Red Bull Stratos – Leap of Faith

Felix the fearless Sub-astronaught, looks out from his capsul as Stratos prepares for launch.
Felix inside Red Bull Stratos Capsule

This time Red Bull has really taken the love of extreme sports promotion to the edge, of space! In an amazing combination of science and spectacle, Felix Baumgartner will risk life and limb to break two long standing records of human capability. 1st of all he will be free falling from 120,000 feet, higher than any person in the history of man’s desire to jump from high places. Possibly even more impressive is that he will attempt to break the speed of sound with his body, sometime that has never been done before and was long considered impossible by physicists and medical scientists.

Mission Stratos Prepares to Launch the High Altitude Balloon
Mission Stratos Prepares for Launch

Science on the Brink

A stratospheric balloon will deliver a single human passenger to the edge of space for a death defying mission of legendary proportions. The scientific implications of this mission reach far beyond just seeing how much adrenaline the human body can produce. The results of this historic test will help pave the way for future generations of space travelers.

Inside the Stratos Capsule - Felix Prepares for Launch
Inside The Stratos Capsule

Felix will attempt to prove once and for all that it is possible for a human to endure supersonic flight outside of an aircraft. It was once considered that there was an invisible “barrier” to objects traveling faster than the speed of sound. In actuality, there is no barrier, but as you approach the speed of sound, shock-waves build up from sound-waves colliding with each other. These shock-waves can cause serious damage to any craft attempting to cross the supersonic threshold.

Here is an excerpt from the Stratos website about the supersonic science at hand:

“The data gathered about the effects of supersonic freefall can provide valuable tools for researchers looking to develop safety procedures for the pilots and astronauts of today and tomorrow – and for future space tourists. Proof that a human can break the speed of sound in freefall could provide support for the development of sub-orbital bailout procedures that currently don’t exist. In noting that the Red Bull Stratos team will be capturing as much physiological and environmental data as possible, medical director Jon Clark says: ‘We try to anticipate as much as we can about supersonic speed, but we really don’t know, because nobody has done this before.’ ”

Felix and Joe react to learning the mission must be delayed due to poor weather conditions.
United States Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger and Felix learning of the mission abort due to high wind conditions.

For a complete summary of the scientific implications of this event, read this article.

Red Bull – Mission Stratos

Red Bull gives you wings, and supersonic suborbital parachutes! The worlds biggest sponsor of extreme sports is really pushing the boundaries of science, technology, and adrenaline junkies lust for excitement. Beyond the scientific implications of this mission, its just flat out cool.

Red Bull Mission Stratos - Felix Baumgartner Prepares for Launch
Felix Baumgartner Prepares for mission launch! Click the image for his biography.

The launch today was cancelled because of dangerous wind conditions, but I am sure within the next week the launch will go successfully and Felix will make the proverbial leap. If you want to know more about Mission Stratos, check out Red Bulls extensive website about their project.