Watching what looks like a cosmonaut slipping away from the International Space Station in an uncontrolled spin is utterly horrifying. Seeing the camera track the motionless suit as it orbits nearby in a slowly deteriorating orbit for months on end until- finally!- burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere on re-entry is worse and, somehow, seems almost merciful. Even after you know the truth, that this was part of an ISS experiment and the empty suit was really rigged up as a student satellite named “SuitSat 1”, it’s still über creepy.
The whole thing seems like a low-budget version of Alfonso Cuarón’s overly intense 2013 movie, Gravity. Only somehow darkly, sickeningly worse.
Over at Sploid, NASA intern Sam Wilkinson described the concept behind SuitSat 1 as “quite simple, put some simple electronics (radio communications system, telemetry) into a Russian Orlan spacesuit, then throw it out of the airlock.”
According to Frank Bauer of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “SuitSat is a Russian brainstorm, some of our Russian partners in the ISS program … had an idea: Maybe we can turn old spacesuits into useful satellites.” Aside from broadcasting voice messages from students around the world, and some telemetry data, SuitSat-1 also looked really eerie.
So, yeah. Have fun watching the video, below, and sending the animated .GIF, above, to all your easily squicked-out friends on Facebook. Enjoy!
Source | Images: NASA, via Sploid.