Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner broke the world record for the highest skydive on October 14, 2012, jumping from an altitude of 128,000 feet or 39 km. The project named Red Bull Stratos was in development for five years before Baumgartner’s jump, and he spent countless hours training, both physically and mentally, for the event. His jump lasted for 9 minutes and 3 seconds from start to finish, and he became the first person to break the sound barrier. The project, partnered with Red Bull, a team of scientists, engineers, and doctors worked on studying the effects of high-altitude jumping on the human body.
Record-Breaking Skydiver Jumps from 136,000 Feet
In a feat of human bravery, Felix Baumgartner broke the world record for the highest skydive on October 14, 2012. At 43 years old, he stepped into a capsule and was lifted into the stratosphere by a helium-filled balloon. After ascending to 128,000 feet, he stepped out of the capsule and freefell back to Earth at a speed of 834 miles per hour.
The project, named Red Bull Stratos, had been in development for five years before Baumgartner’s jump. He spent countless hours training, preparing physically and mentally for the extreme conditions he would experience. Highly specialized equipment was developed to withstand the pressure, temperature, and lack of oxygen he would face. The capsule he used to ascend to the stratosphere was designed to hold up to 3.7 million cubic feet of helium—enough to fill more than 9,500 hot air balloons.
As he stepped out of the capsule, Baumgartner was wearing a pressurized suit to help him deal with the thin atmosphere. The entire jump was streamed live on television and social media, with millions of people watching around the world. He had two backup parachutes in case of equipment failure, but thankfully didn’t need them.
Baumgartner set a new world record for the highest-ever jump by a human being, surpassing the previous record of 102,800 feet held by retired Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who also served as a mentor to Baumgartner throughout the project. He also became the first person to break the sound barrier without the aid of a vehicle. His jump lasted 9 minutes and 3 seconds from start to finish.
Baumgartner’s jump was an incredible accomplishment, but it also helped advance scientific research in numerous fields. The project was a partnership between Red Bull and a team of scientists, engineers, and doctors who studied the effects of high-altitude jumping on the human body. The research they gathered has allowed for advances in aerospace medicine, and can be applied to future spaceflight or research missions.
What motivated Felix Baumgartner to attempt the record-breaking jump?
Baumgartner had a lifelong passion for extreme sports and pushing limits. He saw the Red Bull Stratos project as an opportunity to challenge himself and accomplish something that had never been done before.
How long did it take Baumgartner to reach the stratosphere?
It took just over two and a half hours for Baumgartner’s capsule to reach its maximum altitude of 128,000 feet.
Did Baumgartner experience any negative effects from the jump?
During his freefall, Baumgartner experienced uncontrollable spinning, which created a risk of blackout or vertigo. However, he was able to regain control and complete the jump safely.
What was the highest recorded speed Baumgartner reached during the jump?
Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 834 miles per hour during his freefall.
How has the research gathered during the Red Bull Stratos project been used for scientific advancements?
The research gathered during the project has allowed for advances in aerospace medicine, specifically in the treatment and prevention of decompression sickness. It has also provided valuable data for future spaceflight or research missions involving high-altitude jumps.