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Record Breaking Freefall Attempt Won’t Be Until October 14

A disappointed Felix Baumgartner exited his capsule on Oct. 9, 2012 after the flight was aborted due to high winds. Credit: Red Bull Stratos.

Windy weather in New Mexico likely won’t improve for a few days, and so the Red Bull Stratos team is targeting Sunday, October 14 for the next try for Felix Baumgartner to attempt a record-breaking freefall where he could break the sound barrier with his body. Meteoroligsts ruled out flights for today, Wednesday, and Thursday. The winds were the problem on Tuesday when the launch of the helium balloon that was to bring Baumarter to 36.5 km was aborted.

“As we inflated the balloon and got Felix into the capsule at about 11:42 a.m., we experienced a gust of wind that took us above 40 km/h at the peak of the balloon,” said Red Bull Stratos Project Director Art Thompson, adding the gust had dangerously twisted the balloon in a way that could have damaged the delicate polyethylene material. “The integrity of the balloon at that point is really unknown and unacceptable to use for manned flight because we were not sure what would happen as we launch. Our biggest problem was the wind at the 230 meters level.”

Wind speeds cannot exceed 5km/h or there is a chance the envelope could tear when the support team tries to release it. “We knew that we only had a small window today which we finally did not hit,” added Thompson.

The 43-year-old extreme jumper said he was surprised by the decision to abort the flight on Tuesday but optimistic he will still get his chance to break the 52-year-old record set by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 31.3 km (102,800 ft). Kittinger is working as an adviser for Baumgartmer, and was the CAPCOM during the preparations for Tuesday’s attempt.

“I want this to happen this year,” Baumgartner said. “We’ve made it so far. There’s no turning back. We’re here, we’ve got the helium and we’re good to go. Whether that’s tomorrow or the first day next week, I don’t really care.”

The current schedule shows a 6:30 MDT (12:30 UTC) time for the launch attempt on Oct. 14. Universe Today will post a live feed of the jump on our website.

The partially inflated balloon during the Oct. 9 attempt was tossed around by the wind, forcing an abort to the launch. Credit: Red Bull Stratos

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • SJStar October 11, 2012, 6:52 AM

    ‘Chicken’ comes to mind, but to be honest, are the dangers here really worth the risk?

    I fail to see the scientific benefits, hence the media coverage, rather than the obvious daring-doo. I’d suggest reporting it when it happens, and not the spin leading up to it.

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE October 11, 2012, 9:23 AM

      Would you like this cheese to go with your whine?

      • SJStar October 11, 2012, 10:24 AM

        Universe Today asks for comments, which some here bother, for some reason, to respond too. Speak the truth, and those who should really know better, just condemn you for it. From your response here, it is clear you are only part of the problem and not towards the solution. Perhaps Universe Today should simply reexamine its priorities regarding what is reports rather than joining the blindly everyday media who follow the hype than the true substance of science and scientific investigation.
        IMO, whining is infinitely better than having nothing to say at all. To your own detriment, sir.

        • spew October 11, 2012, 4:02 PM

          My friend, there’s a fine difference between simply whining and trolling the site with anti-American hysteria. It’s ok to simply whine and say something’s wrong, but to expect everyone to warm up to you and like you after going on your one-sided-endless diatribe about the arrogance of America and their polluting ways on another article. Now you hide behind the whole ‘UT asks for comments’ and wonder why no one likes you?

          I warned you at the beginning of our relationship that this would happen.

          It is better to say nothing if you’re going to sound like an ass; no one listens to an ass when he speaks, and no one will assume that you’re an ass when you don’t.

      • SJStar October 11, 2012, 10:45 AM

        Oh. As Ed Gillespie, the senior American Republican political strategist of the Mitt Romney campaign says; “Well, we have a no whining rule in Boston about coverage in the media. We just deal with the facts.

        The facts of this story are mostly hype, whose scientific credibility is dubious at best. I feel Felix Baumgartner is just peddling the media for all that its worth, and it is centrally more about him than anything else. Media are just suckers who have fallen for it.

        Twenty minutes of fame. He’s had his fill, so move on.

      • spew October 11, 2012, 3:40 PM

        rofl…

      • Olaf2 October 11, 2012, 5:02 PM

        I think he has a patent on whining.
        It is one whining post after another from him.

    • spew October 11, 2012, 3:43 PM

      For once, I have to say I partially agreed with SJ on this one. I was listening on NPR about this and the same thought crossed my mind. I think this whole stunt is more PR hype than anything.

      As a person who agrees to disagree, UT is a site that tries to appeal to a broad audience. That’s why there’s the occasional NASA cookout here where astronauts get interviewed; ok, that’s an exaggeration.

      • kkt October 11, 2012, 7:40 PM

        I agree, this is a stunt, not something interesting for scientific or engineering value. Maybe the suit will test technologies for emergency re-entry from a damaged spacecraft in low earth orbit. But I doubt it.

    • delphinus100 October 11, 2012, 11:30 PM

      Are you under the impression that ‘media coverage’ is always (or always should be) about ‘scientific benefits?’

  • joe meyers October 15, 2012, 1:38 PM

    What happened to the balloon

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