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Red Bull Stratos Actually Happened

It finally happened this morning.  Felix Baumgartner landed on his feet (literally) after falling for 24 miles (128,100 ft) and suddenly, little boys named Felix suddenly felt very different about being named Felix.

Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos broke several records today, but did miss breaking the length of free fall record when he was forced to pull the chute a little early because his visor was fogging up.  But he did break the sound barrier, reaching speeds of 833mph or Mach1.24, which was faster than anticipated.  There were a few hitches.  First that visor issue was almost enough to scrap the jump, but they decided to continue.  He also did go into a “flat spin” as he was coming out the sound barrier.  This was a concern because it is so violent it can cause a blackout.  He was able to stabilize himself and the free fall and finally pulled his chute and landed about 40 miles away from where he started.  It should also be mentioned that today historic achievement came on the anniversary, of October 14th, 1947, when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his Bell X-1 rocket plane.

Watching this live on TV was just about the single most thrilling, scary thing I’ve ever witnessed.  Considering NASA is mostly out of the “sending humans to space” business and the fact that in my adult life I’ve not witnessed any such feat it was something I will never forget.  In those moments when he was past the sound barrier, audible breathing is all you could hear and all you could see what a tiny white image on a background – head down, legs up.  Amazing and moving all at the same time.

(the above image  is an outstanding animated gif, click on it to see it animated, for some reason I can’t get it to do it with the story)

It’s been reported that over 8 million people tuned into the YouTube live stream.

There is an amazing amount of great coverage, here’s link to a Google News Feed.

Here is footage of the jump from minutes before he leaves the capsule… I suspect this will get pulled.  If it does I will find another, probably better version…

Here is an official collection of highlights of the jump from Red Bull

Here is the helmet chest pack cam video as shown on Austrian TV last night… This may get pulled.

*updated* Red Bull Stratos Should Happen This Week

*update* – It now is being reported that the first day an attempt is looking to be possible is Sunday 10/14.  High winds have prevented the attempt as the ballon needs practically zero  winds speeds at different elevations to make the attempt safe.

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It seems like a long time ago I began to talk about the amazing planned attempt by Felix Baumgartner to jump, literally, from the edge of space – but it looks like it will actually happen as soon as Tuesday.

Red Bull Stratos has had an on/off, stop/start storyline over the last several years, but if all goes to plan and mother nature allows, it should finally all fall into place (no pun intended) from the high skies of New Mexico.   Originally planned to happen today (Monday), but high winds delayed the start, as soon as Tuesday Felix will enter a custom made capsule with a massive helium ballon attached that will take him to a planned height of 120,000 feet (or 23 miles) to the very edge of where space officially starts.

There he will leave the capsule with only a parachute attached, but encased in a pressurized space suit as his only means of safety from the elements surrounding him.  At that height any damage or tear in the suit would certainly kill him, and by kill him, I mean possibly boil his blood, rip his body into an uncountable number of bits and general mayhem.

This will not only best the 1960 jump of Air Force Capt. Joseph W. Kittinger Jr. from 102,800 feet, and will include the first time a human has broken the sound barrier without being inside a capsule or craft of some kind ( about 700 mph).   Breaking the sound barrier poses an unknown in the form of shock waves and how that effects his suit, or damages it, is an unknown – although scientists says that the thin air at such heights are an advantage.

In addition to the temps, pressure and shock waves is the simple problem of controlling his decent.  Because of the thin air, the smallest error in positioning could put Felix into an uncontrolled spin that could knock him out, prevent a safe deployment of his parachute or maybe if fast enough cause his good to rush to his brain causing bleeding or clotting.

The Red Bull team has preventive measures and solutions for all of these worries, but the attempt is about as hairy and ballsy as it gets.

You will be able to watch the event live via the Red Bull Stratos website and if Twitter is your thing, I’d suggest following @redbullstratos or the event’s  Facebook page.

Red Bull Stratos Jumps Halfway

Jumping from 13 miles seems like a pretty tremendous feat in itself, but for Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos, that is only halfway.

Thursday Baumgartner – with his helium ballon, pressurized capsule, full pressure suit and from 71,581 feet – jumped and parachuted safely to the ground.

He reached speeds of 364.4mph in this jump and when he attempts the full jump from 23 miles later this summer, he is expected to be the first person to break the sound barrier outside of some sort of capsule.  All of this is an attempt to break the record of Co. Joe Kittinger who jumped from 102,800 feet in 1960 and never quite got to the speed of sound, although there are many false reports that he did.

Thursday’s jump lasted 3:43 before he pulled the ripcords for his parachute and the successful test makes him only the third person in human history to have jumped from that altitude.

You can find out all sorts of info from the official Red Bull Stratos site.

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