Monday, October 15, 2012

Free-Falling Into History

Felix Baumgartner about to jump from the stratosphere.
Felix Baumgartner made history yesterday by jumping (falling?) some 24 miles from the edge of Earth's atmosphere to the eastern desert in New Mexico.  The previous record had been set back in 1960.  The event was another step toward the commercialization of space, being sponsored by Red Bull.  The primary scientific purpose of the jump was to test a pressure suit for future space missions.

The fall lasted about 8 minutes and Baumgartner broke the sound barrier by reaching a maximum descent speed of 834 miles per hour.  He was the first human being to ever break the barrier without the aid of vehicular power.  He also broke the record for flying higher in a balloon than any human in history.  I watched the entire thing live on my iPad.  I was plugged into one of 8 million livestreams watching the event, which was history in and of itself.  You can watch it here.

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