The Red Bull Stratos science team has spent five years developing the capsule for this mission to the edge of space. The capsule which will be carried by a high altitude helium balloon the size of a 79-storey building (!) will deliver Felix Baumgartner to a height of 36,000 metres (120,000 ft or 36 kms) for his record-breaking freefall attempt. This is one of the more ambitious space ventures in recent history.
Crucial to the success of the project is the capsule that Art Thompson and his small team of specialists have designed to take Baumgartner high enough for his record-breaking jump from the stratosphere. The size – 6ft in diameter, or approximately 183cm – was dictated by the need for a 4ft (122cm) door that allows Felix to get out of the capsule comfortably and securely wearing his spacesuit and parachute. A seat belt similar to those used in passenger planes will prevent him from standing up to his full height during the ascent.
Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Capsule
The Red Bull Stratos 2012 will be an attempt to not only become the first person to break the speed of sound and reach supersonic speeds in freefall before parachuting to the ground, but a mission to capture valuable data for the medical and scientific advancement of human flight with the use of specially designed equipment that has been developed specifically for this controlled experiment.
Marle Hewett, 74 is the current Red Bull Stratos Programme Manager and Senior Flight Test Engineer. He is a former test pilot and a man who led the US Naval Academy Aerospace Engineering Department. He has also served as a Navy commander and fought in Vietnam as a fighter pilot. A veteran of his stature does not want amateurs around. His judgement of Baumgartner is simple: “Smart guy, adaptive, willing, tough, focused. Impressive in the air – his helicopter training shines through. The right man for this mission.”
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Photo courtesy of Red Bull