Once Felix Baumgartner opens the door of his capsule, it gets serious. Years of planning by the Red Bull Stratos science team comes down to a few calculated, vital decisions.
Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space, in which Felix Baumgartner will ascend to 36.6km in a helium balloon and come down to Earth in free fall, collecting useful scientific data and setting four world records:
- Break the speed of sound unaided
- Free fall from the highest altitude
- Longest free fall time
- Highest manned balloon flight
7 minutes, 52 years
A leap from the stratosphere is like climbing Mount Everest: Felix Baumgartner talks about his plunge from 71,600 feet, the impossibility of training for supersonic flight and what really worries him.
“Space is jet black. You can see the curvature of the Earth. This is the moment when you realise just how lucky you are to be up here, standing on the platform of the capsule at an altitude of about 22km, ready to jump. You’re relieved to finally be up here. Relieved to be able to show at last what we’d been working on for the past five years. Relieved to give something back to those people who have always believed in us. Then you release your grip on the handrails and fall, just as you’d envisaged it a million times over.”
“For my record leap from 36.6km it means that I might possibly break the sound barrier on my back, blind and helpless. That is not what you want, but you can’t discount such a horror scenario.”
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