Sunday, 14 October 2012

Baumgartner's About to Jump...

Live Video.

 I'm watching the live broadcast from Felix Baumgartners ascent toward the edge of space. 
He's going the (moderately) slow way, at least compared to a rocket, his helium balloon is rising at almost a thousand feet per minute.
94,460 feet. 
18 miles up.
102,000 feet now, the point at which Joe Kittinger jumped to make the highest ever parachute jump.  Ascent slowing...........

He's going to jump.
128,000 feet
"popping the canopy....."

This is Felix Baumgartner's latest attempt to go beyond the furthest barriers set to man. 
Sadly submerged in corporate sponsor branding. You'd be forgiven for thinking this is Red-Bull's idea, as you hear "Red Bull/Stratos being name-checked every few moments. But it's not. It's Baumgartner's mission. 
Red Bull/Stratos are just the corporate sponsors, they're the moneybags, the facilitators, not the drivers. Just a necessary evil. 

The highest any man has been in a balloon, is likely to be exceeded. 
No sustained flight powered airplane is capable of this altitude. Oh yes, the X-15 rocketplane, launched from beneath the wing of a bomber in the stratosphere, has achieved a higher peak, 325,000ft.
 Alexandr Fedotov, a Russian pilot holds the world altitude record, set on August 31, 1977, when his MiG E-266M reached 123,523 feet. That's still the limit for any plane that took off and landed itself.
And that again was an artificial lunge into the void, not something that could be sustained. Just an upward blip. 

The highest sustained altitude flight for any plane is 85,000ft, held by the Lockheed SR71 Blackbird. He's currently 35,000 feet above that. Amazing. Incredible.


  1. That was incredibly amazing. Thank you for posting it.


  2. Dangerous stuff, that. Very very high altitude jumps have been done before, of course, at least one ended in death. Kittinger, who broke a few altitude jumping records got a leak in his glove so it swelled to like twice the size of the other (but he recovered fully).

    A very interesting topic.

  3. Somewhere in my files I have a book by an ex S.A.S. trooper, Charles 'Nish' Bruce, who was the first member of special forces to parachute into the Falkland islands, and wrote under the pseudonym 'Tom Read'. He set out to beat the record, some years ago.
    Sadly, he suffered from PTSD, and on leaving the army went though severe depression and some psychotic episodes, leading to him having several stays in a psychiatric hospital ward, when he was a danger to others, and to himself. Prior to that, he had worked with Kittinger, and Baikonur Space Centre, where he was fitted with a spacesuit for the jump. His book, Freefall,, is in turns a story of heroism, and a tragedy of a man losing his battle with inner demons.
    'Nish' ended his life by stepping out of a light aircraft, above Oxfordshire, without a parachute.,3604,630819,00.html


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