Daredevil set for death-defying skydive

2012-10-09 19:21
Felix Baumgartner in the capsule waiting for launch. (Screengrab)

Felix Baumgartner in the capsule waiting for launch. (Screengrab)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Austria
    Offers the information you need to know for a memorable holiday to Austria. Now R104.00
    buy now

Roswell - An Austrian daredevil made last-minute preparations on Tuesday for a death-defying skydive from a balloon 37km over the New Mexico desert after delays due to winds earlier in the day.

Felix Baumgartner, a 43-year-old helicopter pilot, hot-air balloonist and professional skydiver, would break a longstanding altitude record and the sound barrier if the jump goes forward.

Baumgartner's team said the launch of a massive but fragile helium balloon that would carry him up to 120 000 feet (37km) above Roswell, New Mexico, had been scheduled for about 17:15 GMT.

The launch was delayed by about four hours because of winds above the launch site, the team said in a statement.

After they died down, Baumgartner, wearing a pressurised spacesuit, prepared to climb into a specially-made capsule that would carry him into the stratosphere.

"[The] countdown is officially back on," Sarah Anderson, a member of Baumgartner's launch team, told Reuters by e-mail.

If the launch proceeds, it would take about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach 120 000 feet.

The 850 000m³ plastic balloon, which is about one-tenth the thickness of a Ziploc bag, cannot handle winds greater than 9.7km/h.

Baumgartner hopes to break the record of 102 800 feet (31.333m) for the highest-altitude freefall, a milestone set in 1960 by US Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger.

As he falls from 120 000 feet (36.576m) Baumgartner would also break the sound barrier. With virtually no air to resist his fall, he was expected to reach the speed of sound, which is 1 110km/h at that altitude, after about 35 seconds of freefall.

He would stay supersonic for nearly a minute and should freefall for a total of 5 minutes and 35 seconds.

When Baumgartner jumps from the capsule, the position of his body will be crucial, since there is no air for him to move around in. If he falls in a way that puts him into a rapid spin, Baumgartner could pass out and risk damaging his eyes, brain and cardiovascular system.

Baumgartner's safety gear includes his custom spacesuit that will protect him from low pressure and the extreme cold. Temperatures are expected to be as low as about -57ºC.

The near-vacuum puts him at risk of ebullism, a potentially lethal condition in which fluids in the body turn to gas and the blood literally boils. Severe lung damage could occur within minutes.

Helicopters equipped with newly developed instruments to treat lung damage will be standing by during Baumgartner's skydive.

"What we're doing here is not just a record attempt. It's a flight test programme," project adviser Jonathan Clark, a medical doctor and former Nasa flight surgeon, told reporters during a news conference on Monday.

Among those interested in the spacesuit research are commercial companies developing spaceships for passenger travel. The research could help people survive a high-altitude accident.


Read more on:    us  |  austria
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an emphasis on work. There may be some restrictions, or delays or extra responsibilities. It is all about rhythm and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.