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Space Jump

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Countdown Starts for Daredevil Space Jump

66060_32.jpgJesus Diaz

medium.jpgOctober 8th. That's the final launch date for fearless Felix Baumgartner, the daredevil that is going to jump from the edge of space. The 42-year-old Baumgartner is eager to attempt the record-breaking super-sonic parachute jump. He says that he feels like wild animal in a cage right now.

Baumgartner will jump from an altitude of 23 miles (120,000 feet or 37 kilometers), getting close to the edge of the stratosphere. When he does that, he will fall for an estimated 5 minutes and 30 seconds, breaking the speed of sound in the process. After flying at Mach 1 for a while, he will open his parachute at one mile (about 1,500 meters). If everything goes ok, he will reach the ground 10 minutes later.

He will break the record set by United States Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger on August 16, 1960. Kittinger jumped from the Excelsior III balloon, which at the time was flying at 102,800 feet-that's 19.47 miles or 31 kilometers up in the sky.

Godspeed, Felix!


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I remembered learning how Kittinger lost consciousness during his first jump (which may have been better for him considering the g-force on his body) and how one of his gloves malfunctioned during his second jump and his hand ballooned to twice its normal size on his way down...and Felix is now more than one-upping this guy.

There is a fine line between braveness and insanity...we are intrigued and entertained by both it seems B)

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I remembered learning how Kittinger lost consciousness during his first jump (which may have been better for him considering the g-force on his body) and how one of his gloves malfunctioned during his second jump and his hand ballooned to twice its normal size on his way down...and Felix is now more than one-upping this guy.

There is a fine line between braveness and insanity...we are intrigued and entertained by both it seems B)

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We are just over 14 hours away from the jump .

I have been invovled in action sports for over 30 years and i consider this one of the most extreme stunts i have ever seen ::D

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This is quite a bold thread.

I'll stay tuned to see how the jump turns out though. Hoping for high res video...

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Why is everything bolded :lol:

Pretty exciting, still absolutely phenomenal to think he'll be breaking the speed of sound.

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Wouldn't the G-force break your arms and legs?

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Correct me if I'm wrong but the only G-force you'd feel is weightlessness meaning Zero-G's but with that being sad, I'm guessing that's without air resistance, I forgot does Air Resistance affect G's?

I was never good at Physics.

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By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:17:54 GMT, 7 October 2012| UPDATED:16:54 GMT, 8 October 2012

Ahead of his daredevil sky-dive, Felix Baumgartner could be forgiven for looking a little lost in thought.

The extreme sky-diver is attempting what has never been done before on Tuesday morning - a freefall from 23 miles up in space which he hopes will break the sound barrier.

He was pictured on Saturday in Roswell, New Mexico making final preparations with his team after five years of planning and training.

Baumgartner went over the technical details in the capsule before sitting solemnly in his trailer, wearing his specially designed, $200,000 suit, to gather his thoughts.

Scroll down for video


Thinking space: Austrian sky-diver Felix Baumgartner sits in his trailer during the preparations for the final manned flight of the Red Bull Stratos mission in Roswell, New Mexico on Saturday


Final countdown: The Austrian sky-diver tries out the capsule ahead of his daring stunt on Tuesday

Red Bull Stratos announced on Friday that the jump had been moved from Monday to Tuesday due to a cold front with gusty winds.

The jump can only be made if winds on the ground are under 2 mph for the initial launch a balloon carrying Baumgartner.

Wearing only a pressurized suit and a parachute, he will pause at the hatch of his tiny capsule as it ascends into the heavens beneath one of the biggest balloons ever made.


No more than 20 minutes later, the world will know whether this audacious Austrian has become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier in the highest, fastest freefall descent in history.

If anything goes wrong - and there is plenty that could - it might get very, very messy.

The nightmare scenario that Felix’s project director likens to a ‘horror film’ would involve his blood boiling, brain bursting and eyeballs popping out - all of it watched live via the internet around the globe.

This may sound like the sort of lunatic feat that no one but a man who has spent 20 years at the more extreme end of extreme sports would want anything to do with.


Spaceman: Final tweaks are made to Baumgartner's pressurized suit which cost $200,000 to make


On a mission: The death-defying feat had to be postponed for a day due to adverse weather conditions


Daredevil: Baumgartner approaches the capsule with crew with whom he has been preparing for the mission for five years

But a team of engineers, doctors and pilots have spent five years working alongside Baumgartner, 43, to ensure he gets down alive and in one piece.

For one of them, Dr Jonathan Clark, the operation’s medical director, there is an intensely personal reason for being involved.

Since his astronaut wife Laurel was killed in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas, the former Nasa flight surgeon has devoted his career to working to improve astronauts’ chances of surviving a similar high-altitude disaster.

‘I have every expectation he’ll come through this successfully,’ says Dr Clark. ‘But, you know, it is still an unknown.’

As for Baumgartner, quite the Hollywood action man with his rugged good looks and Born To Fly tattooed on his arm, he and his backers are sufficiently confident that they are filming the descent and streaming it on YouTube.

Banishing talk of nerves, he says he would never jump if the odds were against him. And he insists he hasn’t got a death wish.


Fearless: Felix, pictured here on a previous dive in July, plans to jump from the edge of the earth's atmosphere on Tuesday

Of the sceptics who will be holding their hands in front of their eyes as he hurtles towards Earth at nearly 700mph, he says simply: ‘I think they underestimate the skills of a skydiver.’

Fearless Felix has been flinging himself out of planes and off skyscrapers for years. He has clocked up 2,500 skydiving jumps, including one in which he became the first person to ‘fly’ across the English Channel, with carbon-fibre wings strapped to his back. He has performed various horrifying ‘base jumps’, freefalling off the Christ statue in Rio and leaping head-first into a pitch black, 620ft-deep cave in Croatia.

Baumgartner says his supersonic plunge will be the end of his ‘journey’ as a daredevil. He intends to retire with his girlfriend and settle down to a quiet life — which in his case means becoming a rescue helicopter pilot.

Ahead of his grand finale, he has completed a couple of high-altitude dress rehearsals. In July, he leapt from 96,640ft — just 6,000ft shy of a world record set in 1960 by Joe Kittinger, a U.S. air force test pilot.

The grandfather of stratosphere skydiving, 84-year-old Colonel Kittinger has become Baumgartner’s mentor and will be the voice he hears in his headset as he communicates with mission control before and during the jump.



Austrian Felix Baumgartner, pictured at a news conference in New York, will leap from an aircraft 23 miles above New Mexico, in an attempt to jump higher and faster in a free fall than anyone ever before


Fearless Felix, pictured saluting as he prepared in March to board a capsule carried by a balloon during the first manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico

But a disembodied voice will not protect him against some of the most extreme forces in nature.

‘You can feel in your stomach and every part of your body that it does not want to be there,’ says the Austrian, a former military parachutist, laconically.

The body in question will be encased in a specially designed $200,000 spacesuit. It has an insulating exterior that can withstand extreme temperatures, and an airtight inner layer filled with pressurised oxygen.

It also has one crucial difference to the spacesuits worn by astronauts, which is that it remains highly flexible when it is fully pressurised.

Baumgartner’s visor is fitted with an intensely powerful heat regulator that should keep his view free of fog and frost.

The suit’s 12lb chest pack contains monitoring and tracking equipment together with a voice transmitter so he can talk to mission control on the way down. The pack is connected to a device on his wrist that allows him to monitor his speed and altitude.

The capsule in which he’ll make his ascent is 11ft high and 8ft in diameter, made from fibreglass strengthened by an internal metal frame, and weighs as much as a Volkswagen Beetle.

It was designed by some of the scientists who created the U.S. stealth bomber and is based on the famous Nasa Apollo rocket, but with a few key design differences.

The exit hatch is bigger for a start, designed to prevent the sort of catastrophe that befell Soviet high-altitude sky diver Pyotr Dolgov in 1962. Struggling to leave his capsule in his cumbersome spacesuit, Dolgov cracked his visor slightly on the door.


The Red Bull Stratos science team has confirmed that the capsule delivering Austrian sportsman Felix Baumgartner to the edge of space for his record-breaking free-fall attempt is mission ready

He was dead by the time he landed, a victim of ebullism, the terrifying condition in which the drastically lower air pressure above 62,000ft makes liquids in the body start to bubble and vaporise, inflating the body and bringing unconsciousness within 15 seconds.

Unfortunately for Baumgartner’s sponsor, Red Bull, he won’t be able to consume any of the fizzy energy drink on the way up.

The air pressure inside the capsule will still be significantly lower than at sea level, and any kind of gas inside his body could prove extremely uncomfortable. The Austrian company won’t say how much it has sunk into the project, but it must surely run into millions.

Weather permitting (the balloon material is so flimsy the ground level wind cannot be stronger than 2mph), the launch is scheduled for dawn on Tuesday, on a runway in the New Mexico desert.

A ten-strong team wearing cotton gloves and protective suits to prevent them ripping the fabric will pump helium from two large lorries into a £150,000 balloon that has been hailed as the biggest ever to lift a passenger.

When inflated, it is as high as a 55-storey building with a volume of 30 million cubic feet.

Made from strengthened plastic, it is a tenth of the thickness of a sandwich bag. Baumgartner has limited space to move around in the capsule and the balloon will be largely steered remotely from mission control down on the ground.

If all goes well, the journey will take just under three hours. The biggest danger he faces on the way up is the risk of the balloon rupturing soon after take-off. If that happens, Fearless Felix won’t have time to open the hatch and get out, and will come crashing down inside the capsule.

When it reaches the jumping height of 120,000ft — three times the altitude at which airliners fly — he will look out on a black rather than blue daytime sky while he waits for the final ‘clear to jump’ message from mission control.

At that point, he will depressurise the capsule, pressurise his suit and open the exit door (the capsule will later automatically detach from the balloon and parachute back to Earth).

It’s a virtually oxygen-free vacuum up there, with just one per cent of the air pressure on Earth, so the consequences of an accident now — a ripped suit (the biggest fear) or hairline helmet crack — would be disastrous, bringing on the dreaded ebullism in seconds.

If that isn’t bad enough, a spacesuit failure could also bring on the bends (gas seeping into body tissues due to sudden low pressure), barotrauma (trapped gas in body cavities that can collapse the lungs), and severe oxygen deprivation, known as anoxia.

And let’s not forget the discomfort of falling through air with a temperature as low as minus 70f.

Even leaving the capsule is fraught with danger. Baumgartner, who will basically fall forwards off the capsule platform, needs to start plunging straight down and head first as quickly as possible to reach maximum speed.

But there is always a risk that, with virtually no wind at those altitudes, he could end up in an uncontrolled flat spin.


At such high altitude, Fearless Felix will be able to see the curvature of the Earth and will free-fall for 20 minutes before landing


In his test jump in March, Felix plunged 25,000 feet. In Monday's jump he will attempt to jump higher and faster in a free fall than anyone ever before

And if he spins too fast, the force will make him lose consciousness, cause brain damage, turn his eyeballs into reddish-purple orbs and — very possibly — kill him.

As a safety precaution of sorts, his clever spacesuit will release a drogue parachute — a miniaturised version of the type used to slow fast-landing jets — to reduce his speed if its monitoring system senses he has lost consciousness.

It will take him just 40 seconds to go from zero to 700mph and break the sound barrier at an altitude of around 100,000ft.

No one can be sure what happens when a body breaks the sound barrier at that height, and the possibility of his suit being damaged by supersonic shock waves is another unpleasant ‘what if’ that Baumgartner’s scientific experts have had to consider.


Felix, left, will be guided by U.S. Air Force Col. (Ret.) Joe Kittinger, right, who holds the current stratospheric jump record, from 1960 of 102,800 feet

But once he has gone supersonic, travelling at the speed of a bullet, the air resistance will start to pick up as the atmosphere becomes more dense and he can move himself into the more stable ‘delta’ position — arms and legs spread out, body parallel to the ground — that you normally see being used by skydivers.

Assuming he makes it through intact, Baumgartner, his spacesuit fitted with cameras recording his stomach-churning descent, will freefall for some five-and-a-half minutes before pulling his main parachute at 5,000ft. Some ten to 15 minutes later, with luck he will touch down battered but unbowed near Roswell.

The remote New Mexican town is, of course, famous for a rumoured UFO crash landing in 1947.

How wonderfully apt. Where else can claim to have had stranger things drop out of the sky than Fearless Felix?


The space capsule, which is being checked over repeatedly before the jump, is in a pressure chamber at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas

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