February 8, 2012
Baumgartner To Make Freefall Attempt From The Edge Of Space
Australian adventurer Felix Baumgartner is planning to set a record to skydive from the edge of space and back down to Earth.
The daredevil is going to plunge 23 miles above the surface of our planet, and head back down to not only set a record height for a freefall, but also break the sound barrier."We'll be setting new standards for aviation," Team medical director Dr. Jonathan Clark said on Red Bull Stratos website. "Never before has anyone reached the speed of sound without being in an aircraft."
This stunt is not being performed on a whim, but is something he and the Red Bull Stratos team have been planning for a while.
The team has been running tests in Texas in a vacuum chamber on a spacesuit they developed, and are now moving to Roswell, New Mexico for the mission's final phase.
The plan is for Baumgartner to ride aboard a helium balloon to 120,000 feet, which can have air temperatures between -50 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
He will be inside a pressurized capsule attached to the balloon, and then jump out wearing a pressurized space suit and helmet supplied with oxygen.
The team hopes Baumgartner will reach supersonic speeds before needing to parachute towards the ground.
The Red Bull Stratos team said they hope through this mission that they can provide a way for astronauts to safely bail out of a spacecraft in an emergency to return to Earth.
"Red Bull Stratos is testing new equipment and developing the procedures for inhabiting such high altitudes as well as enduring such extreme acceleration," Clark said. "The aim is to improve the safety for space professionals as well as potential space tourists."
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