Space Jump watch: Felix Baumgartner’s next attempt
Posted: Oct 12, 2012 02:59 pm EDT (Newsdesk / update Oct 13, 2012 02:30 pm EDT) After the October 9th attempt was aborted Baumgartner said, “It was a disappointment, but as long as we have a spare balloon and we have more launch opportunities, I'm good. I want to break the speed of sound no matter what it takes. I'm willing to go the extra mile."
The mission was aborted at the last minute due to wind gusts which made it impossible to safely inflate the 30 million cubic feet / 834,497 cubic meters balloon for the launch. The balloon, when fully inflated, can stand as tall as a 55-story building. Read more about the balloon here.
Meteorologist Don Day says the next weather window opens on Sunday, October 14th at 6:30 AM MDT Roswell, New Mexico. [Ed note update Oct 13, 2012 02:30 pm EDT: next target launch 6 AM EDT / 12 PM GMT. Weather update! Meteorologist Don Day says launching a 30 mcf balloon is favorable Oct. 14, but have to watch winds @ 800 feet AGL.]
The launch preparations will already start Saturday evening. Art Thompson, Technical Project Director, emphasized, “The reality is, we have a person’s life at stake, so our primary concern is to launch him at the safest moment possible to get him in the air."
Video below, October 9th attempt:
Test jump March 2012 from approximately 71,580 feet:
A key member of Baumgarten’s team is Joe Kittinger, current record holder for highest-altitude skydive. On August 16th, 1960 he jumped from a height of 102,800 ft (31,300 m). Kittinger (born July 27, 1928) ascended in a helium balloon launched from the back of a truck. He wore a pressurized suit on the way up in an open, unpressurized gondola.
Baumgartner (42) already reached a speed of 536mph/863kph in training. To imagine the speed: compare to average flight speed for a commercial airliner at 500 mph.
As for the altitude, the Kármán line, at 62 miles (100 km) above sea level, is conventionally used as the start of space. But space for man usually starts at 62000 ft (19 km) says test pilot, balloon pioneer and Felix's mentor Joe Kittinger, "above that the blood boils and without a pressure suit you die very quickly."