A man jumped from even more than 24 miles high in sky to Earth on Sunday, which made him the first human to break sound fence under his own control — with just some help from the gravity. This man is Felix Baumgartner, a daredevil from Austria who made the fastest and highest jump in history after climbing to a height of 128,100 feet by a helium capsule. Millions of people around all over the world experienced the dizzying view through the camera in his capsule, which displayed a curved blue world encircled by black of space. Felix from here stepped off into the void and dived for more than 4 minutes, getting a maximum speed measuring Mach 1.24 833.9 or miles/hour.

He broke speed and altitude records that were set by Joe Kittinger half a century ago. He is now 84 and a retired colonel from Air Force. His supported Mr. Baumgartner while talking to him from mission control through tense moments. There were engineers who considered terminating the operation after Mr. Baumgartner’s faceplate started fogging during the ascension, but he kept proceeding and planned for jumping blind.

That proved needless, but a new calamity happened initially in the jump when he began losing control in the stratosphere’s thin air — the same issue that had almost killed Mr. Kittinger. As soon as the atmosphere thickened, it got manageable for Mr. Baumgartner to stop spinning and fall efficiently until he successfully released his parachute almost a mile above the surface and smoothly landed in the desert of New Mexico.

As per Mr. Baumgartner, it was harder than he had expected. “Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble. It’s not about breaking records any more. It’s not about getting scientific data. It’s all about coming home.” He said.

Mr. Kittinger admired Mr. Baumgartner’s bravery for continuing with the operation and stated that he had done more than just breaking a record.  He further added, “He demonstrated that a man could survive in an extremely high altitude escape situation.”

Mr. Baumgartner was assisted by a NASA-style operation appointed at an airfield in Roswell which included 300 people, comprising more than seventy engineers, physicians and scientists who had been working for last 5 years on this project, referred as Red Bull Stratos, named after the beverage company that had funded it.

In addition to aiming at the records, the scientists and engineers in the RBS team have been meeting and distributing piles of data envisioned to helping astronauts, future pilots and maybe the space tourists survive in case they have to escape.

While making the custom-made capsule and suit, the aerospace veterans’ team had to struggle with one critical doubt: What will happen to a human body while it is breaking the sound barrier? Also, there was one other major unanticipated issue for Mr. Baumgartner, identified to his admirers as “Fearless Felix”.

Even though he had no distress jumping off bridges and buildings, and soaring in a carbon-fiber wing across the English Channel, he found himself undergoing panic attacks when he had to be inside the pressurized helmet and suit for hours. At a point in 2010, instead of taking a durability test in the suit, he fled the United States in an airplane. With the assistance from a sports psychologist and many other specialists, he started to learn the techniques to deal with claustrophobia.

comments