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Red Bull Stratos
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner smashed a number of records with his “edge of space” stunt – including for live streaming.
More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch the 43-year-old break the speed of sound live on Google’s YouTube site.
It is the largest number of concurrent live streams in the website’s history, Google confirmed.
Austrian Felix Baumgartner also broke the record for the highest freefall.
He jumped from a capsule taken to 128,100ft (24 miles; 39 km) above New Mexico in the US by a giant helium balloon.
It took nine minutes for him to reach the ground.
The adventurer plummeted at an estimated 833.9 mph (1,343 km/h), hitting Mach 1.24.
“On the step, I felt that the whole world is watching,” Felix Baumgartner said after the jump.
“I said I wish they would see what I see. It was amazing.”
More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch Felix Baumgartner break the speed of sound live on YouTube
The capsule from which the skydiver fell was equipped with cameras to provide a live internet feed to millions of people around the world.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that the number of viewers simultaneously watching the Red Bull Stratos stunt live on YouTube was the site’s highest.
“We congratulate Felix Baumgartner and the entire Red Bull Stratos team for their successful mission, and for creating a live stream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube,” the company said on its blog.
In comparison, about 8.3 million people accessed the BBC’s sport website on the first day of this year’s Olympic Games.
Other technology used to record the event will have a more long-term application. Felix Baumgartner’s body was monitored during the jump using equipment from Equivital, a small UK company.
A system strapped to the skydiver’s chest wirelessly transmitted data about his heartbeat, respiration, skin temperature and other vital signs.
“It’s a major coup for Equivital, which, despite its small size – currently only 25 employees – provides the US Army with its human body monitoring system,” the company said.
The Red Bull Stratos scientists said the stunt had provided invaluable data for the development of high-performance, high-altitude parachute systems, and that the lessons learned would inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles, such as spacecraft passing through the stratosphere.
“Part of this programme was to show high-altitude egress, passing through Mach and a successful re-entry back [to subsonic speed], because our belief scientifically is that’s going to benefit future private space programmes or high-altitude pilots, and Felix proved that today,” said Art Thompson, the team principal.
Felix Baumgartner has broken the record for the highest ever skydive by jumping out of a balloon 128,000 ft (39 km) above New Mexico.
Felix Baumgartner, 43, was hoping also to break the sound barrier during his descent – although that mark awaits confirmation.
Video cameras relayed the moment Felix Baumgartner stepped from his balloon capsule to begin his fall to Earth.
It took 10 minutes for him to reach the desert surface below.
Only the last few thousand feet were negotiated by parachute.
Helicopter recovery teams have gone to Felix Baumgartner’s landing site to return him to the mission control centre set up at Roswell airport.
Video cameras relayed the moment Felix Baumgartner stepped from his balloon capsule to begin his fall to Earth
Felix Baumgartner’s efforts have finally toppled records that have stood for more than 50 years.
The previous highest, farthest, and longest freefall was made by retired US Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, who leapt from a helium envelope in 1960. His altitude was 102,800 ft (31.3 km).
Joe Kittinger, now an octogenarian, was on hand to witness the dramatic jump from the stratosphere. Indeed, he acted as “Capcom” – capsule communicator – throughout the ascent and descent, maintaining voice contact with the much younger man.
None of the new marks set by Felix Baumgartner can be classed as “official” until approved by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).
Its representative in Roswell will analyze GPS data recorded on to a microcard in the Austrian’s chest pack. This information will form the basis for any height and speed claims Baumgartner intends to lodge with the FAI.
The adventurer – perhaps best known for leaping off skyscrapers – first discussed the possibility of beating Joe Kittinger’s records in 2005.
Since then, he has had to battle technical and budgetary challenges to make it happen.
What he was proposing was extremely dangerous, even for a man used to those skyscraper stunts.
At an altitude of 120,000 ft (36.5 km), the air pressure is less than 2% of what it is at sea level, and it is impossible to breathe without an oxygen supply.
Others who have tried to break the records for the highest, fastest and longest freefalls have lost their lives in the process.
Felix Baumgartner’s team built him a special pressurized capsule to protect him on the way up, and for his descent he wore a next generation, full pressure suit made by the same company that prepares the flight suits of astronauts.
Although the jump had the appearance of another Felix Baumgartner stunt, his team stressed its high scientific relevance.
The researchers on the Red Bull Stratos project say it has already provided invaluable data for the development of high-performance, high-altitude parachute systems, and that the lessons learned will inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles, such as spacecraft, passing through the stratosphere.
NASA and its spacecraft manufacturers have asked to be kept informed.
Jon Clark is the medical director on the team. The former shuttle flight surgeon lost his wife in the Columbia accident in 2003.
He said Felix Baumgartner’s experience could help save the lives of future astronauts who get into trouble.
A BBC/National Geographic documentary is being made about the project and will probably be aired in November.
Felix Baumgartner has lifted off on his mission to break a series of freefall records.
Austrian skydiver’s giant helium balloon left the ground at Roswell, New Mexico, a short while ago and is currently on a climb that should take it to more than 120,000 ft (36.5 km).
Felix Baumgartner will then jump out.
The near absence of air at this high altitude means he should break the speed of sound as he falls – a velocity in excess of 690 mph (1,110 km/h).
The journey down should take 10 minutes, about half of it in freefall.
No-one has ever gone so high in a balloon, nor attempted to make such a high skydive.
The current record for the biggest jump of all time is now 52 years old. It was set by US Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger when he leapt from a helium envelope at an altitude of 102,800 ft (31.3 km).
There are immense risks involved in what Felix Baumgartner is trying to do.
Felix Baumgartner has lifted off on his mission to break a series of freefall records
Where he is going, the air pressure is less than 2% of what it is at sea level, and it is impossible to breathe without an oxygen supply.
Others who have tried to break the existing records for the highest, fastest and longest freefalls have lost their lives in the process.
Engineers have done everything possible to limit the risks. They have built the Austrian a special pressurized capsule to carry him aloft under the helium balloon.
He will also be wearing a next-generation, full-pressure suit, an evolution of the orange protective clothing worn by shuttle astronauts on launch.
Although the jump has the appearance of another Felix Baumgartner stunt, his team prefers to stress its high scientific relevance.
The researchers on the Red Bull Stratos project believe it will inform the development of new systems for emergency evacuation from high-performance, high-altitude vehicles. NASA and its spacecraft manufacturers have asked to be kept informed.
There are a few examples of pilots being ejected in supersonic airflows when their planes broke apart in the sky, but there is no detailed data on what happens to the human body as it goes supersonic and then, as it slows, goes subsonic again.
Felix Baumgartner will be instrumented to acquire this new data.
Engineers have incorporated an automatic device in his gear that would deploy a drogue stabilization chute if he gets into trouble.
There is, however, high confidence in Baumgartner’s team that he will complete the task ahead of him. He has been buoyed by the success of two practice jumps that have taken him progressively higher into the stratosphere – from 71,600ft (21.8km) and 97,100ft (29.6km).
The official lift-off time for the balloon was 09:31 MDT (16:31GMT). Mission control at Roswell airport is following every moment of what is likely to be a more than two-hour ascent to the jump altitude.
Baumgartner is in video and radio contact throughout. The only person who will speak to him, however, is Col. Joe Kittinger, who was brought into the team early to advise the Austrian how best to beat the octogenarian’s records.
“We are going to get your goal and your dream accomplished Felix,” Joe Kittinger told Felix Baumgartner just before lift-off.
Austrian skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner is more than halfway toward his goal of setting a world record for the highest free-fall jump.
Felix Baumgartner, 42, is aiming for nearly 23 miles this summer. The record is 19.5 miles.
The adventurer lifted off Thursday for a test jump from Roswell, New Mexico, aboard a 100-foot helium balloon. He rode inside a pressurized capsule to 71,581 feet – 13.6 miles – and then jumped.
Felix Baumgartner parachuted to a safe landing, according to project spokeswoman Trish Medalen.
“The view is amazing, way better than I thought,” Felix Baumgartner said after the practice jump, in remarks provided by his representatives.
Thursday’s rehearsal was a test of his capsule, full-pressure suit, parachutes and other systems.
A mini Mission Control – fashioned after NASA’s – monitored Felix Baumgartner’s flight.
Felix Baumgartner reached speeds of up to 364.4 mph Thursday and was in free fall for three minutes and 43 seconds, before pulling his parachute cords. The entire jump lasted eight minutes and eight seconds.
With Thursday’s successful test, Felix Baumgartner is believed to be only the third person ever to jump from such a high altitude and free fall to a safe landing, and the first in a half-century.
“I’m now a member of a pretty small club,” Felix Baumgartner said.
Austrian skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner is more than halfway toward his goal of setting a world record for the highest free-fall jump
When the Austrian skydiver known as “Fearless Felix” leaps from 120,000 feet in a few months, he expects to break the sound barrier as he falls through the stratosphere at supersonic speed.
There’s virtually no atmosphere that far up, making it extremely hostile to humans, thus the need for a pressure suit and oxygen supply.
The record for the highest free fall is held by Joe Kittinger, a retired Air Force officer from Florida. He jumped from 102,800 feet – 19.5 miles – in 1960.
Felix Baumgartner is out to beat that record.
He plans one more dry run – jumping from 90,000 feet – before attempting the full 120,000 feet. The launch window opens in July and extends until the beginning of October.
For comparison, commercial jets generally cruise at over 30,000 feet.
Felix Baumgartner has jumped 2,500 times from planes and helicopters, as well as some of the highest landmarks and skyscrapers on the planet.
Among his conquests: the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Millau Viaduct in southern France, the 101-story Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
Felix Baumgartner has also plunged deep into the Earth, leaping face-first into a pitch-dark cave in Croatia.
He considers that 620-foot-deep cave jump his most dangerous feat so far, soon to be outdone by his stratospheric plunge.
Felix Baumgartner’s mission takes its name, Red Bull Stratos, from the stratosphere as well as the energy drink-maker sponsor.
“I like to challenge myself and this is the ultimate skydive. I think there’s nothing bigger than that,” Felix Baumgartner told The Associated Press in a recent interview
Felix Baumgartner has caught NASA’s attention, even though space officially begins much higher at an even 100 kilometers, 328,084 feet or 62 miles.