The Red Bull Stratos project will redefine previous ideas about the limits of the human body as Felix Baumgartner free falls from 23 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver and BASE jumper who has been parachuting to the ground from extremely high altitudes for more than three decades, will travel 120,000 feet in the air in a stratospheric balloon. He will wear a pressurized suit (that resembles a space suit) and break several records by accomplishing this jump.
Here is everything you need to know about watching the event live.
Where: 23 Miles above Roswell, N.M.
When: The launch was scheduled for Tuesday, October 9, but was aborted because of weather conditions. Follow the Red Bull Stratos Twitter to find out when the event will take place.
The Red Bull Stratos launch today was aborted due to strong winds. We'll keep you updated on possible new launch days.— Red Bull Stratos (@RedBullStratos) October 9, 2012
Note: all quotes, facts and figures via of RedBullStratos.com, unless otherwise noted.
History and Records
This project was conceived in 2007. A year later, Joe Kittinger joined the team in preparations for the launch.
Kittinger is a retired Air Force Colonel who holds the records for the highest and longest skydives in history. Baumgartner’s jump would set new marks in both of these areas, as well as a new record for highest manned balloon flight, according to Chris Smith of Forbes.com.
Baumgartner will also become the first human being ever to break the sound barrier without being aided by a vehicle.
The event’s website states, “Red Bull Stratos seeks to advances scientific discoveries in aerospace for the benefit of mankind.”
The unprecedented altitude of the jump and speeds that Baumgartner will reach during free fall require the use of cutting-edge technology and equipment.
As the mission’s medical director Dr. Jonathan Clark says:
“Red Bull Stratos is testing new equipment and developing the procedures for inhabiting such high altitudes as well as enduring such extreme acceleration. The aim is to improve the safety for space professionals as well as potential space tourists."
Red Bull Stratos Life Support Engineer Mike Todd said, “On the way up without even opening the capsule door you can find yourself in a life or death situation. So it’s extremely dangerous.”
The fact that the mission calls for a life support engineer is a telling sign as to how treacherous this endeavor is. But the team, starting with Baumgartner, is extremely qualified.
Baumgartner’s vast experience makes him an ideal candidate, and Kittinger’s instrumental role in the mission is also a massive benefit. Baumgartner is supported by team of experts and has gone through five years of testing and planning. The well-prepared individuals carrying out the mission will ensure that free falling from space is as safe as it possibly can be.