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Austrian Skydiver Prepared to Leap From Edge of Space

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the sounds-like-fun-if-dying-were-fun dept.

Space 97

Cutting_Crew writes "Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner will attempt a supersonic free fall on October 8th as the worlds highest skydive. According to the Christian Science Monitor 'The current record for world's highest skydive stands at 102,800 feet (31,333 m). It was set in 1960 by U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger, who serves as an adviser for Baumgartner's mission. If Baumgartner succeeds on Oct. 8, he will break not only that mark but also the sound barrier, becoming the first skydiver ever to fall at supersonic speeds, Red Bull Stratos officials said. During the July 25 jump, Baumgartner's top freefall speed was 537 mph (864 kph) — about as fast as a commercial airliner.' Let's hope that the weather on the 8th is as good as they hope for. It would be awesome to have a real time camera feed from his helmet."

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97 comments

My first thought was (4, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | about a year and a half ago | (#41457963)

That's one record that's sure to fall!

Re:My first thought was (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458053)

My first thought was: "Edge of space? I hope he doesn't cut his feet!"

Re:My first thought was (2)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458131)

My first thought was: "Edge of space? I hope he doesn't cut his feet!"

The edge of space, you say? I hope he doesn't fall the wrong way! Which could very well happen since the edge of space is invisible and all.

Re:My first thought was (4, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458389)

space has edges? oh, there's so much I don't know about astrophysics. why didn't I read that book by the wheelchair guy!

Re:My first thought was (1)

busyqth (2566075) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458317)

I'm just wondering when someone's going to try a base jump from the ISS....

Re:My first thought was (3, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458399)

given the option i'd do it, same as a one way trip to mars

Re:My first thought was (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458499)

There's no reason for the one way trip from the ISS being as final as the one way trip to Mars.

Re:My first thought was (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#41461837)

Except for the whole burning up in the atmosphere part. Orbital velocity can be a PITA.

Re:My first thought was (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41462575)

Except for the whole burning up in the atmosphere part. Orbital velocity can be a PITA.

You might recall that the skydiver is allowed to bring a parachute so they don't have to die during each jump they make. The orbital equivalent would be something man-portable, perhaps a combination of heat shield ("thermal protection system") and parachute (something to slow you down without killing you). It's a tough engineering problem not an inevitable trip to the afterlife.

you'd have to jump REALLY hard (5, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#41459843)

It would be a cool way to commit suicide, I'll give you that.

The ISS is 230 miles up and you'd fall most of the way in vacuum, gaining 2.6kJ/kg of kinetic energy - meaning you'd be going around mach 7 when you hit the atmosphere With a good enough wing suit you *might* be able to spend enough time decelerating in the far upper atmosphere to avoid incinerating on reentry.

But to actually jump from the ISS you *start out* moving at 17,000mph(mach 22) - to reach the Earth you'd have to jump hard enough to neutralize enough of that velocity so that your new orbit intersected the atmosphere, but 200 miles is a fairly minor adjustment to a 4000-mile orbit, you might only need to shed a mach number or so, which you'd get back with interest as you fell. At that kind of speed you need to go to pretty extreme lengths to slow down - either a seriously large sturdy wing that can keep you in the far upper atmosphere shedding speed for a long time, or a serious heat shield. And I think either of those probably disqualify it from being considered a base jump.

Re:you'd have to jump REALLY hard (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464825)

It would be a cool way to commit suicide, I'll give you that.

Here's a story about a woman who wasn't suicidal, she jumped 990 feet base jumping, which did her in. This guy jumping from orbit will most likely live. Go figure. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/9548436/Pregnant-base-jumper-died-instantly-after-freefalling-990ft-on-final-leap.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:you'd have to jump REALLY hard (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465433)

Read more carefully - the likely suicide part would be re-entry. This guy is NOT jumping from orbit - he's jumping from near-orbital altitude, which is a COMPLETELY different thing. Being at low-Earth orbit altitude you have a ton of potential energy that will be translated into speed (kinetic energy) as you fall to the surface. Actually being in orbit means you *start out* with roughly 10x as much kinetic energy as that potential energy - which translates to hypersonic speeds. Shedding that much energy before you hit the lower atmosphere and incinerate is a *major* challenge, probably one not possible without extensive aerodynamic hardware.

Re:you'd have to jump REALLY hard (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466841)

Does this stunt HAVE to be done? I mean, if he lives, yes he gets the record for highest jump with hi tech protective equipment. If he dies, he's wasted his life over a stunt that HE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO!

It's kind of like using steroids to enhance your sport playing ability. Should your records truly count, or should there be an asterix after his name.

I hope he makes it unhurt and all. I don't see how it's worth risking your life for.

Re:you'd have to jump REALLY hard (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year and a half ago | (#41468293)

Well... base jumping doesn't require that you land, just that you jump from a great altitude. And the highest base I can think of is a space base. I mean, that's just poetic.

Re:My first thought was (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41461209)

Wouldn't there be that whole issue with atmospheric re-entry and burning up, if you were to jump from the ISS?

Re:My first thought was (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41461711)

I'm just wondering when someone's going to try a base jump from the ISS....

All that lateral velocity is bound to make the experience a real blast...

My mama always said... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41457985)

"Stupid is as stupid does."

Re:My mama always said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41497109)

yes, she said that while sucking your little penis.

Sonic Boom? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458079)

Not sure I'd want to be that close to one. But maybe it'll be behind him. Or maybe he'll explode. We'll see.

Re:Sonic Boom? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458359)

The air will be so thin when he's at that speed that the shock-wave will be negligible if not non-existant.

Re:Sonic Boom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41460611)

As long as he goes head-first, he should be ok...except for the sudden stop at the end.

I don't care for the EXTREME one-ups-manship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458107)

Kittinger was a pioneer and serving a purpose. He had an equipment failure and proceeded with the mission anyway. In silence at the edge of space he saw all the Earth at once.

Half a century later, an energy drink company thinks they can put themselves in the same league as that by going higher? Maybe they should go to 31,334 meters just to be EXTREME dicks.

Re:I don't care for the EXTREME one-ups-manship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458183)

31,337 FTW!!!

Re:I don't care for the EXTREME one-ups-manship (2)

fifedrum (611338) | about a year and a half ago | (#41462095)

Kittinger is an actual hero. He should be celebrated up there with the pioneers of flight from the Wright brothers to the Astronauts in American history books, indeed world wide. He didn't just do it first. He did it first and he repeated multiple jumps. He suffered discomfort and injury. And he volunteered.

His service after those jumps was just as hero worthy, hell, his life after retiring from the military, with the first solo Atlantic crossing and other records places him in the books, yet again.

He's one of the last true aviation pioneers, if you ever get a chance to meet him in person, have him sign his own autobiography, it is an interesting read to say the least.

Re:I don't care for the EXTREME one-ups-manship (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#41463271)

In defense of the energy drink company... most of the stunts they sponsor were from people who were going to do the stunt anyhow. They are just providing some cash to get it going in return for sticking their logo on it.

are there two categories here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458113)

Those who live and those who die (but make a record never the less)!

Dr Danger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458129)

If a body breaks the sound barrier, will his limbs come off?

not supersonic (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#41460021)

The speed he will be falling at will be higher than what would result to "supersonic" speed at ground level. However, with the thin atmosphere being so thin high up, he will not actually reach the speed of sound.

Re:not supersonic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41461533)

Actually the speed of sound only depends on temperature. The higher the temperature, the higher the speed of sound. he speed of sound DECREASES up to the tropopause (usually between 25000 and 35000 feet) after which it slowly increases in the stratosphere, but not quite up to sea level temperature.
So if you fly a speed in m/s that's faster than sound at sea level it will certainly be faster anywhere else below 50km.

Re:not supersonic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41461609)

This is a common misconception. The speed of sound does change with altitude, but is more commonly expressed as a function of the temperature: sqrt(gamma*R*T)
So sonic velocity falls as you move up through the troposphere, but then increases again through the stratosphere. The reduction in density with altitude just means that the drag force he experiences decreases with altitude, allowing him to reach a higher 'terminal' velocity at altitude - supersonic in this case, if all goes as planned. As he descends further, density and drag force increase, so his descent velocity will decrease to subsonic again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_sound#Speed_in_ideal_gases_and_in_air

Heh (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458135)

Let's hope that the weather on the 8th is as good as they hope for...

I just hope that if he gets too hot during re-entry he can unzip his suit!

Re:Heh (1)

Meshach (578918) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458979)

Let's hope that the weather on the 8th is as good as they hope for...

I just hope that if he gets too hot during re-entry he can unzip his suit!

Maybe there will be precipitation and rain will not be the only thing to fall.

Re:Heh (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41461751)

Maybe there will be precipitation and rain will not be the only thing to fall.

You hoping for a golden rainshower? :p

When the hell... (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458159)

are we EVER going to see video of ANY of his attempts? Does anyone have any links to ANY of his free falls? I know Red Bull wants to market the sh%t out of this but at least give us some spoilers.

Fat chance (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41461603)

They'll probably release 10 seconds of it and the rest you have to pay $$$ for the DVD. The fact that they're making a big thing out of it but giving away nothing I suspect means they'll find people giving them the finger when they actually try and sell any footage.

Austrian space program. (2)

formfeed (703859) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458195)

If this attempt is successful Austria will reveal the other part of their space program:
a vertical tunnel down the Grossglockner mountain with a bottle of propane at the bottom.

Re:Austrian space program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41463899)

There's always enough money for tunnels in Austria...

Dubious source (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458231)

You went to the Christian Science Monitor to get the information on the current altitude record? You're going to get your statistics from the people who think dinosaurs and humans coexisted? Good luck with that.

Re:Dubious source (5, Insightful)

busyqth (2566075) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458301)

You went to the Christian Science Monitor to get the information on the current altitude record? You're going to get your statistics from the people who think dinosaurs and humans coexisted? Good luck with that.

I don't think you know what Christian Science is.

Re:Dubious source (1, Flamebait)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458929)

I don't think you know what Christian Science is.

Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Re:Dubious source (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | about a year and a half ago | (#41460377)

This may be flame bait, but i'm pretty sure Newton was one of the most fanatical (I'm pretty sure today he would be regarded as a Christian Fundie) scientists in the world. And yet, his advancements are extremely important to our modern understanding of the earth. Just because some people may have ulterior motives for pushing a particular theory doesn't mean all contributions they make to science are instantly invalidated.

Re:Dubious source (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41461635)

Newton didn't peddle his science as part of his religion. A rather important difference.

Re:Dubious source (2)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about a year and a half ago | (#41462309)

Newton didn't peddle his science as part of his religion. A rather important difference.

Actually, quite the opposite it true. Much of his writings center around the notion that a monotheistic God is the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. --plagiarizer from the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] on Newton's views of religion.

Re:Dubious source (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465153)

Yup. Newton was, for example, quite clear on his belief that the only thing keeping every thing in the cosmos from eventually glomming together due to gravity was God occassionally making an adjustment. He was also quite taken with alchemy.

Re:Dubious source (5, Insightful)

Eseell (1694116) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458377)

The CSM has only financial links to Christian Science, and generally has better science journalism than the mainstream media. That isn't a particularly high bar to clear, but don't let the name put you off.

Re:Dubious source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41459521)

I'm sorry but the name does put me off, science is science, as soon as you put Christian in front of it, to me at least it is no longer proper science. It raises connotations that it is "science" with religious overtones. On principle I stay away from any religion, Christian or not.

CSM has a good reputation for scientific journalsm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41459439)

I am obliged to say, as a devout atheist and sometime christian-bater, that CSM actually has pretty good science journalism. They're nothing to do with scientologists, if that's what you were thinking of

Good Luck! Dumbass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458309)

So many cheaper ways to off yourself!

Obligatory Link to Kittinger Footage Music Video (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458321)

One of my favorite music videos, Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy, starts out with footage from Kittinger's 1960 jump:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBZeWjGjl8

It'd be awesome to have a real time camera feed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458357)

Good luck with that, Red Bull haven't released any of the footage for the warm up jumps other than a few teasers, let alone streaming/televising a dangerous stunt (for want of a better word) live.

If anything went wrong their corporate image would take a big knock so I assume they'll wait until they know it's a success before announcing it and then they'll probably see how they can best 'monetize' the footage.

Can a body take it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458363)

I think bigger issues than breaking the record, are the capabilities of the human body

1) How will the human body cope with the insane pressure and temperature buildups at his head (assuming here he's going to go head first)
2) I'm assuming he'll have a regulated air supply of some kind, but how will this be affected by 1
3) etc

captcha: ascender

Re:Can a body take it (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458537)

I think bigger issues than breaking the record, are the capabilities of the human body

1) How will the human body cope with the insane pressure and temperature buildups at his head (assuming here he's going to go head first) 2) I'm assuming he'll have a regulated air supply of some kind, but how will this be affected by 1 3) etc

captcha: ascender

Actually the stresses would be roughly the same as the one back in the 60's. The real stress isn't in the upper stratosphere it's as the atmosphere thickens so going further out wouldn't add to the stresses. Terminal velocity still applies so he will max out before he hits maximum stress. Really the limiting factor is the Van Allen Belt. Odds are the suit he's using wouldn't be enough and he'd cook but it starts at a 1,000 kilometers so he won't even be close to it.

Re:Can a body take it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458881)

Breaking the sound barrier in air that thin is cheating

Austria! Well, then. G'day mate! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458479)

Let's put another shrimp on the barbie!

Re:Austria! Well, then. G'day mate! (1)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41462365)

You have 0 score. I'm sure if the people with the mod points weren't so 'dumb and dumber', you'd probably have a few more!

Sure to make an impact! (2)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458515)

> "It would be awesome to have a real time camera feed from his helmet."

Hopefully out of respect to his family the news channels will edit out the last minute.

Re:Sure to make an impact! (1)

phme (1501991) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466849)

As long as they leave the sound on:

"And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ow ound round ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?"

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Sad, IP even touched this story (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458565)

What's sad is at the end of the story:

Baumgartner and his team had originally hoped to attempt the record jump in 2010, but they were delayed by a legal challenge that claimed the idea of the dive was suggested to Red Bull by California promoter Daniel Hogan. That lawsuit has been settled out of court, and the mission is moving forward.

God, we really built an entitlement society. People now think that a concept farts out of their brain, that it must be a) unique and b) theirs for all eternity. Now it seems the old adage of "Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration" should be changed to "Genius: one percent inspiration. Sue the suckers who put in the 99 percent perspiration."

Re:Sad, IP even touched this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458791)

Seriously? This is how it has always been. You build up yourself and then pay shit to the person under you doing all the work.

Re:Sad, IP even touched this story (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41460043)

Yeah, ideas are a dime a dozen. I can come up with hundreds or thousands of ideas.

Remember that self inflating tyre thing? That's definitely an innovative idea. But the tricky thing? Building a tyre that self-inflates, and still is as safe, long-lasting, etc as a current tyre. You have to figure out how to self-inflate but still not pump too much water into the tyre in very wet weather. And test to make sure everything works fine even after thousands of miles of potholes and bumps. And test to see that when it fails it doesn't fail too badly.

Pretty easy to go: "transporter" or "warp drive". Building one is a whole different thing. From what I see the patent docs never have all the details required, so the justification for patents that a patent helps others build it later is bullshit.

They should only pay that Daniel Hogan guy on condition he does the jump- but with no help from them. He has to arrange it all himself.

Re:Sad, IP even touched this story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41460411)

Or even simpler: "Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent ligitation"

Just don't jump up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41458785)

You might land on the moon. Thats some SILLY HEIGHT to be dropping from.

Dooooo Iiiiiiittttt! (1)

Impish (669369) | about a year and a half ago | (#41458993)

C'mon, who could possibly say this isn't cool? As far as I can tell it is 100% useless (somebody please tell me how this will further science) but damn, given the opportunity, who wouldn't?

Re:Dooooo Iiiiiiittttt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41460677)

Me. I prefer to spend my last few decades on Terra Firma & go out with a whimper, not a bang!

Eaten by secret Nazi space sharks over Austria (1)

leftie (667677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41459233)

Nobody told Baumgartner about the Secret Nazi Space Shark lab still in low orbit over Germany near the Austrian border.

Phree Phall 2 Urph (0)

ozonearchitect (1290376) | about a year and a half ago | (#41459345)

he's unna pulla edge o' space time warble & do a Jodie Foster Contact to another dimension & get stuck a few minutes before free falling back to da urph but nobody will believe him.

iron man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41459767)

has tony stark been consulted about this?

Next Time, Do It In A Wingsuit! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#41459941)

And be the first guy to travel to another continent with your wingsuit!

Well probably not. I reckon you'd probably lose a lot of altitude before you could get any air under your wings. You'd have a fuck-ton of air speed to play with once you did, though! Maybe you could make the jump across the Bering Strait or the English Channel. I think it'd suck to try to work a wingsuit around a bulky-ass spacesuit, but it would be a pretty cool jump! And I won't sue you if you steal my idea!

Nesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41461249)

Nesting

go out with a bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41461793)

a sure way to, "go out with a bang".

typical weeny responses from slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41463431)

if this dude wants to throw his huge balls into space and risk life and limb do us all a favor and reserve your chickenshit comments for your morning stuart smalley pep talks. this guy is a hero. now get back to your sitcoms.

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464971)

If Baumgartner succeeds on Oct. 8, he will break not only that mark but also the sound barrier.

... and if he fails, he'll break every bone in his body.

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