Based on lessons of the Mark V, and with new fabrication methods and better materials in hand, we designed the Mark V suit in later 2015 and began building it in mid-2016. It featured yet lighter construction, simpler restraint systems, an improved soft helmet and features specific to flying our balloon in our upcoming high altitude test flights. Rapid development and testing led us to abandon some Mark V features and build a new suit, the Mark VI (model name “Birdie Bowers”), of which not much has been released publicly so far. The suit was first test flown by Ben Wilson in Summer 2016; media agreements limit how much we can say about that at present, but the whole tale will be told!
Photo: Below, Dr. Smith in the Mark VI during a photo shoot for CNN in Spring, 2017.