Red Bull Stratos: Man Will Free Fall From Earth’s Stratosphere

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On August 16, 1960, Joe Kittinger fell from 20 miles (102,800 feet) above the Earth’s surface setting the free fall record. In 2010, Felix Baumgartner plans to break Joe’s record by falling back down to Earth from 120,000 (~23 miles) feet high. Think about that for a second, folks.

Man will free fall from Earth’s stratosphere with only a pressurized suit to protect him. In preparation for the multiple record breaking jump, Felix will free fall from 25,000 feet, 65,000 feet and then 90,000 feet to acclimate himself in prep for the 120,000 foot jump. His means of transportation up to 120,000 feet, you ask? A stratospheric balloon, of course! If that weren’t crazy enough. Felix will attempt to be the first human to break the speed of sound by reaching Mach 1.0 speeds (~700MPH). By reaching heights of 120,000 feet, Felix will also establish a new altitude record. He’s also going for the longest duration free fall at around 5 minutes and 35 seconds.

(More on Techland: Video: Joe Kittinger’s 102,800 ft Descent)

Aside from Stratos being a huge publicity stunt, the medical team will be collecting data to see if pilots and astronauts can safely egress from an aircraft in emergency situations above 100,000 feet. If Felix were to open his face shield from such a high altitude, he’ll turn into a “human fizzy” as every ounce of liquid in his body will immediately evacuate. The team is hoping that Felix can keep his speed below Mach 1.2 as he may lose control during the jump and, you know, that’s not a good thing.

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Baumgartner is currently training out of Beale Air Force Base in Sacramento, CA. A date for the launch of Stratos has not been set as the team is closely monitoring weather patterns for optimal conditions. However, Stratos will launch and land within North America. The entire trip will be documented and streamed live from a complex setup of cameras and video cameras strapped to Felix and the Stratos balloon. If that weren’t enough, Nokia owners can now follow Felix and the rest of the Red Bull Stratos team as they prepare for this historic event including the jump. It’s currently available now through the Ovi Store.

(More on Techland: The Top 10 Spaceships: A Tale of Thrusters and Heat Shields)

The following are tidbits compiled from the press conference held earlier today in NYC:

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