Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Red Bull Stratos Launch countdown: Man to dive from Stratosphere (37km)...

In less than two hours at the time of publishing, a man will skydive from the Stratosphere (36km), the highest ever freefall. As part of Red Bull’s Stratos mission to the edge of space, Felix Baumgartner will ascend for three hours in a stratospheric balloon to 120,000 ft or around 36.58km. He will make a freefall jump to the earth, reaching supersonic speeds. His supporting team of expert includes retired United States Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who holds three of the records Baumgartner is attempting to break. Kittinger’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. Kittinger 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. Kittinger spoke of the experience a number of times, in this excerpt highlighting the seriousness of the attempt and the terrifying feeling of jumping beyond any drag caused by the atmosphere. “… But when I was looking down at the earth, facing straight down at it, it was a very odd sensation; I was weightless, we will say, but I felt as if I were in a state of suspended animation. “What in the world is happening?” I’m sitting up here but I’m not falling.” “That was the sensation I had. I had no acceleration, no movement, heard no noise, nothing. It was absolutely quiet, absolutely still, and absolutely horrifying” Kittinger was spun during his fall, ripping around so quickly that he was unable to lift his arm to pull the rip cord, blacking out. His auto-chute saved him. Time of launch is expected to be 8:30 EST, weather permitting, which is around 11:30pm ADST – and weather conditions are favourable. We’ll update this post on Wednesday morning with news.

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