For as long as humans have looked to the stars, the desire for space-flight has existed. Finally, it looks like we are starting to truly turn a corner in the pursuit of private, commercial space flight. The dreams and desires of seeing the stars without being an actual astronaut are more realistic than ever and thanks to work done by the team at Final Frontier Design, it may just be closer than you think. This past month Final Frontier Design moved into one of the final phases of their testing of a special spacesuit for commercial usage. The suit represents the closest we have ever been to commercial space flights in the world.
Final Frontier Design has been workshopping their 3G Intra-Vehicular Activity Suit for a long time now but this past October they pushed their testing to the next limit. The suit was featured on a trio of flights over Ottawa. The suit was tested inside of a Falcon 20 jet with the intention of simulating microgravity for a couple of seconds at a time. These tests allowed subjects wearing the suit to replicate exactly what they could expect out of a fully realized space flight.
Ted Southern is the co-founder of Final Frontier Design and his work on the project has been noted by space enthusiasts around the world. This recent bout of testing is, perhaps, the most important of the bunch. Southern has been working on the 3G Intra-Vehicular Activity suit for a long time now and prior testing dates back to 2015. The testing that Southern and his team at Final Frontier committed was with the visor ‘up’, meaning that the inhabitant of the suit was not fully sealed in. the reason for moving testing forward in incremental steps, with the most recent being ‘visor down’, is purely safety. Southern says, “One of the biggest risks of microgravity is vomit. If you vomit inside a closed spacesuit in microgravity, there’s a risk of inhalation and choking on your own vomit.”
During this recent bout of testing, Final Frontier was joined by the team at Project PoSSUM and Canada’s National Research Council. The Project PoSSUM team focuses on the concept of scientists wearing these suits in order to study clouds. The National Research Council is researching why astronauts end up getting so ill while in outer space. These three groups joining together represent the best of the best that private spaceflight enterprise is offering, and that should inspire confidence.