September 25, 2012
Daredevil Planning To Jump 23 Miles From Earth October 8
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
One daredevil is planning another feat from near-space, attempting to ride a helium-filled balloon 23 miles above the Earth and then to plunge back down for the world's highest-ever skydive.
Felix Baumgartner is planning to ride a helium-filled balloon from Roswell, New Mexico on October 8 in a custom-built capsule to an altitude of 120,000 feet.
After riding the capsule 23 miles, Baumgartner plans to step out of it and break a skydiving record that has stood for 52 years.
Baumgartner's July 25 practice run from 97,146 feet saw that the capsule was damaged after landing, forcing a delay for repairs.
On Monday, Red Bull Stratos officials declared the capsule fit for launch, and set October 8 as the new target date for the skydiver's "space jump."
"I feel like a tiger in a cage waiting to get out," the 43-year-old daredevil said in a statement.
The current record for the world's highest skydive is from 102,800 feet, and was set in 1960 by U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger.
If Baumgartner succeeds, he will become the first skydiver to ever fall at supersonic speeds, according to Red Bull Stratos officials. During the July 25 jump, his top free fall speed was 537 mph.
In all, Baumgartner will be setting records on October 8 for the highest skydive, fastest freefall, longest freefall and highest manned balloon flight. He will also be collecting scientific data during his mission that could help in future high-altitude escapes from spacecraft.
The team had originally planned to attempt the record jump in 2010 but they were delayed by a lawsuit.
Perfect weather conditions need to be established for the helium balloon to launch, which is made of plastic that has 1/10th the thickness of a Ziploc bag.
"Early fall in New Mexico is one of the best times of the year to launch stratospheric balloons," mission meteorologist Don Day said in a statement.