Felix Baumgartner has made his first test jump for the Red Bull Stratos team. On March 15, Baumgartner left the balloon-borne capsule at 71,581 feet. He free-fell for 3 minutes and 33 seconds before his parachute opened at 7,890 feet. During that time, he reached a maximum speed of 364.4 miles per hour.

Baumgartner is expected to reach higher velocities, exceeding the speed of sound, on future jumps from higher altitudes. Baumgartner is only the third human being to have jumped from this altitude, which requires a full pressure suit for life support. The goal for future missions is to reach a jump altitude of 120,000 feet, breaking the world record for high-altitude skydiving set by Colonel (then Captain) Joe Kittinger in 1960. The spacesuit technology being demonstrated on these jumps will be applicable to suborbital space vehicles.

Written by Astro1 on March 15th, 2012 , Citizen Exploration, Space Medicine and Safety

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