Space Access 12: Jeff Feige of Orbital Outfitters

Jeff Feige
Orbital Outfitters

  • Clients include XCOR, SpaceX and NASA
  • Primarily produce spacesuits
  • Lately been involved in developing vehicle mockups
  • Spacsuits are not stand-alone off-the-rack but are integrated subsystem of the vehicle — need to be integrated with environmental and life support systems, seats, doors, etc.
  • Many questions to consider in developing suits
  • How much mobility?
  • What are realistic emergency scenarios
  • Would occupants have to bail out?
  • What are you protecting the wearer from other than pressure loss? Fire? Chemicals? Thermal?
  • Doesn’t agree with the we don’t need a suit, my vehicle is robust
  • Of course it’s a robust vehicle
  • “Well…shit happens”
  • Spacesuit is a last line of defense
  • Several examples of incidents in spaceflight without spacesuits
  • Soyuz 11 — crew died when spacecraft depressurized in space and crew didn’t have pressure suits on — suits would have saved the crew
  • Apollo-Soyuz crew nearly died when gases from RSC thruster entered cabin through an open vent during descent — crew not wearing suits
  • spacesuits were not integrated into space shuttle — retrofitted after the Challenger accident