Wed, Feb 06, 2013
Record-Setting Freefall Reached 843.6 MPH
When Felix Baumgartner stepped off his capsule into the fringe of space, he began a freefall that eventually reached 843.6 miles per hour ... or Mach 1.25. That makes him the first human to break the sound barrier without any kind of mechanical assistance.
The Red Bull Stratos team posted peer-reviewed results on its website this week. According to the verified data, Baumgartner fell faster than the speed of sound for about 30 seconds before resistance from the thickening atmosphere began to slow him down. He said that for about 35 seconds, he could not sense the air around him "because there was none." He reportedly experienced 25.2 seconds of "absolute weightlessness" during the the initial stages of the freefall.
Other verified statistics indicate that Baumgartner began his freefall from an altitude of 127,852.4 feet, which is slightly lower than the initial estimate of 128,100 feet.
Red Bull says that the documentation was finalized after the mission's science team conducted a private peer review, the "Red Bull Stratos Scientific Summit," at the California Science Center on January 23, 2013. Attendees included NASA astronauts, U.S. Air Force officers, and representatives from commercial aerospace companies such as Virgin Galactic, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX, XCOR, Sierra Nevada Corporation and others. The team says that knowing that a person can survive such a jump is important when considering emergency exit contingencies for commercial space travel.
The data are currently under review by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, which certifies world records for aviation.
(Image provided by Red Bull)
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