First Person View of the Stratos Space Jump!

Fly with Felix Baumgartner’s POV

Felix Baumgartner, born in Austria 1969, is a professional daredevil, skydiver and Base jumper. As part of the Red Bull Stratos Project (aka the “Mission to the edge of Space”) he set the world skydiving record by jumping an estimated 24 Miles (39 KM) towards earth.

Watch the video below to appreciate this incredible feat from the man himself, the video contains Felix’s POV as he jumps and includes stats from his space suit, indicating that he reached a top speed of 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph) or Mach 1.25. Felix was the first person to break the Sound Barrier without additional power – the speed barrier was broken simple as a side effect of his speed at which he was free falling.

Records Broken

  • The first human to break the sound barrier (reaching at Mach 1.25) without any form of engine power.
  • The unofficial record for the highest manned balloon flight of 37,640 m (123,491 ft)
  • The record for the highest altitude jump at 38,969 m (127,851 ft) (23.3884 miles)

For this jump Baumgartner was mentored by retired US Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger, he was also the capsule communicator at mission control during the jump itself. Kittinger had previously held the world record for the highest altitude jump which he set in 1960.

Fun Facts

  1. This jump (the first free fall to break the sound barrier) happened 65 years to the day (14 October 1947) that Chuck Yeager was the first human to break the sound barrier in a piloted aircraft.
  2. The ascent from ground to the point of highest altitude took approximately 2.5 hours.
  3. The jump reached a top speed of 1342 KM/h

This is the Launch Site at Roswell International Air Center, the weather was clear

 

The stats in the video above come from the Equivital LifeMonitor, a device worn across the torso which can monitor vital signs and the body’s physiological response to the extreme environment.

The Balloon

The Balloon ascended to it’s altitude by being filled with helium, by ascending to the upper atmosphere drag would decrease as there was less air resistance. Two test jumps from 21,818 metres  and 29,460 metres respectively were completed on 15 March 2012 and 25 July 2012.  In these jumps Baumgartner reportedly reached speeds of 360 mp/h and 536 mp/h – these were personal bests at the time.

At an altitude of 39 Km, showing the first 5 seconds after the Jump.

The live stream received 9.5 million users making it the most popular live stream video on YouTube of all time, by concurrent users.

Launch

The scheduled launch on 9 October 20125 was delayed by 5 hours because of weather problems and time to fix one of the capsule’s radio communication devices, finally this launch was cancelled due to a 25 mp/h gust of wind, the meteorologist announced it would be rescheduled for 11 October, where it would be delayed again until the final launch date n the 14th.

The jump reached it’s terminal velocity (it’s moment of highest speed) 42 seconds in to the jump at 834 mp/h.

Problems

Within the first minute of the jump Felix entered an uncontrolled spin, given the geforce affect on the body this could have been fatal, luckily Felix regained control at 1:23, one potential reason for this occurring was that the pressured space suit meant Felix could not feel the wind against his body – skydivers typically use this feeling to determine their speed and direction.

The suit was equipped with an abort switch which would have deployed a drogue parachute, this would have stabilised the fall and the spin but also effectively aborted the freefall jump and make breaking any speed records impossible.

At 3 minutes 40 seconds in to the jump it was reported that the visor in Baumgarter’s helmet was fogging up, this would be due a fault in the in built heater which he had previously noticed before he jumped.

Science

The most incredible and unique aspect of this jump is that the sound barrier was broken without additional power, this represents not only a record but a risk since no one knew what would happen to the human body when not protected by a vehicle. The research and information from this mission will surely be helpful for people looking to explore space commercially. One particular application is the use of emergency evacuation from space shuttles whilst passing through the stratosphere.

The jump was sponsored by Red Bull.

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