ILC DOVER'S ADVANCED PRESSURE SUIT USED IN RECORD-BREAKING NEAR-SPACE DIVE VIA HIGH-ALTITUDE BALLOON
Alan Eustace and the Paragon StratEx Team make stratospheric exploration history at over 135,000 feet
ROSWELL, NM – Oct. 24, 2014 – Today, after 34 months of intense planning, development and training, Alan Eustace, supported by Paragon Space Development Corporation® (Paragon) and its Stratospheric Explorer (StratEx) team, made history with a near-space dive from a high-altitude balloon at approximately 135,000 feet. Eustace broke several records, including national record for highest exit altitude; world and national record for free fall under a drogue chute; national record for vertical speed. Additionally, he became the second person to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft.
Eustace was lifted to his peak altitude by a helium-filled scientific balloon while wearing a custom-made pressurized spacesuit. At over 135,000 feet, he began his dive, remaining in free fall for approximately 4.5 minutes before landing safely nearly 70 miles from his launch point.
For Eustace, there was no capsule. He depended on the advanced extra-vehicular activity pressure suit designed and produced by ILC, which served as his only barrier to the harsh ambient environment encountered throughout all mission phases. As part of this project, ILC’s role included pressure suit manufacture and testing, suit operation and maintenance, and flight test support. In order to minimize oxygen consumption and reduce overall system weight, the pressure suit was engineered to have minimal leakage at a higher pressure than any other operational U.S. spacesuit. In addition, this robust design provides long-duration wear, superior mobility, essential thermal protection and aerodynamic integration with the life support and parachute systems. All StratEx photos courtesy of Paragon Copyright 2014.