Balloon envelope material sample

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

On October 24, 2014, Dr. Alan Eustace used a state-of-the-art Pressure Suit Assembly to ascend to the top of the stratosphere beneath a large, helium-filled plastic balloon and sky dive back to Earth. He reached a maximum altitude of 135,889 feet before parachuting back to Earth, breaking the previous world record. He accomplished this mission by using a pressure suit alone for life support and foregoing the weight of a balloon gondola to ascend to the stratosphere.

His spacesuit, made by ILC Dover in Houston, resembles those worn by Apollo astronauts and those performing spacewalks from the International Space Station. The suit includes a Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment, used to keep its wearer safe from extreme temperature differences, radiation, and particles in space. It also includes a liquid temperature-regulating garment to maintain his body temperature. Because this suit was designed to replace a balloon gondola, all sensors, monitors and communications devices had to be mounted on the suit.

This upper torso assembly includes Eustace's life support system. Humans cannot live at the altitude Eustace reached without being connected to one. Paragon Space Development Corporation created the system to allow Eustace to breathe oxygen at high altitudes without the additional weight of an oxygen scrubber system. The pressure controller responsible for maintaining suit pressure is mounted at the hip of the pressure suit on the upper half. The steering handles on either side of the life support pack allowed Mr. Eustace to control his landing.

The Eustace-Kwan family donated this suit to the museum in 2015.