SEARCH

Entries in Felix Baumgartner (8)

Monday
Oct152012

Daredevil Felix Baumgartner Says He Couldn't Feel Speed of Sound

Jay Nemeth/Red Bull Content Pool(ROSWELL, N.M.) -- Daredevil Felix Baumgartner shattered the speed of sound and broke three records on Sunday after he took a leap from 24 miles above the Earth on the edge of space.

At one point during his freefall, the 43-year-old Austrian was traveling at 833 mph or Mach 1.24, a feat that normally could only be accomplished by a supersonic jet, or perhaps the space shuttle.

"It is hard to describe [breaking the speed of sound] because I didn't feel it," Baumgartner said after the jump.  "When you're in a dead pressure suit [and without reference points] you don't feel anything."

Aside from being the only man to achieve a supersonic skydive, the extreme athlete also broke two other records, including the highest exit from a platform at 128,000 feet and the highest free-fall without a drogue parachute, which was measured at 119,846 feet.

Baumgartner said he felt he was in trouble at one point during his 4 minute, 20 second freefall when his visor began to fog up.  He also then went into a spin.

"It's hard to tell what happened because I have to look at the video footage. ... Somehow I started spinning... It felt like a flat spin," Baumgartner said, adding that he felt a lot of pressure in his head during the fall.

He soon regained his vertical velocity and was able to pull his parachute, landing approximately nine minutes after millions tuned in online, and held their breath, as he made history.

Despite the momentous day, there was one record Baumgartner didn't shatter -- the longest elapsed freefall record.

Fifty-two years later, the 4 minute and 36 second record still belongs to Joe Kittinger.  The 84-year-old former air force pilot served as a mentor to Baumgartner and was in contact with him during the jump Sunday.

"Better champions cannot be found. ... He did a fantastic job today," Kittinger said.  "[And] I'd like to give a special one finger salute to all the folks who said he was going to come apart when he went supersonic."

Baumgartner's feat came on the 65th anniversary of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier.

When asked what he would do next, Baumgartner said he'd like to be sitting in his mentor's chair.

"Honestly I want to inspire the next generation," he said.  "I would love if there was a young guy sitting next to me asking what my advice is, wanting to break my record."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct092012

Felix Baumgartner's Record-Breaking Skydive Postponed

Red Bull(ROSWELL, N.M.) -- Felix Baumgartner and his team in Roswell, N.M., have been forced to postpone the Austrian daredevil's supersonic leap from the edge of space that was scheduled for Tuesday because strong winds hit the area at the scheduled jump time.

When he does take the leap, which may be Thursday, the skydiver will break the world record for highest skydive, falling 23 miles and accelerating from zero to 690 miles per hour in 35 seconds, and become supersonic for almost a minute of the roughly 10-minute leap.

Baumgartner did enter his capsule Tuesday, but winds at 20 miles per hour at the top of the 55-story helium balloon that was to lift him into the stratosphere were far above the safe 3 mph limit. Technical delays, including radio problems, also delayed the balloon filling.

There were hopes that winds would die down later in the day after the feat was postponed from Tuesday morning. The launch was eventually rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET, but it had to be cancelled.

The feat Baumgartner will be attempting could ordinarily only be accomplished by a supersonic jet, or perhaps the space shuttle. Ahead of the jump, the 43-year-old said he was confident that he could do it.

"I practiced this for so many years," he said. "This is my biggest dream."

Baumgartner's dream would be most people's nightmare. Baumgartner will take a ride to 120,000 feet above Earth -- four times higher than most passenger jets fly.

Jonathan Clark, the project's medical director, said that though Baumgartner's team will use a helium balloon to get to the stratosphere, they will have to "transit the death zone."

The pressure is so low at 120,000 feet that if Baumgartner's suit fails, his lungs will burst and his blood will boil. But the most dangerous moment of the jump will come when Baumgartner opens the capsule door and jumps out.

Threats of extreme cold, extreme temperature fluctuations, and the possibility of an uncontrolled flat spin, which could hit 220 rpm, all are dangers of the stunt, as are a failure of the braking parachute, spacesuit puncture and life support systems' failing.

Baumgartner has successfully leaped twice from lower altitudes, but 120,000 feet shattered the record set 52 years ago by former Air Force pilot Joe Kittinger, who is now 84 years old and admitted he was a little jealous.

"Hell yes," Kittinger said. "If he decides he doesn't want to do it, I will go."

Baumgartner, who has a "Born to Fly" tattoo on his arm, said there's not a chance of that.

"It's just me. I like paragliding. I like helicopters. I just love to be near the sky, that is my second home, that is where I belong," he said.

Baumgartner said he wasn't doing this just to set a record. He's also doing it for science, as the jump could help NASA design better and stronger spacesuits for astronauts.

If his mission succeeds, Baumgartner will shatter several records, including:

  • First Human to break the speed of sound in free-fall (Mach 1 more than 690 mph).
  • Highest free-fall altitude -- 120,000 feet (Joe Kittinger hit 105,000 feet in 1960).
  • Highest manned balloon flight at 120,000 feet (previous record was 113,740 feet in 1961).
  • Longest free-fall (Baumgartner's team expects 5 minutes, 35 seconds; Kittinger's was 4 minutes, 36 seconds in 1960).
  • Largest manned balloon in history at 550 feet tall, with a volume of 30 million cubic feet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct092012

Felix Baumgartner Set to Break Sound Barrier with 120,000-Foot Skydive

Red Bull(ROSWELL, N.M.) -- In a jump set to break the sound barrier, as well as the world record for highest skydive, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is ready to leap from the edge of space -- 23 miles above Roswell, N.M. -- on Tuesday.

When he jumps, Baumgartner will accelerate from zero to 690 miles per hour in 35 seconds, and become supersonic for almost a minute of the roughly 10-minute leap.  This feat could ordinarily only be accomplished by a supersonic jet, or perhaps the space shuttle.  But the 43-year-old daredevil believes he can do it using only his body.

"I practiced this for so many years, and now, we are almost there, so this is my biggest dream," he said.

Baumgartner's dream would be most people's nightmare.  To get to 120,000 feet above Earth -- four times higher than most passenger jets fly -- Baumgartner will hitch a ride on a capsule attached to a balloon 55 stories tall.

"We are using a helium balloon to get to the stratosphere, but to get there we have to transit the death zone," Jonathan Clark Stratos, the project's medical director, said.

The pressure is so low at 120,000 feet that if Baumgartner's suit fails, his lungs would burst and his blood would boil.  But the most dangerous moment of the jump comes when Baumgartner opens the capsule door and jumps out.

Threats of extreme cold, extreme temperature fluctuations, the possibility of an uncontrolled flat spin -- which could hit 220 rpm -- drogue chute failure, spacesuit puncture, and life support systems' failing are all potential threats for Tuesday's feat.

Baumgartner has successfully leaped twice from lower altitudes, but 120,000 feet will shatter the record set 52 years ago by former Air Force pilot Joe Kittinger, who is now 84 years old and admitted he was a little jealous.

"Hell yes," Kittinger said, when asked about Baumgartner's exploit.  "If he decides he doesn't want to do it, I will go."

Baumgartner, who has a "Born to Fly" tattoo on his arm, said not a chance.

"It's just me.  I like paragliding.  I like helicopters.  I just love to be near the sky, that is my second home, that is where I belong," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct082012

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner Lives by 'Born to Fly' Mantra

Red Bull(NEW YORK) -- "Born to Fly" reads the tattoo on 43-year-old Felix Baumgartner's arm.  When he steps off the ledge of his capsule Tuesday morning, 120,000 feet above Earth, he will be flying faster than the speed of sound.  His body will go from zero to 690 mph in 34 seconds, and he will be supersonic for almost a minute -- free-falling for 5 minutes and 35 seconds.

"Born to Fly" isn't just his mantra; Baumgartner lives it as a skydiver who has flown across the English Channel and dreamed of even bigger feats.  For five years, he has been training with a top-notch team from Red Bull on a project dubbed Stratos -- Mission from the Edge of Space.

Baumgartner plans to ride in a capsule carried aloft by massive helium filled to 120,000 feet.  Only one person has done this before -- the legendary Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger in 1960.

The balloon carrying Baumgartner aloft is incredibly large and just as fragile.  It can't launch with winds greater than 6 mph, so the team's meteorologist will be watching -- and waiting -- for fair weather.

If this ambitious mission succeeds, Baumgartner will break several records:

  • First human to break the speed of sound in in free-fall (Mach 1 more than 690 mph)
  • Highest free-fall altitude --120,000 feet (Kittinger hit 105,000 feet in 1960)
  • Highest manned balloon flight at 120,000 feet (previous record was 113,740 feet in 1961)
  • Longest free-fall (Baumgartner's team expects 5 minutes, 35 seconds; Kittinger's was 4 minutes, 36 seconds in 1960)
  • Largest manned balloon in history at 550 feet tall, with a volume of 30 million cubic feet

Dr. Jonathan Clark is the chief medical officer for this effort.  He is a former NASA flight surgeon currently with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and can recite the risks of this ride in his sleep.

This, he says, is a very hostile environment: "We are using a helium balloon to get to the stratosphere, but to get there we have to transit the death zone."

It is dangerous.  Every member of the team acknowledges the threats of extreme cold, extreme temperature fluctuations, the possibility of an uncontrolled flat spin that could hit 220 rpm, drogue chute failure, spacesuit puncture, and life support systems failure.

But Baumgartner told ABC News he doesn't think of any of this when he is standing on the step of his capsule looking down at Earth.

"You hear yourself breathing.  You can see the curvature of Earth, the sky is totally black.  It is a kind of overwhelming view because you have never seen a black sky, but then you can't stand there forever," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct052012

Daredevil Felix Baumgartner Preps for 120,000-Foot Skydive

Red Bull(ROSWELL, N.M.) -- Felix Baumgartner has a tattoo on his arm: "Born to Fly."  He will put that to the ultimate test on Monday, when he attempts a record-setting, death-defying jump from the edge of space.

"I practiced this for so many years and now we are almost there," he said.  "So this is my biggest dream, and we are one step closer."

One step closer to a dream that would be a nightmare for most people -- stepping out of a capsule 120,000 feet (23 miles) above Roswell, N.M., to plummet back to Earth at 690 mph.  If all goes as hoped, he will be in freefall for almost five minutes, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft.  He will break records that have stood for 52 years.  

Red Bull is sponsoring this mission, called Stratos, and its team of 200 has worked for five years to make this mission a success.

Baumgartner already jumped from 90,000 feet in July.  That was practice.

Every member of the team acknowledges the risks: extreme cold, the vacuum of space, temperature fluctuations, an uncontrolled flat spin that could hit 220 rpm, drogue chute failure, spacesuit puncture, and life support systems failure.

Baumgartner will ascend in a pressurized capsule at dawn, in a balloon that will be 700 feet tall when filled with helium.  The preparations start at midnight, with an hour or so to oxygenate Baumgartner to purge his body of nitrogen.

The ascent to 120,000 feet will take a couple of hours.  Once Baumgartner reaches altitude, he will depressurize the capsule, step out onto a ledge, and dive back down to Earth -- a plunge that could take seven minutes.  He will have parachutes to slow him down when he hits 5,000 feet or terminal velocity. 

Terminal velocity occurs when a falling body experiences zero acceleration -- as he gets closer to Earth, the atmosphere gets denser so he will slow down and there will be less friction on his spacesuit.  Or so they hope.

Dr. Jonathan Clark heads the medical team and ticks off the risks on his fingers: "If you are going to be above 50,000 feet you wear a pressure suit, above 63,000 feet the water in your body would start to boil and your body is 70 percent water."

If Baumgartner succeeds he will break the record set on Aug. 16, 1960, when Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger jumped from a balloon at an altitude of 102,900 feet.  He fell for almost five minutes before opening a parachute to slow his decent at 18,000 feet.  He made history for the highest balloon ascent, the highest parachute jump, and the fastest speed by a human being through the atmosphere.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner Completes 18-Mile Dive

Red Bull(ROSWELL, N.M.) -- Daredevil Felix Baumgartner this morning landed from his 18-mile dive back to Earth from the edge of space, in a plummet that reached a speed of 600 mph in 20 seconds.

Mission Control gave the go ahead this morning for the launch, saying "God Speed Felix" from Roswell, N.M., where the mission is being hosted. Baumgartner, an Austrian national, was lifted in a capsule carried afloat by a huge helium balloon.

The balloon took 90 minutes to get to 90,000 feet. The crane holding the capsule went up as fast as it could to get the capsule under the 210-foot tall balloon as it rose. After he jumped, Baumgartner was in freefall for five minutes. After five minutes, his parachute opened, at which point it took another seven to 10 minutes to descend to Earth.

"The pressure is huge, and we not only have to endure but excel," Baumgartner told ABC News before the jump. "We're excellently prepared, but it's never going to be a fun day. I'm risking my life, after all."

Red Bull is financing the daredevil skydive from space. The mission is named Stratos. It was five years of planning by a team of experts, many volunteering their services, to break several records in one breathtaking plunge back to Earth.

This was the second test dive for Baumgartner, who plans on a record-breaking jump from 125,000 feet, or 23 miles, next month.

The records "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner plans to break include those for the first person to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft, the record for freefall from the highest altitude, and that for the longest freefall time, expected to be five minutes and 35 seconds, and that for the highest-manned balloon flight.

Baumgartner would be breaking a 52-year-old record, and he recruited the man who set the record, the legendary retired Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, for advice.

Kittinger jumped from a balloon Aug. 16, 1960, at an altitude of 102,900 feet, and fell for almost five minutes before opening a parachute to slow his descent at 18,000 feet.

He made history for the highest-balloon ascent, the highest parachute jump and the fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

Skydiver to Jump from Edge of Space Wednesday

Red Bull(ROSWELL, N.M.) -- It seems appropriate that Roswell, ground zero for UFO hunters, is hosting the mission to the edge of space because the sight of daredevil Felix Baumgartner diving back to Earth from 90 thousand feet will certainly spark new UFO conspiracy theories.

Baumgartner will go from zero to perhaps 509 mph in 30 seconds when he jumps from his space capsule. An attempt was scrubbed Tuesday morning because of high winds; another try could be made Wednesday.

He hit 365 mph when he jumped from 71,000 feet in March -- and he is expected to go supersonic in August when he dives from 120 thousand feet. That's zero to 690 mph in 25 seconds -- a human body breaking the sound barrier without an airplane. Most people go to the edge of space or beyond in a rocket. Baumgartner is going up in a capsule carried aloft by a huge helium balloon.

"The pressure is huge, and we not only have to endure but excel," he said. "We're excellently prepared, but it's never going to be a fun day, I'm risking my life, after all."

Red Bull is financing this daredevil skydive from space. The mission is named Stratos. Five years of planning by a team of experts, many volunteering their services, went into the jump, which is set to break several records in one breathtaking plunge back to Earth, including:

  • First person to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft.
  • Record for freefall from the highest altitude
  • Longest freefall time; five minutes 35 seconds approximately.
  • Highest manned balloon flight.

This daredevil dive from near space is not a first. The Austrian Baumgartner will be breaking a 52-year-old record if he succeeds, and he wisely recruited the man who set the record, the legendary Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, for advice.

On Aug. 16, 1960, Kittinger jumped from a balloon at an altitude of 102,900 feet -- and fell for almost five minutes before opening a parachute to slow his descent at 18,000 feet. He made history for the highest balloon ascent, the highest parachute jump, and the fastest speed by a human being through the atmosphere.

"Somebody will beat them someday, but when they do it, they'll be doing it to beat a record," Kittinger said in a 2008 interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl. "We didn't make those records at the time just for that purpose"

He now says he is happy to cede his record to Baumgartner -- but joked, "I told him if he changes his mind, I am ready to take over for him."

Weather is critical because the massive balloon is fragile and tears easily; it can't launch with winds in excess of 4 mph or under heavy cloud cover.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Skydiver Set for Record-Breaking Jump from Edge of Space

Red Bull(ROSWELL, New Mexico) -- It seems appropriate that Roswell, ground zero for UFO hunters, is hosting the mission to the edge of space -- because the sight of daredevil Felix Baumgartner diving back to Earth from 90,000 feet will certainly spark new UFO conspiracy theories.

Baumgartner will go from zero to perhaps 509 mph in 30 seconds when he steps out of his space capsule Tuesday morning. He hit 365 mph when he jumped from 71,000 feet in March -- and he will go supersonic in August when he dives from 120,000 feet. That's zero to 690 mph in 25 seconds -- a human body breaking the sound barrier without an airplane. Most people go to the edge of space or beyond in a rocket -- Baumgartner is going up in a capsule carried aloft by a huge helium balloon.

Most of us would never willingly step out of an airplane to skydive from 3,000 feet. So you have to wonder why Felix Baumgartner does this. He knows the risks and says he accepts the danger. He canceled an attempt Monday morning because of high winds.

Weather is critical because the massive balloon is fragile and tears easily; it can't launch with winds in excess of 4 mph or under heavy cloud cover. Meteorologist Don Day also needs to consider where winds will push Baumgartner when he lands -- preferably not in the mountains west of the launch site.

"The pressure is huge, and we not only have to endure but excel," he said. "We're excellently prepared, but it's never going to be a fun day, I'm risking my life, after all."

Red Bull is financing this daredevil skydive from space, dubbed Stratos. Five years of planning by a team of experts, many volunteering their services, to break several records in one breathtaking plunge back to Earth:

  • First person to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft.
  • Record for freefall from the highest altitude.
  • Longest freefall time -- expected five minutes 35 seconds.
  • Highest manned balloon flight.

This daredevil dive from near space is not a first. The Austrian Baumgartner will be breaking a 52-year-old record, and he wisely recruited the man who set the record, the legendary Col. Joe Kittinger, for advice. On Aug. 16, 1960, Kittinger jumped from a balloon at an altitude of 102,900 feet -- and fell for almost five minutes before opening a parachute to slow his descent at 18,000 feet. He made history for the highest balloon ascent, the highest parachute jump and the fastest speed by a human being through the atmosphere.

"Somebody will beat them someday, but when they do it, they'll be doing it to beat a record," Kittinger said in a 2008 interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl. "We didn't make those records at the time just for that purpose."

He now says he is happy to cede his record to Baumgartner -- but joked, "I told him if he changes his mind, I am ready to take over for him."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio