Sunday also marks the 65th anniversary of U.S. test pilot Chuck Yeager successful attempt to become the first man to officially break the sound barrier aboard an airplane.
But here is today’s attempt:
Jumping from more than three times the height of the average cruising altitude for jetliners, [Felix] Baumgartner’s expects to hit a speed of 690 mph or more before he activates his parachute at 9,500 feet above sea level, or about 5,000 feet above the ground in southeastern New Mexico. The total jump should take about 10 minutes.
Dr. Jonathan Clark, Baumgartner’s medical director, has told reporters he expects the pressurized spacesuit to protect him from the shock waves of breaking the sound barrier. If all goes well and he survives the jump, NASA could certify a new generation of spacesuits for protecting astronauts and provide an escape option from spacecraft at 120,000 feet, he said.
Useful. But then, to my tiny mind, pushing the envelope of Human Knowledge is always a useful and worthwhile undertaking.
For one of them, Dr Jonathan Clark, the operation’s medical director, there is an intensely personal reason for being involved.
Since his astronaut wife Laurel [Clark] was killed in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas, the former Nasa flight surgeon has devoted his career to working to improve astronauts’ chances of surviving a similar high-altitude disaster.
So who’s paying for this research/daredevil endeavor?
The energy drink maker Red Bull, which is sponsoring the feat, has been promoting a live Internet stream of the event from nearly 30 cameras on the capsule, the ground and a helicopter. But organizers said there will be a 20-second delay in their broadcast of footage in case of a tragic accident.
Live Feed HERE.