Thursday, July 15, 2010
I Don't Need No Stinking Bugatti Veyron
Skydiver Plans Record-Breaking Supersonic Space Jump
Zoe Macintosh - Space .com
Tue Jul 13, 8:45 am ET
A skydiver is making progress with plans to leap from near the edge of space in a dive that would break world records and the sound barrier.
Starting in the stratosphere at 120,000 feet (about 23 miles) above the ground, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will leap from a capsule suspended by a helium balloon near the boundary of space. Inside the capsule, Baumgartner will be exposed to as much as minus 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The jump is sponsored by the energy drink company Red Bull, which is calling Baumgartner's mission the Red Bull Stratos ("stratos" is Greek for "Holy Shit that's fast").
A team of aeronautics experts recently led Baumgartner through a week of testing meant to illuminate any possible weaknesses in his equipment and to familiarize him with the skills needed to navigate the conditions expected to assail him as soon as he opens his vessel door. Even a slight stumble during this step could cause dangerous alterations in his in-flight position only moments later, as well as reduce his chances of actually breaking the sound barrier.
"We still have an unknown, which is what happens to my body when I break the speed of sound, but at least we're going to know that I'm able to handle the step-off," Baumgartner said.
No simple showman, Baumgartner wondered if the dangerous pioneering mission would mean his own death. The possibility has proved daunting enough to impact his decision to invite his own mother to watch the dive.
According to a press officer for Red Bull, the actual experiment will take place somewhere in North America in 2010.
Posted by steve at 7:17 AM