At 120,000 Feet Above Sea Level, Altitude Is Both Ally and Adversary
-- Graduated, multi-stage test program: Besides working in wind tunnels and low-pressure chambers, Baumgartner will jump in his pressure suit from successively higher outdoor altitudes, allowing him and analysts on the mission team to assess the effect of the surrounding conditions -- and his body's reactions -- to make necessary adjustments. -- Choreographed step-off: For the first 25 to 30 seconds of his flight, the thin air will offer Baumgartner so little resistance that he will not be able to adjust his position using air flow. This means he must "choreograph" his movements to step off the capsule in an optimal position, an endeavor complicated by his bulky full-pressure suit and by the fact that the capsule is not fixed rigidly to the balloon and thus can react to his motion. Part of Baumgartner's training is dedicated to honing this "choreography." -- Full-pressure suit and helmet: Baumgartner's full-pressure ("space") suit and helmet are designed to provide oxygen, protection from the extreme cold, and also a certain amount of rigidity and support in the potentially difficult transonic zone as he approaches the speed of sound. This state-of-the-art gear incorporates added features to afford Baumgartner advantages -- hence protection -- never before available. -- Drogue parachute: Although he may not need or use it, a special "drogue" parachute has been developed and tested for deployment even at the extreme of supersonic speed. This drogue chute will be available to stabilize Baumgartner if necessary to avert the potentially fatal tendency for falling objects to spin uncontrollably at high altitudes.Clark comments, "What we're counting on is that, while the high altitude presents many challenges, the air will also be rarified, so shock waves won't have the same detrimental, concussive effect as they would down low. But ultimately, this mission is a test flight, so we'll know a lot more afterward than we'll know beforehand." He adds, "We expect the unexpected." About Red Bull Stratos Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space. Pilot Felix Baumgartner will ascend to the stratosphere in an attempt to launch a freefall jump that would see him become the first person to break the speed of sound with the human body. The data captured by this mission and its team of world-leading scientists promises new standards in aerospace safety, expanding the boundaries of human flight. Global broadcaster the BBC will produce a special 90-minute documentary on the Red Bull Stratos mission, which will air exclusively in the US on the National Geographic Channel and be distributed globally to national broadcasters by BBC Worldwide. Red Bull Stratos is proud to share this mission with the following partners: Nokia As the official global mobile partner, Nokia has developed the Red Bull Stratos application to monitor this groundbreaking project. Available exclusively through Ovi Store by Nokia, users can learn more about the mission's progress by reading articles and watching videos from the Red Bull Stratos team of experts. Nokia users can also follow the countdown, stream the final jump in real time and watch Felix Baumgartner's pulse race by monitoring his biometrical data before, during and after the jump. Once complete, the app will deliver unique content about the Red Bull Stratos mission direct to handset. For more information, please visit http://www.ovi.com. Microsoft Microsoft is the global media technology partner for Red Bull Stratos. Microsoft's Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming technology bring an interactive live experience in High Definition to web viewers worldwide. To learn more, visit http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight. Riedel Communications Riedel Communications -- renowned for its pioneering advanced fiber, intercom and radio technology - provides the entire communications solution for this outstanding project, integrating both wireless and wired digital intercom systems. Additionally, Riedel furnishes the fiber-based video and signal distribution as well as the wireless video links to the capsule's onboard cameras -- enabling stunning pictures to be delivered from the Red Bull Stratos capsule. Please visit http://www.riedel.net. Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Inc. Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Inc., offers the services of leading technical minds in research, advanced composite design, engineering and fabrication to find solutions for a full spectrum of aerospace needs. Sage Cheshire is designing, building and testing the Red Bull Stratos pressurized capsule -- further, the company coordinates other vital aspects of the mission, from creating computer fluid dynamics to selecting crews and interfacing with outside agencies. For more information: www.sagecheshire.com. Notes to Editors The Red Bull Stratos trailer can be viewed and shared at www.redbullstratos.com. For hi-res images, B-roll, web videos and additional press materials throughout the project, please visit: www.redbullstratos.com/newsroom. Red Bull Stratos content, as well as other Red Bull productions, can also be accessed at www.redbullcontentpool.com.