Years of planning, preparation, and setbacks all come to a head on Monday, October 8th as Felix Baumgartner will attempt to set a new world record in skydiving. It is an incredibly dangerous feat that will require free-falling through near vacuum and then breaking the sound barrier with his own body, but after months of postponed jumps Baumgartner is finally ready to make his way into the history books.
The amount of equipment and support crew needed to make the jump happen make it look more like a NASA mission than an adrenalin junkie’s energy drink promotion. In order for Baumgartner to reach the edge of the atmosphere, it has required the invention of a new type of weather balloon-lofted space capsule. As the capsule takes him to the jump height of 23 miles, it will be tracked the whole way by a full mission control room that will have the old record holder, Joe Kittinger, in attendance. Once he reaches altitude, Baumgartner will plummet through the nearly airless void in a specially designed pressure suit, hoping not to loose too much control before he enters the more navigable air of the upper atmosphere. Needless to say, no matter what amount of preparation has gone into it, this skydive will still be an extremely dangerous stunt.
As you may recall, the earlier date given for the record breaking attempt was sometime in August. Apparently the specially designed capsule that took him on his first two test jumps was so severely damaged in the fall from the last test that the outer shell had to be completely rebuilt and tested. While the capsule’s impact doesn’t really have any bearing on how Baumgartner’s jump will go, it does serve as a reminder of the insanely fast speeds at which both Baumgartner and the capsule will land, even with the aid of parachutes.
Red Bull hasn’t been all too clear on how the event will be streamed this coming Monday (which could still be called if they don’t get optimal weather conditions for the jump), but you can check the Red Bull Stratos website or just join the event on Facebook to keep informed of the latest developments.
Here’s a Felix making his last test jump back in July.