back to article Austrian daredevil Baumgartner skydives from 71,581ft

Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner is well on the way to breaking the highest free-fall record after successfully jumping yesterday from 71,581ft (21,817m) Felix Baumgartner prepares to jump. Pic: Red Bull Stratos The Red Bull-sponsored high-flier took to the skies over Roswell, New Mexico in a custom-built pressurised space …

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Is LOHAN going to make a playmobil re-enactment of this?

Just asking.

It is exciting when people go after such a long-standing record.

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TRT
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You should get in touch with him...

and ask him if he minds lobbing this 'ere model plane out just before he jumps.

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Anonymous Coward

looks

Like he jumped from the international space station.

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Headmaster

Re: looks

I do wonder though if perhaps the press could stop referring to things hanging from a firkin BALLOON, and therefore still clearly within a fair old fug of atmosphere, as in 'space'.

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Re: looks

That's *next* year...

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Headmaster

Re: looks

Er, the ISS orbits within a 'fair old fug of atmosphere' as you call it, as the air molecules around the ISS are not actually in free orbit; this is why the ISS needs a regular firm thrust to keep it up.

A balloon is an entirely rational way of getting to space, the problem is reaching orbital velocity from one - hence LOHAN, which will also be in need of a long hard thrust to get to its (her?) peak.

The official definition of 'space' is somewhat arbitrary as you could say it starts at the altitude where you need a pressure suit to survive more than a second or so (70,000 ft, but that means HEAPS of people, even James May, have been to space) or it should more correctly start at the altitude where you don't need to keep boosting your orbit - the altitude at which air molecules start to follow truly ballistic paths (around 1000km I think) instead of smacking into one another every 10km or so like they do around the ISS , but this means that embarrassingly only 24 people have been to space - the Apollo astronauts who entered trans-lunar orbits.

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Boffin

Vacuum survivability = a few minutes?

I thought human survivability in vacuum was minutes, not "under a second". Anyone know if it's been animal-tested? I'd have thought it must have been.

One would have to exhale as pressure was reduced, and would normally black out from lack of oxygen maybe 15 seconds later. Death from lack of oxygen takes 3-4 minutes. By hyper-ventilating in advance, one might remain conscious for longer.

The other problem is that water at blood temperature will boil in vacuum. However, a body's membranes are quite tough and will maintain the small fraction of an atmosphere needed to prevent this for some time. My guess is that lack of oxygen would be fatal before embolisms.

Explosive decompression presents greater hazards.

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Anonymous Coward

As he stepped off the edge he uttered the now famous words....

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What haaaaaaaaaaaaaave I doooooooooooone!

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More likely

Doing a Major Kong (Dr Strangelove) "yeehaw"...

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Coat

Wouldn't you shout the name of that famously hesitant Indian Chief...

HANGONAMO!

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Happy

Standard for jumping out of a plane.

Without expletives - not the first jump...

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TRT
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I believe the usual expression reserved for high places is...

eh up, mother! I can see our 'ouse from up 'ere!

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Pint

Joe Kittinger

had to have a separate support heavy-lift aircraft just for his balls.

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Re: Joe Kittinger

Amen to that. Look the guy up - the rest of his life wasn't exactly boring, either. There ought to be a picture of him on the Wikipedia page for 'badass'.

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Re: Joe Kittinger

Too damn right. On his record jump, he got a hole in his glove and his hand swelled up to double its normal size. He knew they'd pull the plug if he told anyone, so he didn't. Without a working pressure suit he would have died up there - but his hand swelled up enough to seal off the glove.

If the Boogyman checks under his bed for Chuck Norris, then Chuck Norris checks under his bed for Joe Kittinger...

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Alert

Re: Joe Kittinger

Yep, a brave man. How is that 1960 had both the highest ever jump and the only ever visit to the Challenger Deep? And this year might see both repeated...

Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the Trieste:-

'At 30,000 ft. a sharp crack rang through the ship, shaking it violently. The water pressure outside wasmore than 6 tons per sqare inch., and even a slight fracture in the hull would have meant certain death. It proved to be only an outer Plexiglas windowpane which had splintered under the pressure. The inner hull remained watertight. "A pretty hairy, experience," admitted Walsh.'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Joe Kittinger

> If the Boogyman checks under his bed for Chuck Norris, then Chuck Norris checks under his bed for Joe Kittinger...

...and Joe checks for John Stapp.

http://www.ejectionsite.com/stapp.htm

(and that doesn't cover the stuff where he removed the cockpit canopy of a jet fighter and rode it at 900km/h)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Joe Kittinger

One of the cooler things about Kittinger's jump was his description of the moment he stepped out of the gondola. He said that it didn't feel like anything happened, and that he wondered for a moment why he wasn't falling; he looked up and saw the gondola skyrocketing up into the air - and then realized that the gondola was in the same place; he was falling. But because there was so little air, there wasn't any resistance to speak of, and therefore no sensation of falling at all.

And this in 1960 - keep in mind that 50 years previously, the idea of an automobile that would be practical for transporation was pie-in-the-sky; that airplanes... well... weren't... that warfare was conducted with horses and bayonettes. 25 years before, airlines were in their extreme infancy, and 20,000 feet was pretty big stuff for an airplane. Pressure suits? Nobody had been anywhere requiring one.

Electronics? They didn't really exist in any reasonable form; huge chunks of America didn't have any power. A 1937 issue of LIFE notes that 40% of the houses in a new development had hot water.

It's bizarre - an ultra-conformist, conservative (but fine with a 90% top-level marginal income tax) country, obsessed with its enemies to the point of national paranoia, racist, and misogynistic, but producing amazing technical achievements in a phenomenally short period of time.

Between 1950 and 1966 - from propeller planes that went 400mph at 30000 feet to the SR71, which could do 3100mph at 80000(+?) feet. In 1950 they were polishing rivet heads off to improve aerodynamics; in the SR71 they used a titanium structure which was loose on the runway but expanded and sealed at temperature.

Between 1950 and 1960 - from I don't even know what, to Kittinger's jump.

...and the real killer...

Between 1952 and 1967 - the MGM-1 Matador cruise missile, with 55,000lb of thrust, 40 feet tall and 12000lbs (heavy)... to the Saturn V, with 7.6 *million* lb of thrust, 360 feet tall, and weighing *6.7 million lbs.*

I mean, chew on that a bit. In 17 years they went from a 700-mile spitball of a thing to a rocket that could haul six loaded tractor trailers into orbit. In 17 years we've gone from Netscape to Mozilla.

Yeesh.

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spoked wheel

"The [wooden] spoked wheel was in continued use [from 2000BC] without major modification until the 1870s, when wire wheels and rubber tires were invented." Wikipedia

4000 years before an improvement...., what were our ancestors doing for all that time!!!!?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: spoked wheel

"Dying young of terrible diseases" and "Slicing one another to bits with dull weapons" would be my guess.

Really it comes down to materials - until you get some elastic coverings, air tight seals, and compressed aid pumps, there's not really much to be done. Hell, the Romans had almost everything we do except for electricity and materials. Well, and medicine, obviously - but its development also requires power and materials.

If you want to live like they do in Star Trek, stop thinking about ftl travel, transporters, etc - *everything* is about power and materials.

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Re: Joe Kittinger

careful - your argument is likely to get used by UFO nuts to say that they clearly had ET influence.

The reality is actually scarier - the US spent SO MUCH MONEY they sent the USSR bankrupt and are themselves still paying off the debt...

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Flame

Yes, sad.

It was a can-do culture back then. People didn't take "no" for an answer, and the engineers were in charge. Try - fix the failures - try again - repeat until you are pretty sure you have reached the limit of the possible. It normally only happens in war-time. Well, it pretty much was war-time, but mercifully the nukes were never actually loosed.

In peacetime, zombies take over. They have no concept of experimentation and honorable failure. They demand an assurance of complete success in advance. When something works, they take all the credit (and the pay-rises). When something fails, they shoot the messenger (and often the whole engineering team, for good measure). Ultimately they redefine success as successfully causing increasingly untrue or meaningless words to be assembled on sheets of paper, while running any and all actual hardware into the ground. And of course, they are forever breeding more of their own kind, until there are so many zombies that society completely collapses.

For zombies, read bureaucrats, if you don't already think the two synonymous. And in the USSR, "shoot" wasn't always hyperbole.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Joe Kittinger

A nasty debt-to-GDP ratio seems like a better option than killing everyone on Earth, though.

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Anonymous Coward

on his way down...

...was he passed by a very surprised looking sperm whale and a bowl of petunias?

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Re: on his way down...

Oh no, not again.....

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Am I the only one

wondering what happens to the pod thing?

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Re: Am I the only one

Nope, I was wondering that too. I would imagine that they would have some sort of recovery mechanism in case they had to abort the mission and he couldn't jump. Probably an automated version of the Apollo spacecraft 'landings'. At the bottom of the picture it looks like there is a strip with 'rescue' written on it, and capsule looks big enough to have such systems.

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Happy

Utterly bonkers... but good luck to him!

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brill

Good to see such activities going on. Relativly cheap way to visit 'space', why cant a relativly normalized version be built to take a few people up who pass basic parachute training with automated systems. People would PAY for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: brill

I'd pay to avoid it.

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Go

So now we need to add an ejection seat to LOHAN?

We can't deny the plucky Playmobil astronaut his shot at immortality!!

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Pint

Where does he put his cojones?

Amazing effort - and makes those who came before him seem even more impressive.

It's great to see *real* world records are still being broken, and that not everyone is content to see how fast they can eat a raw onion, or how many pegs they can fit on their face...

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Film, so it is real

There's film of the flight. It includes footage of Joe Kittinger, who is an adviser on this project. Here's the link:

http://www.redbullstratos.com

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Pint

Joe Kittinger

I came to this Comments section to post something about Joe Kittinger and Chuck Norris (etc.), but I see that this category of opinion has already been well represented.

Thank you Commensteins™, opposite of Commentards.

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Pint

While we're all digging this guy's jump...

...and marveling at the sight of a guy in a space suit jumping from a "space capsule" hanging from a balloon at damn' near the edge of space, let's check out some proposed astronaut emergency badassery from the early 1960s -- one of the best-known and most cited of several proposed orbital bail-out systems of the time:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/moose.htm

http://www.astronautix.com/graphics/m/moose.jpg

http://www.astronautix.com/graphics/m/moose3v.jpg

"American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1963. MOOSE was perhaps the most celebrated bail-out from orbit system of the early 1960's. The suited astronaut would strap the MOOSE to his back, and jump out of the spacecraft or station into free space.

Pulling a ripcord would fill an inflatable heat shield with polyurethane. The astronaut would use a small hand-held gas to orient himself for retro-fire, and then fire a solid rocket motor strapped to his chest to return to earth.

The MOOSE consisted of a chest-mounted parachute, a flexible, folded 1.8 m diameter elastomeric heat shield, and a canister of polyurethane foam. Pulling the deployment cord would fill the shield into shape and encase the back of the astronaut in perfectly form-fitting polyurethane. The astronaut would use a small hand-held gas jet device to orient himself for retro-fire, and then fire a solid rocket motor mounted in the device. After aligning himself for re-entry and putting the MOOSE into a slow roll, he would throw the gas gun away. After a ballistic re-entry, the astronaut would pull the ripcord of the chest-parachute, which would pull him away from the heat shield for a parachute landing..."

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Re: While we're all digging this guy's jump...

It would have worked quite well - even feasible now with our better materials.

I'd have a go; after someone like Felix or Joe has tested it first....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: While we're all digging this guy's jump...

I guess there are a few base jumpers that would pay to do this...

I'd call it "plasma surfing" :-)

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Re: While we're all digging this guy's jump...

Of course, now I've forgotten where I'd read it, but I recall an article on one of the space sites that also discussed MOOSE and other orbital bailout systems in the context of the future possibilities of "orbital skydiving" as an extreme sport for the extremely wealthy (and extremely insane), possibly as a future outgrowth of suborbital joyriding aboard Virgin Galactic as a pastime for the insanely rich... perhaps a next-generation SpaceShipTwo (or SS3) outfitted for jumping sent on a low, one- or two-orbit hop...

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