January 24, 2010

THIS SOUNDS LIKE FUN, but I’m glad someone else is working the bugs out first . . . . Daredevil Space Diver To Leap Toward World’s First Supersonic Free-Fall From 120,000 Feet. “Dubbed the Red Bull Stratos and sponsored by the energy drink company, the jump will send Baumgartner to the stratosphere in a small space capsule, lifted by a helium-filled balloon. Once he reaches 120,000 feet after three hours of ascension, ground control will give him the “all clear” sign and he’ll pop open the door and jump, as video cameras on the capsule and his suit record his descent. Within 35 seconds or so, Baumgartner will hit supersonic speeds and break the sound barrier. No one really knows what will happen at that point, but the scientists seem confident that he’ll maintain consciousness. He will free fall for roughly six more minutes, pulling his chute at about 5,000 feet and coasting for 15 minutes back to solid ground.”

UPDATE: Various readers point out that Joe Kittinger came close to breaking the sound barrier in his skydive from 102,000 feet back in 1960.

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