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"Fearless Felix" approaches speed of sound in second Red Bull Stratos jump


July 25, 2012

Felix Baumgartner has successfully carried out a 96,640 foot parachute jump from the Red Bull Stratos balloon, landing safely after reaching Mach 0.8 during the descent

Felix Baumgartner has successfully carried out a 96,640 foot parachute jump from the Red Bull Stratos balloon, landing safely after reaching Mach 0.8 during the descent

Image Gallery (10 images)

Skydiver "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has done it again - successfully carrying out an 18.3 mile (29.5 km) skydive from the Red Bull Stratos balloon high above Roswell, NM. His top speed was 536 mph (865 km/h). At that altitude, the speed of sound is about 673 mph (1083 km/h), so Baumgartner's top speed was Mach 0.80!

Early this morning, Baumgartner, wearing a fully pressurized space suit, climbed into an eight-foot (2.4 m) diameter pressurized capsule to await launch for his second test jump.

Felix Baumgartner climbing into the Red Bull Stratus capsule

The capsule hung about 150 feet (46 m) below a 600-foot (183 m) helium-filled balloon. After launch, it took about an hour and a half to reach the jump altitude. Although this flight was intended for a 90,000 foot (27.4 km) jump, this goal was overshot, resulting in a jump from 96,640 feet (29.5 km).

Stratos capsule during launch

The Stratos capsule rises on its way to an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet

Prior to and during the 90-minute ascent, Baumgartner was breathing the capsule's eight psi (55 kPa) pure oxygen atmosphere, equivalent to air pressure at 15,000 feet (4.6 km). These conditions help to prevent the bends (formation of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream), should the capsule or his space suit be breached. The reduced pressure and the long period of breathing pure oxygen reduce the amount of dissolved nitrogen as well as the pressure change involved in becoming exposed to the near-vacuum in the upper stratosphere.

Baumgartner checking the inside of the Stratos capsule

After jumping, his space suit life support systems took over, maintaining a pure oxygen pressure of eight psi (55 kPa) from two bottles of oxygen gas attached to his spacesuit.

Baumgartner in his protective suit

The air pressure when he left the capsule was about one percent of sea level, meaning that his blood would boil without the protection of his space suit. After an estimated free fall of three minutes and 48 seconds, he triggered his parachutes, and landed outside of Roswell ten minutes and 36 seconds after he jumped from the capsule. The capsule descended to Earth on its own parachute system for reuse.

A successful landing for the jump outside Roswell, NM

The Red Bull Stratos project is aimed at carrying out a freefall jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, breaking the sound barrier during the descent. NASA is paying close attention to these jumps, wanting to apply the Stratos lessons to potential escape systems for future spaceships.

The final Stratos jump is scheduled for late August or early September.

Source: Red Bull Stratos

About the Author
Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer. All articles by Brian Dodson

why no video????


This is just such a non event. It was done 50 years ago. Now if you look at it, he sits in a chair going up and fall out after a bit to get back down. It isn't stretching any boundaries or discovering anything new.


Wait a second... Roswell? Balloons? Sky diving? I think Red Bull is trying to say something. Maybe they are saying that the Roswell incident back in the 50's was an early attempt on this type of jump. Back then there was the concept of the HALO jump. So, in my mind I can assume that this incident was a Stratos Jump gone horribly wrong. The man that may have made the jump back then, could have easily be deformed to the point where he would look like an alien, from the intense heat and low pressure (Diver's disease is possible at those altitudes, if depressurization occurs). Oh, my! The more I think about it, the more confident I feel that it's true. At least the "Stratos jump" bit. The military would want this to remain hidden in order to have the "jump" on the Russians. Some pun intended.

Nitrozzy Seven

I drive me a little nuts to read some opf the naysayers comments here. The man that made that jump 50 years ago was almost killed doing it. He is also part of this team. Felix came within a couple kilometers of breaking his recored today. When they make the final jump he will actually exceed the speed of sound but will not even know. That is above 99% of the atmosphere and even though he was falling at well over 500 mph the original jump his suit did not even flutter due to lack of gases. Now put yourself in a future damaged space craft. If you stay with the craft you die like the last shuttle accident. If they had known ahead of time they could leave the craft after slowing to jump speed of maybe as much or more than 1000 mph......and survive. If it is such a non event get off your couch and prove how much of a non event it is. Joe Kittenger is part of this team to break his own record because he believes it is valuable. I hope the whole thing works and gives NASA and private space programs a chance to bring back astronauts alive.


re; vblancer

Well said but you should also mention that the documentation of these jumps is also much more accurate and detailed.

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