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52 years ago the American Joseph William Kittinger was appointed by Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories, air base of Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, for the Project Excelsior, which consisted in a serie of jumps to test the system Beaupre of parachutes, that would be used for ejections at high altitudes and supersonic speeds.
Excelsior III final jump was held on August 16, 1960, and happened from 102,800 feet (31,300m). Kittinger was free fall for 4 minutes and 36 seconds and reached a top speed of 614 miles per hour (988 km/h) before opening his parachute at 18,000 feet (5,500m). He beat the record of highest altitude reached by a balloon, higher altitude for a jump, greater parachute free fall and fastest speed attained by a human through the atmosphere.The total jump time was 13 minutes and 45 seconds and Kittinger was exposed to temperatures down to -70 Celsius.
Today, the Austrian brand Red Bull has decided to redo the mission daring further. It’s the Red Bull Stratos a project created from a partnership between Red Bull and Felix Baumgartner, a mission into space to overcome human limitations that have existed for over 50 years. Supported by a team of experts, Felix Baumgartner will make a flight to the stratosphere over 36,576 m of altitude and jump in free fall in attempt to break the record and become the first man to beat the sound barrier (1,110 km/h ), while collecting useful data to medical and scientific fields.
The launch of The Red Bull Stratos was scheduled for yesterday, October 08, but the mission was aborted and will happen today, October 09, due to inclement weather. Felix Baumgartner had just arrived at the Red Bull Stratos mission’s base, when he received the news. The reason was that a cold front approached with low temperatures and chance of precipitation.”The good news is that we usually have a day or two after this type of cold front with good weather for the launch of the balloon”, said meteorologist Don Day.
The Felix Baumgartner’s jumping to a record will be followed closely by HD cameras placed in the capsule, on his body, in the air and on the ground. The Austrian dive through the sound barrier promises to be the most high-altitude jump well documented history, and can be seen in real time not only by Team Quest, but also for spectators worldwide.