China firm to offer space parachuting trips
TRAVELLING to space and returning to earth in a parachute will soon become available to the public in China.
JHY Space Technology (Space Vision), a Beijing-based company, released the country's first ever space parachuting suit last week.
In the next few months, the high-tech company will test related equipment, and recruit more parachuting volunteers to train them.
The first three "challengers" are an entrepreneur, a champion woman parachutist and an aircraft engineer.
These challengers will soar into the stratosphere in a high-tech balloon, and return to the earth in a parachute.
The customised suit has a radar, ground-based monitoring operations, space-ground communications and an image transmission system.
Jiang Fang, founder and president of Space Vision, said many technical experts have endorsed the feasibility of the commercial tour.
"We hope to lead the growth of the domestic commercial aerospace sector by starting with space parachuting, and gradually establish a path for the public to travel in the space," he said.
Mr Jiang expects the trip will cost around 500,000 yuan (S$105,000).
The commercial space parachuting project will be launched in Sanya, Hainan province, where the tropical island has a space launch centre.
Hainan is starting its comprehensive space travelling industry. By 2030, China hopes to become an aerospace power.
"Participating in space exploration projects needs strict and professional training first," said Pang Zhihao, an aerospace scientist and deputy editor in chief of the monthly Space International magazine.
Parachutist He Yufeng is set to become the world's first woman space parachutist after her trial run.
"I want to challenge the current world record of 41,419m established by former Google executive Alan Eustace for space sky diving," she said.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK