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Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice 192

wooferhound writes "A daredevil leapt from a balloon more than 18 miles above the Earth today, moving one step closer to a so-called 'space jump' that would set the record for the world's highest skydive. Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner stepped out of his custom-built capsule at an altitude of 96,640 feet (29,456 meters) above southeastern New Mexico, officials with Red Bull Stratos — the name of Baumgartner's mission — announced today. In today's jump, Baumgartner experienced freefall for three minutes and 48 seconds, reaching a top speed of 536 mph (863 kph), project officials said. Baumgartner then opened his parachute and glided to Earth safely about 10 minutes and 30 seconds after stepping into the void."
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Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice

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  • Fastest Human? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @10:21PM (#40772467)

    Did he also attain distinction of being fastest non-propelled human?

  • air resistance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @10:22PM (#40772471)

    Air resistance up to typical skydiving altitude provides sufficient drag to keep the person from accelerating to the point where deceleration would result in so much friction as to vaporize the person. If this guy's really dead-set on jumping from the actual threshold of space...

    1. He'll need thermal insulation until he's in the earth atmosphere properly. I hear it's pretty cold up there.

    2. I think it's safe to assume he has the oxygen problem licked, because at 12 miles, he'd have suffocated.

    3. I understand objects falling from that altitude tend to encounter very little air resistance, which means they pick up a lot of speed. The kind of speed that causes brilliant fireballs to appear in place of anything falling from that height, like asteroids, satellites, and space shuttles.

    ... I don't see how anyone could survive those kinds of physical stresses while maintaining any level of mobility, or having a silhouette even vaguely resembling a person. The low mass of a person (even one encased in inches-thick ceramic heat shielding, would mean the bow wave shocks would turn anyone inside into goo. Perhaps someone with a better understanding of physics clear up for me why this isn't the case, since I'm pretty sure Red Bull doesn't want their energy drink to be associated with what in my eyes is essentially suicide by thermodynamics?

  • New Extreme Sport (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sanman2 ( 928866 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @10:44PM (#40772615)

    If you could run this as a business operation, I wonder how much you could charge people for "space jumps"?

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @10:57PM (#40772725) Homepage Journal

    Did he also attain distinction of being fastest non-propelled human?

    No, I'm pretty sure that record was set by the Apollo 10 re-entry, at close to 40,000 km/h (almost 25,000 mph).

    He's not even the fastest skydiver - that record has held for 52 years now - Joseph Kittinger did a free fall in 1960 that lasted 21% longer and reached a top speed 15% faster than what Baumgartner just did.

  • Re:air resistance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:01PM (#40772749) Journal
    Actually, you don't get hot from the friction; you get hot from compressing the air in front of you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:47PM (#40773029)

    On Aug. 16, 1960, US military Col. Kittinger stepped from a balloon-supported gondola at the altitude of 102,800 feet to test the use of a parachute for escape from a space capsule or high-altitude aircraft. In free-fall for 4.5 minutes at speeds up to 614 mph and temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit, Col. Kittinger opened his parachute at 18,000 feet.

    The jump set records that still stand today: the highest ascent in a balloon, the highest parachute jump, the longest free-fall, and the fastest speed by a man through the atmosphere.

    Video of the story [youtube.com]

  • Re:Pretty Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:50PM (#40773039)

    The "reporter" lured Aldrin to a hotel under false pretenses, wasting his whole day. Then he ambushed him, making ridiculous demands. I found a brief snippet from the video, immediately before the punch and I've transcribed what I heard below:
    "...you're the one who said you walked on the moon when you didn't. Calling the kettle black, if I ever thought I would say that"
    "Would you get it away from me!"
    "You're a coward, and a liar, and a thief..."
    Then comes the punch. That doesn't really seem like responding to and honest question with unprovoked violence to me. Heck, even Sibrel himself sent a letter of apology (according to Sibrel, anyway) to Aldrin.

    I have no idea what to say to the rest of your post. Hollow, artificial moon, built by the same people who built the (extremely small and unimpressive compared to their work on the moon) pyramids at Giza? You just never know quite what to say to that kind of thing. Backing away slowly while smiling reassuringly seems to be the only way to go.

"It might help if we ran the MBA's out of Washington." -- Admiral Grace Hopper