manufacturers interested in employing this revolutionary thermal technology into their product line.

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The first tests at altitude should begin around July of 2016. They will commence with two-kilometer parachute jumps from a helium balloon-tethered tower that will comprise the major test platform of The LiftPort Group’s Lunar Space Elevator Project. Eventually near-space jumps from as high as 40 kilometers will be conducted by Olav Zipser and his FreeFly Astronaut Project using a specially modified rocket designed and manufactured by InterOrbital Systems of Mojave, California.

No firm dates have been set for suborbital and orbital testing but initial plans call for the use of a human medical robot prototype supplied by Juxtopia to be used as the test subject for these first jumps before real live space divers eventually become involved.

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Blaze Sanders estimates the total development costs to bring the RL MARK VI to market at around $2.2 million. He has already invested about $100,000 of his own time and money into the project. In the next three years he expects to generate another $1.1 million dollars in revenue through sales of his company’s Gravity Development Board. He expects to generate additional revenue from a wide variety of sources including ongoing consulting fees, government grants and loans, angel investment, kickstarter campaigns, and technical consulting fees from motion picture productions already interested in the use of his technology, as well as a video game simulation also based on his revolutionary hardware.

Should he ultimately succeed then, who knows, one day he may end up just as rich and successful as Tony Stark himself. He’s already got the suit. And he’s prepared to take it to dazzling new heights.

For more information please visit www.solarsystemexpress.com and www.juxtopia.com. Read their joint press release at http://www.solarsystemexpress.com/press-releases….

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This article originally appeared at Universe Today.