Posted: Oct 24, 2014 10:29 pm EDT
(Newsdesk) A Google Senior Vice President took a sabbatical to prepare for a record-breaking parachute jump from the Stratosphere. Alan Eustace (57) went up to space on October 24, attached to a helium-filled scientific balloon while wearing a custom-made pressurized spacesuit and life support system. No capsule was used as with predecessors.
Eustace lifted off from an abandoned runway at Roswell, New Mexico. His flight began around dawn, but his day began much earlier, starting with a four-hour oxygen pre-breath phase to wash nitrogen from his body, reported Paragon.
The balloon was filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium. Once the balloon was inflated and stable, secured by a specially designed launch plate, Alan was attached to an instrument module below the base of the balloon and quickly launched.
The balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of 135,890 feet (41,419 meter). This altitude information from two data loggers is submitted to the World Air Sports Federation for verification. The previous record was set at 38,969.4 m / 127,852.4 ft feet by Austrian Felix Baumgarten on October 14, 2012.
Alan achieved his target altitude in about two and a half hours, reported Paragon. He spent a short time, around a half hour, experiencing the wonders of the stratosphere before being released from the balloon. He cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device
In rapid free fall, Alan experienced a short period of near weightlessness and within 90 seconds exceeded the speed of sound, reaching a speed of 822 miles per hour. He opened his main parachute four and a half minutes into the flight and landed 70 miles from the launch site.
Eustace and a small group worked in secrecy for three years. He carried Go-Pro cameras and was in contact with ground control with and off-the-shelf radio.
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Paragon Stratex website