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Old 7 February 2012, 09:28
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Skydiver Felix Baumgartner seeks to break sound barrier

Anyone want to chime in on this. Will be interesting to watch.


Skydiver Felix Baumgartner seeks to break sound barrier


By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News


Felix Baumgartner and Colonel Joe Kittinger speak about the attempt

The Austrian extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner says his next goal is to try to break the long-standing record for the highest ever parachute jump.

It is 50 years since the American Joe Kittinger made history by leaping from a balloon at 102,800ft (31km).

Many have sought to repeat the feat down the decades but all have failed.

Baumgartner, who is famous for stunts such as jumping off the Petronas Towers, aims to skydive from a balloon sent to at least 120,000 ft (37km).

It is likely that in his long freefall of more than five minutes, he will exceed the speed of sound - the first person to do so without the aid of a machine.

"No-one really knows what that will be like," he said.

"The fact is you have a lot of different airflows coming around your body; and some parts of your body are in supersonic flow and some parts are in transonic flow. What kind of reaction that creates, I can't tell you," he told BBC News.


Felix Baumgartner's base-jumping has not always pleased the authorities


Baumgartner and his supporters claim the project will gather scientific data also about the stratosphere and how the body copes with the extreme conditions so high above the Earth's surface.

The most recent attempt to try to better Kittinger's mark was made in 2008 by the Frenchman Michel Fournier.





Joe Kittinger made his leap before the first American went into space


The former paratrooper and adventurer had spent years preparing for "Le Grand Saut", or Big Jump, only to see his balloon break free and float off into the sky just as he was about to climb inside the ascent capsule.

Baumgartner has frequently incurred the ire of the authorities because of his base-jumping - the highly dangerous practice of parachuting from buildings. He also made headlines in 2003 when he crossed the English Channel on a carbon wing strapped to his back.

His assault on Kittinger's record is likely to take place later this year over an as yet unnamed location in North America. He will ascend to the stratosphere in a pressurized capsule attached to a 450ft-high (140m) helium balloon, and then jump out at an altitude he hopes will exceed 120,000ft. .

He will be wearing a specially modified full-pressure suit and helmet.







The organisers of the project called Red Bull Stratos say, if all goes well, he should break the speed of sound about 35 seconds into his descent.

Joe Kittinger's 16 August 1960 jump was an extraordinary achievement. It was made nine months before Alan Shepard was even launched on the first American sub-orbital space trip.

Kittinger experienced intense swelling in his right hand as his glove malfunctioned and his body reacted to the low pressure at high altitude.

"I was headed back down to a friendly Earth," he recalls. "It's extremely hostile up there and the further you fall, the friendlier it is," the retired USAF colonel told the BBC.

He is now supporting the Austrian in his endeavour.

As well as coping with freezing temperatures and ultra-thin air, a key objective for Baumgartner must be to try to maintain a good attitude during the descent and prevent his body from going into a spin and blacking out.





Baumgartner acknowledges the risks of breaking the sound barrier


If he does go into a spin, it is unlikely, he says, he will be able to correct it.

In any case, his chute will be automatically deployed if he is unconscious.

Baumgartner has an eye on the benefits he believes can accrue to space exploration, making it possible to bring astronauts back to Earth alive if their vehicle malfunctions.

"We want to prove a human person - if they have to bail out of a capsule from 120,000ft - can come back safely to Earth," he explained.

Michel Fournier has promised to make another attempt in 2010 also, if he can secure the funding.

A BBC/National Geographic Channel documentary is being made about Baumgartner's project. The 90-minute film will be transmitted on BBC Two in the UK shortly after the jump.
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Old 7 February 2012, 09:58
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Good luck. Kittinger did it first, so the only thing now left is exiting at a higher altitude for the fame and the record. Nothing really ground breaking from a scientific POV. I hope he does this carefully; because there won't be a second chance with any malfunctioning gear.
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Old 7 February 2012, 10:14
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So when will someone try to reenter the earth's atmosphere from orbit, safely behind an ablative shield, ditching it when low enough, and then flying an advanced wingsuit all the way down to a perfect landing sans chute?

I guess that's the ultimate goal, right?
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Old 7 February 2012, 10:17
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http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=95003


Quote:
Every few years somebody else says: "I'm going to break Kittinger's Record" and/or "I'm going to freefall supersonic." There is a flash of hype .... then nothing.

Let's see, there was:

Cheryl Sterns (Army Vet, USPA World Champion, Airline Pilot)
http://www.cherylstearns.com/mission1.html

Michel Fourier (Frenchman, 64+ years old)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24821986/

Steve Truglia (British, former SAS)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lif...cle3416197.ece

And now there's Baumgartner.

I suspect a Goggle search could turn up even more.

I'm still waiting for the talk to end and the the jumping to begin.

Until then .... yawn.

(As for Kittinger .. He's still the man. 1960's technology, no Kelvar, no Lexan, no GPS, no cell phones, just balls).

Yawn
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Old 7 February 2012, 10:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B 2/75
So when will someone try to reenter the earth's atmosphere from orbit, safely behind an ablative shield, ditching it when low enough, and then flying an advanced wingsuit all the way down to a perfect landing sans chute?

I guess that's the ultimate goal, right?
Meh, I've done this several times in HALO....
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Old 8 February 2012, 00:41
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Col. Kittinger's jump isnt just a skydiving record, but the longest standing record in aviation, period.
Good luck! I'd be more stoked if I hadnt already made "donations" to the last three attempts. I have enough $500 t-shirts
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Old 8 February 2012, 18:12
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I've been hearing that this record breaking jump is just around the corner for about 6 years now.

How much longer do I have to hold my breath?
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Old 1 March 2012, 13:20
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Falling from a baloon would be very different than from an orbiting object. If you eject from an orbiting object you have to add the orbiting speed to you decent speed. And you would get very hot. Falling down from a balloon. Would be a lot less hazardous as the atmosphere would slowly thinken and the friction heat could build slowly and hopefully not to a point it would injure the person. I would be interested in Kitinggers decompression injury to his hand.
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Old 16 March 2012, 11:30
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He jumped from 70K today in Roswell, here's an article with a pretty moto pic
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/...ntcmp=features

ETA: Altho not mentioned in the article, the video has Joe Kittinger working in the Redbull/Stratos mission control, and doing some great narration. He's listed as "Mentor/Current Record Holder" - very gratifying to see.
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Old 16 March 2012, 11:58
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Does anybody know the type of platform he made this "jump" from...aircraft, balloon? I could not tell from the pic.
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Old 16 March 2012, 12:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by base7 View Post
Does anybody know the type of platform he made this "jump" from...aircraft, balloon? I could not tell from the pic.
Balloon - there's a great vid and slideshow on that article that shows everything.
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Old 16 March 2012, 13:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by base7 View Post
...aircraft, balloon?
A gas balloon (or a hot air balloon for that matter, whether with airborne heater or without) is an aircraft.

Quote:
I could not tell from the pic.
Definitely a gas balloon. Unmistakable.
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Old 20 March 2012, 17:03
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He's looking to jump from 120,000 ft., just out of curiousity is that the maximum altitude a jump could be made from?

Just how high can a balloon go before it tops out?
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Old 20 March 2012, 18:45
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Here... let me scope that out for ya...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia / Flight Altitude Record

Unmanned gas balloon category

In 1893 French scientist Jules Richard constructed sounding balloons. These unmanned balloons, carrying light, but very precise instruments, approached an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters).[24]

The U.S. (and for a while, the world) altitude record for unmanned balloons was 51.8 km (170,000 ft) (according to a 1991 edition of Guinness Book of World Records). The vehicle was a Winzen-Balloon with a volume of 1.35 million cubic metres, which was launched in October 1972 in Chico, California, USA.[citation needed]

In 2002 an ultra-thin-film balloon named BU60-1 made of polyethylene film 3.4 m thick with a volume of 60,000 m was launched from Sanriku Balloon Center at 6:35 on May 23, 2002. The balloon ascended at a speed of 260 m per minute and successfully reached the altitude of 53.0 km (173,900 ft), breaking the previous world world record set in 1972.[25]
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Old 20 March 2012, 22:15
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I was thinking of a manned balloon, so far the highest altitude they've achieved was during a similar Navy project at around the same time as project Excelsior.

Looks like Strato Lab reached an altitude of 113,740 feet before descending and splashing down in the Atlantic. It was unpressurized also.
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Old 23 March 2012, 16:17
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Looks like Strato Lab reached an altitude of 113,740 feet before descending and splashing down in the Atlantic. It was unpressurized also.
Still an altitude record for a manned gas balloon, as well as the most rigorous operational workout the Goodrich Mark IV full pressure suit ever underwent. From a flight physiology standpoint, that flight didn't differ substantially from a 12-hour EVA; quite a feat considering that the Mk IV was designed strictly as an intravehicular suit. All the environment lacked was microgravity.

LCDR Victor Prather, the flight surgeon half of the crew, slipped off the gangplank boarding the recovery ship, wherupon his suit immediately flooded and dragged him under (fatally). This was the day prior to Al Shepard's MR-3 flight (the Mercury guys flew in the very same suit design), and by Grissom's MR-4 flight later that summer, the issue with the suit's propensity for flooding still hadn't been corrected.

I know we've discussed this one before. Still, balloons continue to have superb potential as research platforms. Given that the contemporary press had such a case of "red rocket" for Mercury, this project didn't receive anywhere near the attention it meritted.

Last edited by WS-G; 23 March 2012 at 16:23.
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Old 27 March 2012, 16:16
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I've gotten hold of a couple of recent issues of Red Bull magazine, they've got a couple of good interviews with Baumgartner and a nice piece on the technology of the gondola that will carry him aloft.

The biggest hurdle he's faced so far involved simply being able to stay in his suit, with helmet on and visor down and his life support system activated, for the estimated 5 hours that is the expected mission duration. It was really a problem for him, he described it as like being imprisoned.

Although when you think about it, Joe Kittinger's archaic tests to determine whether he was psychologically fit for his missions sound pretty tough too. One of them involved being enclosed in a 3"x3"3" container for 24 hours.

Here's an online link to the interviews with both Kittinger and Baumgartner.

http://www.redbullusa.com/cs/Satelli...21243153563028
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Old 27 March 2012, 17:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinner View Post
The biggest hurdle he's faced so far involved simply being able to stay in his suit, with helmet on and visor down and his life support system activated, for the estimated 5 hours that is the expected mission duration. It was really a problem for him, he described it as like being imprisoned.
Screening someone for claustrophobia isn't very difficult or time-consuming at all. From the content of Baumgartner's interview statements, he's had some serious claustrophobia issues --- apparently for most of his life --- that throughout all of his "extreme activities" he has carefully managed to avoid. At least he's taking steps to deal with this issue via a systematic, professionally supervised phobia desensitization program.
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Old 11 April 2012, 18:47
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Interesting point here...

...and I kind of wonder if lifting payload via a balloon to an orbiting space elevator (for a second stage lift) is on the design board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WS-G View Post
Still an altitude record for a manned gas balloon, as well as the most rigorous operational workout the Goodrich Mark IV full pressure suit ever underwent. From a flight physiology standpoint, that flight didn't differ substantially from a 12-hour EVA; quite a feat considering that the Mk IV was designed strictly as an intravehicular suit. All the environment lacked was microgravity.

LCDR Victor Prather, the flight surgeon half of the crew, slipped off the gangplank boarding the recovery ship, wherupon his suit immediately flooded and dragged him under (fatally). This was the day prior to Al Shepard's MR-3 flight (the Mercury guys flew in the very same suit design), and by Grissom's MR-4 flight later that summer, the issue with the suit's propensity for flooding still hadn't been corrected.

I know we've discussed this one before. Still, balloons continue to have superb potential as research platforms. Given that the contemporary press had such a case of "red rocket" for Mercury, this project didn't receive anywhere near the attention it meritted.
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Old 12 April 2012, 16:15
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I'm going to recommend this book again, because it's relevant to the topic.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pre-Astron.../dp/1591147484

It's a good read, especially the pages that relate to Dr. John Paul Stapp. He was the flight surgeon involved in the Excelsior and Man High projects, probably best known for taking those high G rocket sled rides in the 50s.
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