Previous rebreather and pressurization technology required that the user be tethered to the atmosphere generating systems of a nearby spacecraft. Compartmentalizing these components into a small, portable unit allows greater range of motion and independence while operating in a vacuum. This freedom has led some users to ignore basic safety protocols, particularly while operating in deep space. The unit is only capable of recycling enough useful particles to sustain life for a period of approximately 48 hours. It is therefore suggested that users utilize additional safety equipment to minimize the risk of accidents which could result in prolonged exposure to airless environments.
These units are considered standard equipment on all ships, and current designs allow users to control the internal temperature and atmospheric conditions to meet the survival needs of a variety of species. Aside from it's basic life sustaining function, the Vacuum Survival Backpack contains additional storage space for equipment which may be needed during extravehicular operations in space or on a planets surface.