“When Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere 24 miles up, his descent took 4 minutes. Describe qualitatively his journey back to Earth?”

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Felix Baumgartner, as part of Red Bull Stratos jumped from a height of 24 miles, into the stratosphere, and his free fall lasted for 4 minutes and 19 seconds (after which he deployed his parachute). During the jump, he reached a speed of 1.25 Mach (about 844 miles per hour), thus breaking the sound barrier.

 This jump is a milestone not only for the project but mankind as well. There were dangers of what such high fall speeds (in excess of 1 Mach or sound barrier) would do to a human body. Also, the initial spin was uncontrollable and could have resulted in loss of consciousness and certain death for the jumper. However, despite all odds Felix achieved the goal. This jump also provided vital data for development of high-altitude jump parachute systems, which would be a major step forward for space-tourism and space-flight industry. The success of this jump not only proved beneficial for the Stratos program (or Felix), but also proved what perseverance and motivation can do for mankind.

Alan Eustance broke Felix's record in 2014.

gsarora17 | Student

On Oct. 14, 2012, the Austrian daredevil , BASE jumper and skydiver set the new record for the world’s highest skydive when he jumped from an altitude of 24 miles(128,097 feet) equivalent of 39 kilometers and broke the sound barrier during his long descent back to Earth. Baumgartner used a specially-designed helium balloon with a spaceship-sized capsule suspended underneath to make his ascent into the stratosphere,over New Mexico , United States.

He stepped off the narrow porch of capsule and fell through the air for 4 minutes and 19 seconds before deploying his parachute and hit a top speed at 833 miles per hour, which is 1.24 times faster the speed of sound. Even before his jump, it was thought the mission might have to be called off as it was found that a heater for his visor was not working. There was concern early in the dive that Baumgartner was in trouble as he was supposed to get himself into a delta position - head down, arms swept back - as soon as possible after leaving his capsule but he was tumbling over and over, however he was able to correct his fall and get into a stable configuration.It took just under 10 minutes for him to descend. Only the last few thousand feet were negotiated by parachute.

It was a major accomplishment both for science, our understanding both of the upper reaches of our atmosphere and the possibilities of what a human being can do.

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piewifferofficial | Student

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