Felix Baumgartner ready to leave capsule at over 71,000' on 3-15-12 (photo: facebook)
I was really excited when I first learned about the Red Bull Stratos project and Felix Baumgartner's plan to attempt to break Joseph Kittinger's amazing high altitude jump record of 102,800' from 1960. My dad started skydiving in 1958, so the incredible jumps of Joe Kittinger were part of household talk when I was a kid. But when the Stratos project went on hold in late 2010 due to a legal battle over how this new project had been conceived (see story here), I lost a lot of my interest. But with yesterday's test jump from over 71,000 feet that launched from Roswell New Mexico, and the success that has been achieved thus far, it's hard not be excited again. (apparently some sort of out-of-court settlement got the project back on track in mid 2011)
I'm guessing there will be some extensive freefall video available before long, but for now the video below gives a good overview of the project and the jump from yesterday.
It's pretty much off-the-scale-cool that Joe Kittinger is involved in the Stratos project encouraging Felix along... and it's great to see that this new project has helped bring attention to Joe's amazing accomplishments from so long ago. And the Stratos project is more than just a stunt. The next generation of pressure suits are being tested here, and then there's that interesting idea that Felix may indeed go supersonic when he gets to the big jump planned for 120,000 feet. I don't know if there's really anything interesting or useful to be learned from a man in a pressure suit falling at supersonic speeds, but I guess we won't know until it's done!
For more details on the Red Bull Stratos project, check out: