Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull announced on Tuesday that the once much hyped event, then cancelled due to legal wrangling, will take place in 2012. The event will see Baumgartner ride a space ballon to 120,000 feet (the edge of space) and then jump out of the capsule into free fall, reaching speeds in excess of Mach1 (690 mph) before finally opening a parachute that will result in a 10 minute decent back to Earth.
A recent set of vacuum testing of the space suit Baumgartner will wear was one of the final hurdles in getting the jump back on track.
This is an attempt to break the record set back in 1960 of retired Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger who jumped from 102,000 feet and approached Mach1 speeds, but did not surpass it. Many people have talked about attempting another jump, but Red Bull appears to be the financial and marketing engine needed to make it actually happen.
The dangers of this jump are obvious, but when you really hear the details – its a downright freak out. No man has ever broken the sound barrier without being inside a capsule or craft. If the smallest thing goes wrong at those speeds, Baumgartner’s body will be torn to shreds, just after his blood literally boils from the temperatures he will be surrounded by.
The Red Bull Stratos site has tons of videos, diagrams and interactive pages that really explain this in great detail. Spend the time. If this actually happens it will be an event watched by the world with the highest of drama.