In preparation for his ultimate goal of breaking the sound barrier by skydiving from 36,000 meters, Austrian spaceman Felix Baumgartner has successfully dropped from 27,000 meters. Even the theoretical physicists in the EpicTV studio are still a little unclear about the whole breaking the sound barrier thing but hey, if it scores you a multi-million dollar Red Bull space suit then man, we’re all for it.
Felix hit 965 kmh after only 20 seconds. After five minutes of freefall, he opened his parachutes and it took another seven minutes to descend to the ground.
To get to his jump point, the Austrian spaceman needed to hitch a ride on a 150,079 cubic-meter test balloon the launch of which require winds to be no more than 6.5 kmh. Just a wild guess here but we bet there was a huge Red Bull logo painted on that, too.
FYI – the speed of sound is 1240kmh. Within the troposphere, an average human in a flat spin reaches terminal velocity at 195 kmh. If he pulls in his arms and legs the person can reach 320 kmh. The current world record is held by Joseph Kittinger who in 1960 hit a respectable 988 kmh. Go Joe.
As easy as it sounds, Baumgartner must actually maintain perfect control during his descent. If he goes into a spin, the forces would rip his arms, legs and head off. Surprisingly, several attempts have been made before. Clearly, none of them have been successful.