Kittinger Advised Jumper Makes Second Test Leap
July 26, 2012 | WMFE - In case you missed it, yesterday sky diver Felix Baumgartner successfully completed a second test jump with the Red Bull Stratos project from 96,640 thousand feet, or more than 18 miles above the desert floor in New Mexico. Baumgartner is attempting to break records for the highest, fastest, and longest jump. Those records are currently held by Orlando area resident, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger.
Kittinger is an advisor on the project and is working with Baumgartner’s team of pressure suit and capsule designers.
Speaking recently on 90.7s Intersection program Kittinger praised the effort, saying it will advance science to help the next generation of space explorers in harsh environments like Mars.
Baumgartner left in Roswell, New Mexico in a pressurized capsule suspended from a high altitude balloon before making the jump. In many regards the craft is akin to a spaceship, operating at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
When Kittinger made his own record setting jump in 1960 he was completely exposed to atmosphere in a metal basket. His pressure suit failed during the ascent but Kittinger knew if he let ground controllers know about his situation they would bring him back down. Kittinger did eventually get down after falling for more than four minutes at speeds close to the sound barrier.
Baumgartner is hoping to break Kittinger’s records including the sound barrier with his own body in future leaps.
A jump is planned for August, but is subject to the rigid weather conditions that must be perfect for the high altitude balloon to ascend properly.