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Space Science

The Tech Behind Felix Baumgartner's Stratospheric Skydive 109

MrSeb writes "Felix Baumgartner has successfully completed his stratospheric skydive from 128,000 feet (39km), breaking a record that was set 52 years ago by Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger — that much we know. From the balloon, to the capsule, to the gear that Baumgartner wore during his 730 mph (1174 kph) free fall, the technology behind the scenes is impressive, and in some cases bleeding edge. ExtremeTech takes a deep dive into the tech that kept Baumgartner alive during the three-hour ascent and (much shorter) descent — and the tech that allowed us to watch every moment of the Red Bull Stratos mission live, as captured by no less than 15 digital cameras and numerous other scientific instruments."
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The Tech Behind Felix Baumgartner's Stratospheric Skydive

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  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @09:49PM (#41653671) Journal

    Hydrogen would have gotten him a lot higher as the molecular weight is only 1/2 of Helium. Also, it would not have wasted a precious finite resource for little gain.

  • Re:Old tech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GTRacer ( 234395 ) <gtracer308@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:02AM (#41654389) Homepage Journal
    When Joe Kittinger jumped for Excelsior in the '50s and '60s, he was testing the feasibilty high-altitude escape systems. He succeeded, and in the process, set some very impressive and rather durable records. Stratos was a not-very-subtle ad-funded stunt show. There's real science being done but I have little doubt that it's ultimately in service to the sponsor (also Austrian).

    Whether or not Red Bull spent two years and who knows how much, why isn't this still one of the coolest things to happen in some time? Watching him stand there with the curvature of Earth below him is one of those things that makes me jealous. And there are some things being tested - newer versions of the high-alt suits and maybe more.

    However, I'm a little annoyed about people thinking that now astronauts and such can use suits like Felix's to escape bad situations in space. Felix jumped more or less straight down with almost no lateral velocity. Someone BASE-jumping from ISS may pull some staggering free-fall numbers (greater height for 9.8 (m/s)^2) but those won't likely compare to the 11,000 mph they're already moving parallel with the surface just to maintain orbit. Toasty!

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"