Friday, March 16, 2012

Dropping In...Red Bull Stratos...

And I mean REALLY dropping...

The individual to the right is Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian with many records and feats under his belt including a BASE jump from 1,669 feet at the top of the world's tallest building in Taipei, Taiwan and is a licensed helicopter pilot.

This new attempt of his goes beyond all hyperbole as he seeks to set a record for the highest and longest freefall in history, accelerating to supersonic speeds in the process.

His upcoming attempt at jumping from a pressurized capsule held aloft by a stratospheric, helium filled balloon at 120,000 feet will (if successful) break the 50 year old record of one Joe Kittinger.

Colonel Joe Kittinger set the current record in 1960, exiting from a unpressurized, open gondola, all in the name of the US space program and military from a height of 102,800 feet.  The second picture here is from the gondola looking down at Joe as he began his freefall.

Joe went on to serve as a test pilot and in the Vietnam War spent 10 months as a POW eventually accumulating over 16,800 hours of flying time in 93 different aircraft. He has a biography titled Come Up and Get Me which will be my next book purchase.

Getting back to Baumgartner, he conducted a test jump yesterday 3/15 from a height of some 13.6 miles (71,581 ft. to be exact), more than halfway to his goal of near 23 miles.  The balloon left Roswell, NM yesterday and after his exit from the pressurized capsule, Baumgartner fell for three minutes and 43 seconds before opening his chute at about 8,000 ft.  He is said to have reached a speed of 365 mph during this fall.  Baumgartner hopes to exceed 760 mph in his fall from 120,000 feet later this year.

The window for this much higher jump begins in July of this year.

The Red Bull Stratos project website to keep track of Baumgartner's progress is here: Red Bull Stratos...

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