Parachuting from 120,000 feet

 Images Bullet-Man-Felix-Baumgartner-Flash

This summer, BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner plans to finally jump out of a helium balloon floating more than 120,000 feet from the Earth. (I first posted about Baumgartner's plans back in 2010.) If he succeeds, he'll beat the longstanding record set in 1960 by Air Force colonel Joe Kittinger who we've posted about before here. Kittinger is part of Baumgartner's team for his leap of faith. From Air & Space (Jay Nemeth photo):

“Basically we want to instrument Felix just like he was an airplane,” says Jon Clark, a former NASA space shuttle crew surgeon and Stratos’ medical director. Baumgartner will be wearing a physiological monitoring system used by the U.S. military and adapted for the Stratos project. The instrument pack, worn on the jumper’s chest, will monitor his heart and respiratory rates and collect echocardiogram data. It also has an accelerometer, which will monitor whether Baumgartner’s body is spinning and if so, how fast. If he’s experiencing more than 3.5 Gs of rotational force, his stabilizing drogue chute will deploy automatically.

“We are doing stuff that’s been done before, if only by a few people,” says Clark. “But what we’re doing is capturing more information.”

Baumgartner’s team says that its primary aim is to advance the science of survival at extreme altitude, not just to break records or publicize (jump sponsor) Red Bull.

"The 120,000-Foot Leap"

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  1. I had the please of hearing Kittinger talk at the first Maker Faire. The scariest part of the whole jump was the possibility for a spin that you don’t get in normal jumping: this spin would quickly draw all your blood to your hands, head, and feet, starving the heart of blood to pump.

  2. “Baumgartner’s team says that its primary aim is to advance the science of survival at extreme altitude, not just to break records or publicize (jump sponsor) Red Bull. ”

    Science will be used to determine the exact time of death.

  3. If he succeeds, he’ll beat the longstanding record set in 1960

    Even if he fails, surely he’ll set some kind of record. Deepest hole made by a person without earthmoving equipment, perhaps?

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