Skydiving from the Edge of Space

Kate Gramling Posted on October 18, 2012 by Kate Gramling
Skydiving from the Edge of Space

It takes a team to make a record-breaking skydive from the edge of space like Felix Baumgartner did on October 14. It takes engineers.

Nearly half of the Red Bull Stratos team are engineers with experience in aerospace design, life support systems, and safety hazard analysis. These men led the design, construction, testing, and perfection a host of technologies to support Felix on his record-breaking dive. Many more engineers were involved along the way.

Just consider:

  • To capture the jump for a world-wide audience, special cameras were developed that could operate not only in the intense cold, low-gravity of the upper atmosphere, but also at supersonic speeds in any orientation (upside-down, sideways, etc.).
  • The capsule that carried Felix to the edge of the atmosphere was pressurized to reduce the risk of decompression sickness, insulated against extreme temperatures, and was fitted with crash pads to protect the sensitive electronics when the capsule fell back to earth.
  • The suit Felix wore was fully pressurized and protected him in temperatures ranging from -90° to +100°F. It was specially modified to provide better peripheral vision and greater mobility than traditional pressure suits.

Bolder by design, developing every one of these technologies involved experts in different disciplines working together to overcome serious engineering challenges.

The Red Bull Stratos project is a high-profile example of how many engineers work: in teams, tackling challenges in diverse areas to accomplish a common goal.

IMAGE: Pilot Felix Baumgartner jumps out of his capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico, USA on October 14, 2012. Photo by Jay Nemeth from www.redbullstratos.com

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