Virgin Galactic is in discussions with the spacesuit industry and preparing to release a request for proposals. As work continues on its Scaled Composites-designed SpaceShipTwo (SS2) vehicle, the UK suborbital tourism provider wants a fallback position for environmental control.

It envisages a lightweight suit with no hard points and perhaps a moveable face plate. "We want the safest possible system. We are pursing our own pressure suit [as an option]. I'm going to pursue both [a spacesuit and a shirt-sleeve cabin environment]," says Virgin Galactic chief operating officer Alex Tai.

Under US Federal Aviation Administration rules published on 15 December, commercial spaceflight vehicles are required to have passive and/or active, closed or open loop, environmental control. Tai says Scaled Composites will look through the new rules, and is still conducting trade studies on SS2 systems including environmental control.

Source: Flight International