The Free-Fall Collection: First Commercial Spacesuit Debuts at X Prize Cup
Chris Gilman of Orbital Outfitters worked the runway -- literally -- at Holloman Airforce Base, Saturday, October 27, 2007, modelling the company's Industrial Suborbital Space Suit-Crew, commercial spacesuit. Image
Credit: T. Hasegawa/Hasecom/

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico ? Being a well-dressed suborbital space traveler translates into style as well as safety.

Orbital Outfitters strutted out the world?s first commercial spacesuit here at the X Prize Cup festivities ? their approach to solving the engineering, safety and marketing appeal of an emergency crew suit.

Dubbed the Industrial Suborbital Space Suit-Crew (or IS3C for short), the garment was presented in catwalk-like fashion, a first generation prototype that Orbital Outfitters envision as the new free-fall collection of apparel.

Jeff Feige, Chief Executive Officer for Orbital Outfitters, was master of ceremonies for the space suit?s debut. He noted that the lines are getting longer for those making reservations to fly aboard the first suborbital spaceliners. ?Our mission is to provide low-cost, industrial quality spacesuits and related services to companies providing commercial and government space travel,? he related in a press statement.

The idea is to create a high quality IS3C system for space flight crews. Orbital Outfitters is implementing a leasing arrangement for the suit to help contain up-front costs for customers.

An array of new technologies has been incorporated in the IS3C suits. Modern fabrics as well as special materials let ?sweat? out while still maintaining a pressurized environment.

Fashion conscious

Paraded on stage, the suit has all the needs of the more fashion conscious among us ? melding style and function, but also a bit retro in appearance. Customers don?t just want to know they are safe, but they want to look good as well, pointed out officials from Orbital Outfitters. And the helmet comes complete with easy-to-use visor too.

While looking smart in space is one thing, the IS3C is no toy. It is crafted to keep the wearer alive in the event of a cabin de-pressurization during a suborbital jaunt.

The outer layer of the suit has been designed to be customizable to the needs of the companies ? that is any select color of a commercial suborbital flight operator.

Orbital Outfitters has its first customer ? XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, California, an entrepreneurial up-start delving into rocket powered vehicles for private consumer space travel.

Chris Gilman, Chief Designer of the new suit pointed out: ?We are already designing some very cool spacesuits for our customers that go well beyond even the IS3C in their design elements. After all, we not only have to be able to save a person?s life in an emergency, we have to make him or her look and feel good at the same time.?

Still, one female in the audience that?s already plunked her money down for a suborbital flight commented: ?Safety is one thing?but it?ll make me look big.?

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