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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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.

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