Back in 1988, together with my long-time friend Susan Reynolds, I had one of the greatest adventures of my life, I participated in the Perth to Sydney Balloon Race and flew with record-holder Joe Kittinger who is part of the Red Bull Stratos project.
I believe Joe and his team left on Saturday for San Antonio for some testing, then back to Roswell for the final jump at 120,000 feet. To get the full story on the record attempt check out their site
Here’s the story so far:
The countdown is on for skydiver Felix Baumgartner.
In just two weeks, Baumgartner will attempt to go supersonic when he jumps from a record altitude of 37 kilometres over New Mexico. Project managers announced on Tuesday the feat will take place October 8.
The Austrian parachutist jumped from 21 kilometres in March and 29 kilometres in July. This time, he hopes to break the all-time record of 31 kilometres set in 1960.
A giant helium balloon will hoist a pressurised capsule with Baumgartner inside, dressed in a pressure suit.
Baumgartner expects to reach a top speed of 1110 km/h and break the sound barrier with only his body, less than a half-minute after he hops from his capsule. The same capsule was used for Baumgartner’s two practice jumps but was damaged in the latest touchdown.
It smashed down hard despite its parachute, and the outer shell had to be replaced with parts from a backup capsule. The entire craft was taken apart and reassembled. The repairs and retesting pushed the final flight from August to October. “I feel like a tiger in a cage waiting to get out,” Baumgartner, 43, said in a statement.
Project officials note that excellent weather will be needed to launch the 30 million-cubic-foot helium balloon from Roswell. Early autumn is generally an optimal time for such endeavours in the northern hemisphere.
The entire flight will be monitored by a NASA-like Mission Control; the mission is known as Red Bull Stratos, short for stratosphere.
One of the lead team members is record-holder Joe Kittinger, who was an Air Force captain when he took part in the military high-jump project. This time, the effort is privately funded by the energy drink maker.