The Main Stream

Dec 20, 2012 9:24 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson company designs space suit systems for commercial trips to the moon

TUCSON- As long as the world doesn't end tomorrow, the push for "out of this world" travel will continue to gain speed.

Nobody knows that better than Taber MacCallum. He's the CEO of Paragon, a Tucson company that designs, builds, tests and operates premier life support systems and leading thermal control products for astronauts, contaminated water divers, and extreme environment adventurers.

Paragon is currently working with Golden Spike, a start-up space tourism company that plans to offer people rides to the moon. "It's sort of like the Apollo missions, but commercial," MacCallum says.

Inside the Paragon lab, employees use a mix of science and machinery to design space suit systems for Golden Spike. "It's basically a life support system that keeps someone alive with oxygen, good air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat, in an environment that otherwise wouldn't have those things," MacCallum says.

It's a sign of the times for a company that once devoted most of its production to government-funded agencies like NASA. "And now much more than half of our business is only commercial space, where the government isn't even a prospective customer," MacCallum says.

He says while it will take time to develop the commercial side of space travel, there is no doubt trips to the Milky Way will one day be mainstream. "It's kind of like the emergence of cell phones," MacCallum says. "They were around for a long time and then they got smaller and smaller. Then overnight it seemed like everybody had a cell phone."

For more information about Paragon head to: www.paragonsdc.com/

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