October 15, 2012

Yesterday was an historic day here in the US, and for the world.  Because for the first time in recorded history, a man jumped from the edge of the space and lived to tell us about his experience.

Parachutist Felix Baumgartner, 43 of Austria, took to stratosphere yesterday morning, in a specially crafted balloon driven capsule.  After a two-hour ascent, he reached his destination: 128,000 feet above the Earth, and then he jumped...

For the first 4 minutes 16 seconds after his jump, he was in free-fall, uncontrolled motion as he hurled towards the ground.  Reaching speeds upwards of 800 mph, breaking the sound barrier.  But, he didn't break the record for free-fall following a stratospheric jump set in 1960 by Joe Kittinger, at 4 minutes 36 seconds.  Interestingly, Kittinger was one of the mission control team members, assisting Felix in his mission.

With jaw-dropping amazement, the world looked on as Mr. Baumgartner sped towards earth at such a rate unthinkable.  When his parachute deployed, just minutes before touching down in a field in New Mexico, the world cheered.  This was such a momentous undertaking.  Years in planning and preparation, about to pay off.  When he landed, those watching, especially his family, let out a victorious sigh of relief.  Felix had done, what no other human had dreamed of doing, until recently, and had allowed an audience worldwide to watch his every step, from launch, to journey, to jump, to successful landing.

It was a breathtaking few hours, which will go down in history as acts of bravery, scientifically and experimentally pushing the envelope towards a new horizon astronomically.  

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Speed of sound explained

"Breaking the speed of sound refers to catching up with – and surpassing – the speed at which sound waves are produced in the air. The speed of sound is affected by temperature: where the air is colder, sound travels more slowly."

World-record jump

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