Print 44 comment(s) - last by delphinus100.. on Oct 15 at 8:37 PM

Baumgartner used a helium balloon to travel the 24 miles up, and jumped safely to the ground

A daredevil skydiver has landed safely on the ground after jumping from the edge of space Sunday morning.

Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian helicopter pilot and former soldier, made a risky jump from a helium balloon at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning. He broke the record for the highest jump at 128,000 feet (or 24 miles) above Earth.

One of Baumgartner's goals during the jump was to break the speed of sound, which would make him the first human to do so without the protection of a vehicle. According to reports, he was able to achieve this.

Baumgartner used a helium balloon to travel the 24 miles up, which was made of material only .0008 of an inch thick. The balloon posed risks on its own, with its shape and size changing as it climbed higher toward space.

Baumgartner wore only a pressurized helmet and suit, which weighed 100 pounds total. He also had sensors and recorders attached to him, which kept an eye on his speed, heart rate, etc.

Once Baumgartner reached the 24 miles, he jumped out of the capsule attached to the helium balloon and fell for less than five minutes. He crouched into a "delta" position to maximize acceleration, and then deployed his parachute for the remaining 5,000 feet toward Earth. His maximum speed was Mach 1.24 (833.9 mph), breaking the sound barrier.

Many things could have gone wrong during the jump. For instance, the pressurized suit could have proved to be too weak, allowing Baumgartner's blood to vaporize in the thin atmosphere. It was also 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in some cases during the fall, which could have sent Baumgartner into hypothermia. If Baumgartner were to lose consciousness at any time during the fall, he would have to depend on his parachute deploying automatically.

[Image Source: Fading Crown]

On top of that, breaking the sound barrier could have had unknown effects on the body.

"You have to remember all the procedures," said Baumgartner. "You know you're in a really hostile environment. And you cannot think about anything else. You have to be focused. Otherwise, you're gonna die."

Baumgartner nearly made the jump last Tuesday, but foul weather delayed his record-breaking jump another five days. He was preparing the balloon at his launch site in Roswell, New Mexico, but a large gust of wind twisted the balloon to the point of destroying it.

Baumgartner landed in the eastern New Mexico desert safely Sunday afternoon.

You can rewatch the event right here courtesy of YouTube:

Sources: CBS News, CNN, Boston

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By Brandon Hill on 10/14/2012 9:34:12 PM , Rating: 3
When he first jumped out and started spinning/tumbling, my heart skipped a few beats.

RE: Spinning
By bigboxes on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: Spinning
By dani31 on 10/15/2012 4:05:00 AM , Rating: 4
Seriously, who gives a crap. Why are we worshipping these guys?

The guy jumped from space in a nasa-style setup. What's cooler than that?

Oh, did I mention that skydiving is f*ckin great?

RE: Spinning
By zippyzoo on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: Spinning
By Paj on 10/15/2012 8:50:51 AM , Rating: 3
Lame troll

RE: Spinning
By nafhan on 10/15/2012 10:45:38 AM , Rating: 5
Why are we worshipping these guys?
For science!

Seriously, pushing the limits of what humans are physically capable of achieving usually has plenty of unexpected benefits. To add a little more perspective: we live in a society where it's socially acceptable to spend 20+ hours a week screaming at a TV showing adult men running around chasing a ball. I just don't see how you can complain about people being excited over a man jumping from the edge of the atmosphere and achieving Mach 1 in a free fall.

Also: apparently there's a sh!t-ton of money to be made by selling caffeinated sugar water.

RE: Spinning
By TSS on 10/15/2012 3:20:29 AM , Rating: 1
Why? Thought he'd hit something?

You're xx miles above the surface of the earth, you've already broken a few world records and now you've just heard over the comm you went 700+ MPH, faster then sound (as well as that you're going at maximum speed). Plus you need to slow down.

What would you do? Riverdance?

RE: Spinning
By Visual on 10/15/2012 5:15:18 AM , Rating: 5
I will just assume you are not trolling on purpose but are being genuinely clueless.
Rotation creates significant centrifugal forces on the extremities of his body, if he failed to control it he would have died a very ugly death.
Well done to him for getting that under control. Awesome job.

RE: Spinning
By Brandon Hill on 10/15/2012 7:56:48 AM , Rating: 5
Just look at the helmet cam footage:

If you can just look at that and go "meh", then more power to ya!

RE: Spinning
By Reclaimer77 on 10/15/2012 1:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
WoW! What is it about this topic that brings out all the idiots and haters?

But it's TSS, why am I not surprised?

RE: Spinning
By bsd228 on 10/15/2012 2:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
Why? Thought he'd hit something?

Even at more pedestrian altitudes for skydiving, it is possible to spin out of control, lose conscience. And even at 'slower' speeds seen by freefliers and speed divers (200-300+ mph), you can hurt yourself if you lose control and tumble - the sudden extra drag can punish the limbs. Just stick your hand out the window of a car going 60 and now imagine 10x the force being abruptly applied.

This jump isn't a simple matter of putting on the suit and taking that first step, even for the skydivers.

RE: Spinning
By delphinus100 on 10/15/2012 8:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
No, you could pass out in a seriously fast spin.

Not good, even with an automatic chute, under the very conditions you describe. My only concern was that very one: Could he maintain stability?

By vol7ron on 10/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: Well..
By Spuke on 10/14/2012 10:35:46 PM , Rating: 1
I would consider the 100 lb pressurized suit, a vehicle.
"Cocaine is a helluva drug."

RE: Well..
By sgtdisturbed47 on 10/15/2012 12:53:28 AM , Rating: 5
And the body can be considered a vehicle for the soul.

RE: Well..
By Samus on 10/15/2012 5:12:39 AM , Rating: 2
aww. that's a hell of a pick up line!

RE: Well..
By theapparition on 10/15/2012 11:48:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it is. And I can already see myself screwing it up with the follow.

Your body is just a vehicle for your soul. Now bend over so I can touch your soul.

RE: Well..
By Stuka on 10/15/2012 3:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
"Baby, you can drive my car. It's a stick. It gets goin really quickly, but it can't stop worth crap. Also, no talking while you drive. It also has to be kept in it's own garage. You know what? Nevermind. I know how to get there, I'll just drive myself. You can come with me though."

RE: Well..
By Camikazi on 10/15/2012 10:31:30 AM , Rating: 2
Only if you can prove that souls are real, which you can't so not exactly the same thing :P

RE: Well..
By 91TTZ on 10/15/2012 12:25:19 PM , Rating: 1
Except the soul doesn't exist.

RE: Well..
By Ammohunt on 10/15/2012 2:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yours may not...leave others souls alone.

RE: Well..
By mircea on 10/15/2012 5:16:23 AM , Rating: 2
I think all skydivers use some form of jump suit. He just got a fancy one. :P

Also the real record is the first human to have traveled faster than the speed of sound - at "ground level" - (not breaking trough the actual sound barrier at that altitude) without any means of propulsion - unless you consider him using the Earth as a gravity machine and thus = propulsion.

RE: Well..
By joedon3 on 10/15/2012 9:31:53 AM , Rating: 4
That whole comment is all sorts of wrong...

Skydivers don't need to use any special suit. A lot of them don't in fact. the suits they do use are thinner than a normal T-shirt and nylon, and used to maximize control and most have grips on them so skydivers can do formations.... Felix was in a life supporting space suit.

The sound barrier at that altitude and temperature is 690mph. Felix went 833mph. At sea level the speed of sound is typically 770mph. get some facts straight.

Propulsion is assumed to mean a personal means of propulsion. I don't think Gravity would count....

RE: Well..
By bsd228 on 10/15/2012 2:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
Skydivers don't need to use any special suit. A lot of them don't in fact. the suits they do use are thinner than a normal T-shirt and nylon, and used to maximize control and most have grips on them so skydivers can do formations.... Felix was in a life supporting space suit.

most jumpsuits have more drag, both for evenness along the length of the body and to slow/normalize the fall rate to a common value to allow for easy group formations. It's a bit of a drag when your natural belly speed is 130mph and the others are at 120. You give up much of your control range just to stay with them.

The speed fliers, otoh, would be looking to minimize drag, go for the thin and tight suits.

RE: Well..
By Stuka on 10/15/2012 3:25:55 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure the record for greatest speed achieved without using propulsion OR gravity stands at 0.0mph. It was set by the Universe, just prior to the Big Bang.

RE: Well..
By delphinus100 on 10/15/2012 8:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
"...just prior to the Big Bang," is a theoretically problematic notion in itself.

Joseph Kittinger essentially did this first
By jamescox on 10/15/2012 6:27:13 AM , Rating: 2

Felix Baumgartner broke his record, but Kittinger did his jump back in 1960 as part of an air force parachute test. I m not sure what the purpose of Baumgartner's jump is other than just to break the record.

RE: Joseph Kittinger essentially did this first
By Camikazi on 10/15/2012 10:35:03 AM , Rating: 2
All he was doing was breaking records since you are right and it was all done before just at a bit lower altitude. Although it was kewl that Kittinger was there to help with Felix's jump.

By Jaybus on 10/15/2012 12:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
Col. Kittinger was a consultant all along. Smart move on Baumgartner's part. Who could possibly be a better adviser?

I think his real goal was to break the sound barrier, more so than just the altitude record. After all, if the story were only that he jumped from 39 km as opposed to Kittinger's 31 km, the reaction for many people would be ... meh! But he smashed the speed record and is the first to break mach 1. Now, that is awesome.

The Air Force was not interested in breaking the sound barrier in a jump. They were only investigating methods of [more] safely ejecting from high altitude aircraft. In an ejection seat, the speed record is to my knowledge held by Bill Weaver and Jim Zwayer, Lockheed test pilots who in 1966 survived the breakup of a SR-71A while at mach 3.1 at about 24 km altitude, but that was certainly not on purpose. Big difference between surviving a catastrophic failure and jumping at high altitude on purpose.

By bsd228 on 10/15/2012 2:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
> I m not sure what the purpose of Baumgartner's jump is other than just to break the record.

what's the question here? Why did Evil Kenevil keep putting more buses in front of the ramp? Further, higher, faster...has always been the driving force.

By delphinus100 on 10/15/2012 8:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
For some people, that's enough. And playing with private money, let them.

I can remember the late 1960's, when Art Arfons and Craig Breedlove kept one-upping each other in their respective 'Green Monster' and 'Spirit of America' jet powered vehicles at Bonneville for the land speed record. Yes, much sport, minimal science, and that's okay. It was cool.

Don't expect anything done in (or near) space to have some basic 'betterment of mankind' value (science was rightly along for the ride, but Apollo was really done [and done in the particular way it was] for geopolitical reasons), the motivations will be many and varied, just as they are down here...

I'm sure James Cameron didn't go to the bottom of the Challenger Deep earlier this year just for the science value, either. He too, now has some serious, well-deserved bragging rights.

By Nortel on 10/14/2012 9:58:54 PM , Rating: 5
I thought Redbull gave you wings... this guy dropped like a rock.

RE: wut
By delphinus100 on 10/15/2012 8:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but like Buzz Lightyear, though not flying, he was falling...with style.

the Rest of the Story?
By SkierInAvon on 10/15/2012 10:41:22 AM , Rating: 1
I always notice what's missing..
What of the Ballon and Capsule/Gondy car after Felix departed?
Where is it?
Were'd it go?
Detatched and Parachuted back to it?
It has nice cameras. I'd like to get one...
What happend to the Helium Balloon?
Anybody at Air Traffic control know where it's headed, if it's still up there, enjoying the Jet Stream?

RE: the Rest of the Story?
By Dr of crap on 10/15/2012 10:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
Casule came made to unlock from ballon and splash down - I don't know where.
The ballon had a release setup as well to deflate and come down. Basically just ripped a hole in it and it floated down.

RE: the Rest of the Story?
By delphinus100 on 10/15/2012 8:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
Not much 'splashing' down happening in New Mexico...

The capsule was remotely commanded to separate from the balloon moments after Felix left, and it was clearly shown in the live video stream, descending on a parachute after Felix landed.

Where it was taken to however, I don't know.

The balloon itself would either have burst or automatically released the helium, and may still be somewhere in the New Mexico desert.

Good Job!
By Beenthere on 10/14/2012 8:38:12 PM , Rating: 2
Though it all could have ended in tears.

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/14/2012 8:27:01 PM , Rating: 1
Simply amazing...

Perfect example of private industry > NASA
By Lord 666 on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
By inperfectdarkness on 10/15/2012 4:17:35 AM , Rating: 2
well the suits that U2 pilots use cost about $200,000 each. add the additional 50,000+ in design operating altitute (cabin pressure != u2 operating altitude), parachute, and a few other bells and whistles. then you've got a gondola that has to get to altitude. granted, an unpressurized one designed for only 1 person...but still.

i'd say 5 million is probably a conservative figure.

funny thing is, he's not even close to qualifying for an astronaut badge.

RE: Perfect example of private industry > NASA
By Lord 666 on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
By 91TTZ on 10/15/2012 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
='s old NASA way of thinking. Using ridiculously high and artificial limitations to say who or what goes in space


Even NASA considers private spaceflight to be spaceflight. People who ride the SpaceShipTwo into space will go into space under NASA's definition.

The other poster merely stated (correctly) that this balloon didn't go nearly high enough to be in space.

By Dr of crap on 10/15/2012 8:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, when you pay 10 times what the drink should cost you make them big profits that they can spend on crazy stuff!

By bsd228 on 10/15/2012 2:24:42 PM , Rating: 1
How exactly is this proof of industry > NASA/government?

The government did the Kittinger jump 3 years after Sputnik, and without the benefit of substantial technology improvements and space travel experience. Felix has been working on this project better than a decade and several others have also been trying the past couple decades.

It was a very successful project and personally I thought Red Bull deserved the level of brand visibility given their financial support. But nimble and faster don't apply here.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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