FACT:
Less a suit, more a life-support system, this
outfit not only provided oxygen but also
protected Felix from temperatures that
reached as low as -70.9°C (-95.6°F). It’s
completely pressurized, too – because at
this extreme altitude, the air pressure is
so low that Felix’s blood would have boiled
within his body!
“Inspiring others to
pursue their dreams…”
Guinness World Records was proud to
present Felix with his official certificate to
celebrate and acknowledge his pioneering
mission. Here’s what he had to say:
“After years of challenges to make this
mission a success,
when
you succeed there’s
a little part of you that thinks, ‘Did this really
happen?’ Our primary goal was always to
improve aerospace safety, but receiving the
Guinness World Records certificate was a
tangible reminder that my supersonic dream
had finally become reality.
“It also meant a lot to know that millions
of people were right there with us via the
live webstream. I continue to hear that the
Red Bull Stratos mission is inspiring others
around the world to pursue their own
dreams, and that’s one of the great honours
of being considered a record-breaker.”
Felix’s suit
Felix’s stratospheric feat required
highly specialized equipment. His
special suit, manufactured by the
David Clark Company (USA), and
gear included an oxygen supply,
three parachutes (plus glove
mirrors to confirm opening),
an altitude gauge and four GPS
devices. His helmet was fitted
with a microphone and earphones.
leap of faith
068
fact file
Stabilizing drogue
activation button
(to release a small
parachute that would
increase his stability)
2. The ascent
Felix’s capsule (
above
) climbed for over two hours – during which
time he noticed some unexpected fogging of his visor as he
exhaled. He could have aborted the mission at that point but
chose not to. When the balloon (detail,
inset
) reached the edge of
space, Felix depressurized the capsule and prepared to jump…
Foam-insulated
external shell
Acrylic door
Skydiving reaches a new height
On 14 October 2012, after seven years of planning,
the Red Bull Stratos
mission came to a dramatic climax. At 9:28 a.m. local time (3:28 p.m.
GMT), Felix Baumgartner (Austria) lifted off from Roswell, New Mexico,
USA. Destination: the edge of space. Within
three hours, Felix would be back on Earth
after achieving the
highest jump altitude
(38,969.4 m; 127,852 ft)*, the
farthest freefall
(36,402.6 m; 119,431.1 ft) and the
highest
speed in freefall
(1,357.6 km/h;
843.6 mi/h). He also became the
first skydiver to break the
sound barrier
Heated visor
Altimeter (height gauge)
Oxygen supply hose
Main parachute release
Pressure control system
Emergency reserve
parachute handle
Chest pack (including
GPS units, and velocity
and orientation sensors)
Four layers:
• Comfort liner
• Gas membrane
• Restraining mesh
• Fire retardant/
thermal insulating
outer layer
Fibreglass and epoxy
pressure sphere
Crush zone (honeycombed
pads able to withstand an
impact of over 8 Gs)
0.02
Thickness in
millimetres of the
helium balloon
that lifted Felix’s
capsule.
1. The LAUNCH
Felix would ascend higher than the world
altitude record for jet aircraft. His capsule
was lifted by a vast helium balloon that at
take-off was 167.6 m (550 ft) – or around
55 storeys – high. It took nearly an hour to
inflate with helium, which at jump altitude
expanded to completely fill the capacity of
nearly 850,000 m
3
(30 million ft
3
).
* Ratified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) as “highest exit altitude”
Balloon made from strips
of high-performance
polyethylene (plastic) film
HD cameras on each leg
Mirror
FOR THE RECORD
The main point of contact
between Felix and Mission
Control during ascent was
Joe W Kittinger (USA,
above
right
). On 16 August 1960, Joe
set a freefall record, reaching
a top speed of 988.1 km/h
(614 mi/h), and spent nearly
14 minutes in descent.
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