Felix Baumgartner’s jump from space may set world records virtually impossible to beat, or it may be the last contact the brave Austrian has with this world.
“So many unknowns,” Baumgartner told reporters, “but we have solutions to survive.”
Since April, Baumgartner has been practicing by making two high-altitude jumps, each time increasing his height. The final attempt, to take place Monday, October 8 when he will jump from 23 miles above the earth hoping to reach speeds of 690 mph, or Mach 1.
An impressive team of scientists has been developing his suit and capsule to be able to withstand heat and maintain pressure on the descent. Scientists predict he will reach the speed of sound in just half a minute when he is 100,000 feet above the ground. He will slow as the atmosphere gets denser, eventually pulling his parachute. By the time he lands, he will have been falling for 15 to 20 minutes, 5 minutes of which were in free-fall.
The entire project is being funded by Red Bull, although the company is not disclosing how much it costs.
The graphic below shows the size of the balloon that will take Baumgartner into position on the historic day.