The founders of Final Frontier Design — a spacesuit design company based in Brooklyn — want space enthusiasts visiting the Big Apple to have the chance to bounce around in a pressurized spacesuit for the relatively reasonable price of $395. Participants in the “Space Suit Experience” will get the opportunity to swing a golf club, fly above the moon in a flight simulator and pose like an astronaut all while wearing the spacesuit.
“I recognize that it’s not the cost of a movie ticket, so some people might not want to spend $400 to try on a spacesuit, but I think there are quite a few people out there who are fascinated and kind of obsessed with spaceflight,” Final Frontier Design president Ted Southern told Space.com. “I know there is training out there that you can spend $50,000 if you want to. In an ideal sense, I’d like to think of this as an opening up of space tourism to just anybody who’s interested in that.”
The spacesuit experience is designed for people that can’t necessarily afford the $250,000 price of a ticket on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, but still want to see what it’s like to have a little taste of spaceflight, Southern added.
The spacesuit experience starts off with a short presentation about the history of spacesuits given by Southern’s partner, Nikolay Moiseev, an engineer with a 21-year history working in human spaceflight.
Then, it’s time to suit up.
Moiseev and Southern help the participant don the spacesuit and pressurize it, then the wearer can bounce around, swing a golf club and see what it feels like to be attached to a tether while in a contained environment. Suited up space fans can also take a “hero shot” with an American flag after getting accustomed to the suit experience.
Final Frontier Design also has a special flight simulator set up for adventurous would-be astronauts interesting in trying to fly a fake plane on the Earth or moon.
“It’s something that in the United States you can’t really do anywhere else,” Southern said. “You can’t go try on a spacesuit. Nobody will let you do that unless you go to Moscow and drop $5,000 or so at Zvezda. I hope that it’s open to space nerds that are interested in this experience, that are interested in trying real hardware and a unique experience.”
Moiseev and Southern teamed up and won second prize of $100,000 in a 2009 NASA challenge that asked private builders to create a more maneuverable glove for a spacesuit.