Team Plans To Share Scientific Data On High-Altitude
Pilot and skydiver Felix
Baumgartner announced on Friday his intention to become the first
person ever to break the speed of sound with his own body. As
a part of the Red Bull Stratos mission, Baumgartner hopes to ascend
to at least 120,000 feet in a capsule lifted by a helium balloon
and, protected by a pressurized "space suit," launch a freefall
jump that could exceed Mach 1.0 - more than 690 miles per hour -
before parachuting to Earth.
"This is truly a step into the unknown. No one can accurately
predict how the human body will react in the transition to
supersonic speeds," said Baumgartner. "But we've got to find out.
Future aerospace programs need a way for pilots and astronauts to
bail out at high altitude in case of emergency."
In 1960, USAF Captain Joe Kittinger made aerospace history by
freefalling from 102,800 feet. This achievement contributed
valuable data that set the groundwork for the United States' first
space program. Kittinger has been advising Felix on
operational safety and bringing his extensive experience to the
Capt. Kittinger in 1960
"People have been trying to break my records for fifty years,
and many have died in the attempt," Kittinger said. "But I believe
that with our unique assets, an extraordinary mission team, the
dedication of Red Bull, and Felix Baumgartner's outstanding skills,
Red Bull Stratos will succeed."
The mission team includes Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Clark,
who served as a crew surgeon for six Space Shuttle missions.
He confirmed that data captured from the mission will be shared
with the scientific community and noted that he expects
long-awaited medical protocols to be established as a result.
Baumgartner in pressure suit
"I think one of the most profound benefits of Red Bull Stratos
is going to be the inspiration for our youth," Clark commented at
the announcement in NY. "The kind of stuff Felix is doing is like
the early astronauts and cosmonauts."
A feature-length documentary film, "SPACE DIVE," about the Red
Bull Stratos project is being produced by the BBC and National
Geographic. The program is expected to air in the US and UK a
few weeks after the jump in 2010.