Skydiver to jump from edge of space

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44 Responses to “Skydiver to jump from edge of space”

  1. Snig says:

    That’s almost a marathon, straight down.

  2. cinemajay says:

    Forget the diver, I want a ride in that (apparent) space-copter in the photo!

  3. Editz says:

    Risky stuff:

    “The last person to try to break the highest free fall record died in the attempt. In 1965, New Jersey truck driver Nick Piantanida suffered catastrophic equipment failure when his facemask blew out at 57,000 feet. Lack of oxygen caused such severe brain damage that he went into a coma and died four months later.”

  4. Narmitaj says:

    I guess Red Bull doesn’t give you wings. Just a parachute.

  5. chroma says:

    Just to clarify, he will indeed be using a balloon:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18427-space-diver-to-attempt-first-supersonic-freefall.html

    Thanks to Anon for Googling for me, here’s an article that describes some of the problems another would-be record breaker had with a balloon:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24821986/

  6. Halloween Jack says:

    A number of people have made plans to take a crack at the record–Michel Fournier was ready to try when his balloon broke free of its moorings, a couple of years ago, and here’s a Wired article from 2001 about the then-current attempts. One of the projected problems is “spinning out”–if someone goes into a horizontal spin while they’re supersonic, the centrifugal forces could tear them apart. Another problem is just getting the money to do it.

  7. robulus says:

    One of the projected problems is “spinning out”–if someone goes into a horizontal spin while they’re supersonic, the centrifugal forces could tear them apart.

    On the one hand that would be a tragic loss of life, but on the other hand it would look AWESOME.

  8. Anonymous says:

    can anyone tell me how long this jump is expected to last? is it minutes ? the thought of this gives me goosebumps!

  9. Phlip says:

    I hate the internet.

    After then-Captain Kittinger jumped out of his balloon…

    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BALLOON???

    Did it just sail away? Is it in the Pacific Gyre now??

    None of the web pages say that!

  10. jaypee says:

    The trailer for this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyGmTV0q2kY) always brings a tear to my eye. Joseph Kittinger is a hero and it’s pretty amazing that he’s fully on board with this project.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t see how he is a hero. Gutsy, yes. Not to take anything away from him but in my book a hero is someone who volunteers to risk their life/limb/wealth for someone else. He probably did it for the excitement and “going where no man has gone before” experience.

      Still very cool though.

      • Phlip says:

        Kittinger did it to research how to safely bail out of planes at very high altitude. He tested the parachute they invented, the only way you can test a parachute. Hero.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Felix Baumgartner isn’t an Australian. He is form Austria: No Kangaroos! :-)
    Greets

  12. Duffong says:

    For anyone who wants to watch a really nice version of the Kittinger jump, may I recommend Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBZeWjGjl8

  13. David Pescovitz says:

    Yes, I met Kittinger at Maker Faire a few years ago and he was a delight. Warm, smart, and, er, down to Earth.

  14. Brainspore says:

    Buzz Lightyear lives.

  15. dbarak says:

    Break like the wind, kemosabe.

  16. Bevatron Repairman says:

    The flight surgeon was married to one of the mission specialists who died on Columbia. Decided he’d spend some time working on space escape systems and this clearly works into that. Neat project.

  17. merreborn says:

    These systems, particularly during the test and development phase, need a potential escape system, which we may be able to help them provide with the knowledge we gain…

    …skills needed to navigate the conditions expected to assail him as soon as he opens his vessel door.
    I can’t wait to see the infographic cards they stick in seat pockets on space planes.

    “In event of emergency, seal pressure suit…. when entering troposphere, prepare for increased turbulence…”

  18. endymion says:

    I experience a queasy pang in my lower belly just reading this article, literally. Amazing the diversity of human interests.

  19. Anonymous says:

    dbarak misunderstands auto rotation.

    as the disabled helicopter falls, the collective pitch is completely reversed, causing the main rotor to spin in the same direction it would if it were under power. very close to the ground, the collective pitch is put at a positive angle, and the stored energy from the blades rotating creates enough lift to soften the landing, but it’s still a crash. auto rotation would be of little value at the kinds of altitudes mentioned, since it only generates lift when the collective pitch is made positive, and the rotors can only effectively store so much energy.

    • dbarak says:

      Actually, I’m very, very aware of how auto-rotation work (I’ve been through ‘em many, many times in the Navy), but I may misunderstand how the rotors work in the case of this hypothetical spacecraft. I believe the space application may be SIMILAR to auto-rotation.

  20. TTa says:

    i believe Felix is Austrian, not Australian

  21. chroma says:

    This has been tried a few times recently by a different team. They keep running into problems with the helium balloon. It needs to be way larger than most balloons of its kind, and has to be inflated under perfectly calm (no wind) conditions.

    I think using a rocket would be a better bet.

  22. snakedart says:

    I swear I’ve been reading about this pending attempt to skydive from the edge of space for about ten years now, and it’s always “Baumgartner plans” this and that. And then a couple years later, still planning.

    I’m not saying this sort of thing should be entered into lightly, but … just jump out of the damn balloon already! Trust me, succeed or fail, gravity will do most of the work.

  23. MadMolecule says:

    Kittinger has been one of my heroes since I first read about his jumps, when I was in maybe fifth grade.

    While I’m impressed by Baumgartner’s balls, and glad that Kittinger himself is on board with this project, it just loses something for me when the suit’s got the Red Bull logo so prominently displayed. I know they’ve got to fund the project somehow, but the logo, for me, detracts from the overall feel of the project. It’s an irrational response on my part, but there it is.

    @Phlip: The balloon was presumably recovered, because we’ve got the film from the gondola-mounted camera.

  24. billstewart says:

    Anon#2, a few years back there was a news article on the web about a kangaroo seen wandering around near Vienna.

    Goyaałé

  25. Anonymous says:

    um, that’s not a balloon.

    I didn’t know helicopters could operate at 100k feet, but then again Red Bull does give you wings…

    it’s not like the google image search for “balloon skydive” doesn’t turn up sufficient examples.

    • Agies says:

      Why would you want a generic picture of a balloon skydive when the above picture is of the man who will attempt the jump?

    • dbarak says:

      Nah, helicopters won’t operate that high. In fact, they have major problems at one fourth that altitude. And that’s only the helos that can make it up that far to begin with.

      However, there is/was a proposed reentry system for aircraft that would extend rotor blades out near the top of the nose, and it would auto-rotate all the way through reentry to landing. The ever-increasing lift provided by the rotor blades would keep it descending at a relatively slow rate.

  26. bklynchris says:

    @endymion

    OMG, I had to stop reading it as soon as I read “space shuttle escape hatch”. Just reading it gave me vertigo.

  27. jonr says:

    I’m sure the guy has considered the problem of reentry heat, but still…

    • David Carroll says:

      Re-entry heat is not an issue. If you are coming back from orbit you are going around 7600 m/s.

      If you are falling from a balloon you never get much faster than 340 m/s. (They are actually trying to break Mach 1). As the atmosphere thickens you go even slower.

    • tomboi1978 says:

      The heat generated from falling straight down with almost no orbital velocity is minor compared to that of say an orbital reentry. This guys speed may hit 750-800 mph on the way down through the thin upper atmosphere but what most people think of as reentry hits the atmoshpere at 17000. Bring hot dogs and marshmallows for that one. :-)

  28. MooseDesign says:

    I thought Steve Truglia might get to it first…

    TED video about stunts and his attempt to best the Kittinger record:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/steve_truglia_a_leap_from_the_edge_of_space.html

  29. FaroCastiglo says:

    Somewhat related: If helium balloons can make it that close to space, has anyone ever considered the possibility of using one as a launch platform for spacecraft?

    • Gilbert Wham says:

      Someone gunning for the X-Prize used such a system, IIRC.

    • chroma says:

      It’s been thought of, and worked on. JP Aerospace, for instance, is one company working on getting to space via a balloon.

      We think of balloons as being very simple devices, but that’s just not the case when you have a really big balloon. How do you keep it from getting any holes? How do you inflate it? What happens if the wind picks up?

    • S2 says:

      FaroCastiglo, balloons can only go “close to space.” Once you run out of atmosphere, a balloon has nowhere to go — ligher-than-air craft “push” against atmosphere, not against gravity. Plus, attaining an orbit requires forward speed, else you’re just a ballistic object that starts to fall as soon as you stop rising. A propulsion system capable of accelerating a significant mass to 17,000 MPH would be too heavy for a balloon to carry.

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