A whole new meaning to the term ‘freefall’!
Just one small step for Felix Baumgartner, and some step!
I was speaking with my son, Alex, in England about an hour ago and he brought to my attention a feat that is breath-taking, in the fullest meaning of that expression. I had to share the details with you as I’m sure that many, like me, were not aware of what is happening in a little under twelve hours time, subject to everything being in place.
A free-fall commencing from an altitude of 120,000 feet! (Oh,that’s just about 23 miles up!)
Felix Baumgartner (born 20 April 1969) is an Austrian skydiver and a BASE jumper. He is renowned for the particularly dangerous nature of the stunts he has performed during his career. Baumgartner spent time in the Austrian military where he practiced parachute jumping, including training to land on small target zones.
The Wikipedia entry goes on to explain,
He was born on 20 April 1969 in Salzburg, Austria.
In 1999 he claimed the world record for the highest parachute jump from a building when he jumped from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On 31 July 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a specially made carbon fiber wing.
Baumgartner set the world record for the lowest BASE jump ever (95 feet), from the hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
He became the first person to BASE jump from the completed Millau Viaduct in France on 27 June 2004 and the first person to sky dive onto, then BASE jump from, the Turning Torso building in Malmö, Sweden on 18 August 2006.
On 12 December 2007 he became the first person to jump from the 91st floor observation deck, then went to the 90th floor (about 390 m (1,280 ft)) of the then tallest completed building in the world, Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan.
But to my mind, none of those previous jumps compare to this mission,
Red Bull Stratos, a mission to the edge of space, will attempt to transcend human limits that have existed for 50 years. Supported by a team of experts Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to 120,000 feet in a stratospheric balloon and make a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground. His attempt to dare atmospheric limits holds the potential to provide valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers.
The Red Bull Stratos team brings together the world’s leading minds in aerospace medicine, engineering, pressure suit development, capsule creation and balloon fabrication. It includes retired United States Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who holds three of the records Felix will strive to break.
Joe’s record jump from 102,800 ft in 1960 was during a time when no one knew if a human could survive a jump from the edge of space. Joe was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and had already taken a balloon to 97,000 feet in Project ManHigh and survived a drogue mishap during a jump from 76,400 feet in Excelsior I. The Excelsior III mission was his 33rd parachute jump.
Although researching extremes was part of the program’s goals, setting records wasn’t the mission’s purpose. Joe ascended in helium balloon launched from the back of a truck. He wore a pressurized suit on the way up in an open, unpressurized gondola. Scientific data captured from Joe’s jump was shared with U.S. research personnel for development of the space program. Today Felix and his specialized team hope to take what was learned from Joe’s jumps more than 50 years ago and press forward to test the edge of the human envelope.
So if you are able and would like to watch the event live then this is the appropriate link.
Good luck to all involved. What an amazing feat!
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