Felix Baumgartner salutes his suit-mounted camera before stepping off his capsule’s platform at 128,000 feet (Red Bull Stratos)
Yesterday, October 14, Austrian pilot and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner became the first person to skydive from over 128,000 feet, breaking the sound barrier during his 4 minute, 20 second plummet from the “edge of space.” A new video from Red Bull Stratos includes views from Felix’s suit-mounted cameras as he drops through virtually no atmosphere, smoothly at first but then going into a wild spin… but eventually stabilizing himself for the remainder of his fall and opening his chute at just over 6,000 feet. Incredible!
Check out the video below:
Here’s how Baumgartner described the spin and how he got out of it during the press conference after his jump yesterday:
“It started out really good because my exit was perfect, I did exactly what I was supposed to do… It looked like for a second I was going to tumble two more times and then get it under control, but for some reason that spin became so violent over all axis and it was hard to know how to get out of it, because, if you are trapped in a pressurized suit – normally as a skydiver you can feel the air and get direct feedback from the air — but here you are trapped in a suit that is pressurized at 3.5 PSI so you don’t know how to feel the air. It is like swimming without touching the water. And it’s hard because every when time it turns you around you have to figure out what to do. So I was sticking my arm out and it became worse and then I stuck arm out the other side and it became less, so I was fighting all the way down to regain control because I wanted to break the speed of sound. And I hit it. I don’t know how many seconds, but I could feel air was building up and then I hit it.”
So, in that quote, Baumgartner seemed to describe that he could feel when he broke the speed of sound, but in answering the next question of how it felt, he kind of backtracked and said he didn’t feel it.
“It’s hard to describe because I didn’t feel it. When you are in the pressure suit, you don’t feel anything, it is like being in a cast…. We have to look at the data – at what point did it happen — was I still spinning or was I under control? If you want to chart speed you need a reference point of things that pass you by, or sound, or your suit if flapping. I didn’t have that.”
Read more about Baumgartner’s record (and sound!) -breaking achievement and see lots more images and video here.
ADDED: A version of the video showing his chute opening (and with some background music added) can be found here on iloveskydiving.org.
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!