Skydiver Plans to Free Fall From the Edge of Space / by

Fearless Felix is what they call him. Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is planning on setting a brand new world record by skydiving from the edge of space. The current record, which is more than 50 years old, will be broken as he plans falling from the stratosphere from an altitude of over 120,000 feet.

The current record was set by retired skydiver Mr. Kittinger who now mentors Felix and is rooting for him. Felix did a practice test where he jump from a capsule 71,581ft into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to 13 miles, and he jumped. The fall lasted for 8 minutes and 8 second while reaching speeds over 300mph.

Austrian Felix Baumgartner, 41, with the support of his energy drink sponsor Red Bull, is planning to skydive from a balloon in the stratosphere from an altitude of 120,000 feet.
Should Baumgartner be able to pull of this incredible feat, he would end up breaking several records which have stood for more than fifty years.

The jump is scheduled for this summer and if it is successful, he would become the first person to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft. His jump would also set new records for the highest skydive, the highest manned balloon flight and the longest free fall.

But Baumgartner explained that it is not just about setting records- his jump could also help scientists understand how people are affected in such an extreme environment.

The team supporting Baumgartner, known as the Red Bull Stratos team, will study and monitor his physical condition during the dive as well as the various effects on his body.

"This mission is all about pioneer work," Baumgartner said in a statement. "Maybe one day people will look back and say it was Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team that helped to develop the suit that they're wearing in space. We want to do something for posterity."
The Red Bull Stratos team includes aerospace engineers who are designing and producing technology that will be used to keep Baumgartner safe during his jump, such as the suit he will wear and the capsule that will take him to edge of space.

"We'll be setting new standards for aviation," the team's medical director Jonathan Clark, who is a former space shuttle surgeon, told Space.com.

"Never before has anyone gone supersonic without being in an aircraft … The aim is to improve the safety for space professionals as well as potential space tourists," Clark said.


Skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner is more than halfway toward his goal of setting a world record for the highest jump. 

He’s aiming for nearly 23 miles this summer. The record is 19.5 miles. Mr Baumgartner lifted off Thursday for a test jump from Roswell, New Mexico, aboard a 100-foot helium balloon. 

He rode inside a pressurized capsule to 71,581 feet – 13.6 miles – and then jumped.

He parachuted to a safe landing, according to project spokeswoman Trish Medalen.

‘The view is amazing, way better than I thought,’ Mr Baumgartner said after the practice jump, in remarks provided by his representatives.

Thursday’s rehearsal was a test of his capsule, full-pressure suit, parachutes and other systems.

A mini Mission Control – fashioned after NASA’s – monitored his flight.

Mr Baumgartner reached speeds of up to 364.4 mph Thursday and was in free fall for three minutes and 43 seconds, before pulling his parachute cords. The entire jump lasted eight minutes and eight seconds.



With Thursday’s successful test, Mr Baumgartner is believed to be only the third person ever to jump from such a high altitude and free fall to a safe landing, and the first in a half-century.

‘I’m now a member of a pretty small club,’ he said.
When the 42-year-old Austrian known as ‘Fearless Felix’ leaps from 120,000 feet in a few months, he expects to break the sound barrier as he falls through the stratosphere at supersonic speed.

There’s virtually no atmosphere that far up, making it extremely hostile to humans, thus the need for a pressure suit and oxygen supply.

Among his conquests: the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Millau Viaduct in southern France, the 101-story Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

He’s also plunged deep into the Earth, leaping face-first into a pitch-dark cave in Croatia.

Mr Baumgartner considers that 620-foot-deep cave jump his most dangerous feat so far, soon to be outdone by his stratospheric plunge.

His mission takes its name, Red Bull Stratos, from the stratosphere as well as the energy drink-maker sponsor.

‘I like to challenge myself,’ Mr Baumgartner told The Associated Press in a recent interview, ‘and this is the ultimate skydive. I think there’s nothing bigger than that.’

He’s caught NASA’s attention, even though space officially begins much higher at an even 100 kilometers, 328,084 feet or 62 miles.

There are no hard feelings between Mr Kittinger and the man who is out to break his record, however, as Mr Kittinger is now 83 and one of Mr Baumgartner’s chief advisers.
Sources:
Cristian Post & Elite Daily

Now that is just insane!! I just don't understand what goes through the mind of people at times. How does one even think of something like that. It's like he was at home drinking a cup of coffee and had the brightest idea....jumping from the edge of glory.

Humans have no business being up that high. It's a very dangerous stunt if you ask me. Hopefully someone talks him out of it. NASA is encouraging him to do it. He's pretty much being their guinea pig and he doesn't seem to mind it one bit. They want to run tests and what not while he's reaching for the stars.

I guess if this is his thing, then so be it. I still think it's insane. I wish him all of the luck in the world...literally.