The jump was lots about technology and it wasn't really Space - but the adventure made our hearts pump fast. What lay ahead, Joe Kittinger described perhaps the best:
“With barely a minute left, I read the gauges on my instrument panel one last time. I disconnect my onboard oxygen supply and begin to breathe from the bailout bottle in my seat pack. I take a breath and hold it. This is no fantasy. I am really here. I pull myself up and grab the edges of the doorway. I can feel my heart hammering like a machine.
I activate the cameras.
I release the antenna.
Lord take care of me now.
I jump from space.”
Kittinger jumped from 102,800 ft in 1960 and now, 50 years later, and he was mentoring Felix Baumgartner.
Felix was lifted with a helium balloon for nearly two and a half hours before he jumped. The air became so thin the balloon started to float. Just as a private spacesuit engineer had predicted at ExplorersWeb the visor became the critical piece of equipment. Felix found that a heater was not working and the visor fogged up. Although he told Kittinger, the only person he spoke to, it is serious, the jump went ahead.
The exit was perfect, but then he started spinning during the freefall. ”I thought I’d just spin a few times and that would be that," Felix recalled later, "then I started to speed up. It was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I’d lose consciousness.”
“I didn’t feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself. It was really a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”
The Austrian Sky diver broke three records; the highest balloon flight, the highest free fall and the fastest speed. And gave us a ride we'll late forget.
Best of ExplorersWeb Awards 2004-2011
Best of ExplorersWeb 2012 Awards: Aleks Gamme, To the Pole and Back
Felix Baumgartner's Record Space Jump videos and photos
Watch live Space Jump: comparison of technology from past to present
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ExWeb record jump current: word from private space suit designer and wing suit glider about Baumgartner attempt
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