On October 14th Felix Baumgartner, Austrian skydiver, daredevil, and BASE jumper achieved his goal.
Did You Watch Him Fall Down From the Sky?
If you missed the spectacular jump, watch this video:
Did you catch who his sponsor was? Red Bull! Apropos, don’t you think? See more information at the official Red Bull Stratos team website.
For more technical information about the jump, go to extremetech.com.
Baumgartner wasn’t the first to try to achieve this record. Joseph Kittinger tried it in 1960. In fact, Kittinger still holds the record for the longest time in free fall (five minutes and 35 seconds).
I don’t know about you, but I am terrified of heights. Put me on a three foot ladder and I start to shake, make the ladder a five foot ladder and I’m hyperventilating. I could never do what Felix Baumgartner or Joseph Kittinger did. But I admire them. Is that admiration due to jumping out of the balloon capsule higher than anyone else? No. Is it because they fell further and faster than anyone, ever? Uh-uh. Is it because Baumgartner broke the sound barrier with his body? Nope.
Kittinger was a fighter pilot in Viet Nam and later made extreme altitude parachute jumps for Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories.
Baumgartner did more than 2,500 skydives, seven years of preparation with the Red Bull sponsored team, two test jumps, and a three-hour ascent in a tiny, pressurized capsule lifted by an ultra-thin helium balloon. All of that for a terrifying nine minute descent, for speeds up to 833.9 miles per hour, a world record, and tons of scientific data. Data that NASA hopes will lead to improvements in spacesuits and escape plans for future astronauts.
Don’t forget that neither Kittinger nor Baumgartner could have accomplished what they did without the drive and determination of past skydivers, researchers, and scientists who developed the base knowledge and equipment necessary.
For me, reading about these men (and women) puts things into perspective. It takes a lot of hard work to reach for your dreams, to be successful.