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  Red Bull Stratos: Felix Baumgartner's 'spacedive' (Page 5)

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Author Topic:   Red Bull Stratos: Felix Baumgartner's 'spacedive'

Posts: 907
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-02-2012 07:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by issman1:
Poor Felix must not know that the NASA budget is minute compared to what other US government agencies receive.
True. Two weeks of welfare equal NASA's entire yearly budget. Think about that for a second.


Posts: 1947
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-05-2012 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone see the BBC documentary on the weekend?


Posts: 142
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 11-05-2012 08:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched the documentary which certainly gave a very thorough insight into the fruition of the project, development, pitfalls and explaining the associated dangers as well as the I suspect inevitable internal dilemmas such as changing the project manager.

I particularly enjoyed the suit manufacturing and fitting at the David Clark company referring to its history of suit manufacture and speaking to the seamstresses.

The photography was excellent although I thought some scenes a little long and maybe some of the running through the desert "action man "type scenes could have been cut out.

For me however the most interesting aspect was how it really highlighted the achievement of Colonel Joe Kittenger so many years ago with some very nice early footage.

The more I watched made me wish the whole program was about these early "Project Manhigh" and similar experiments of which I know relatively little .

Colonel Kittenger seemed very lucid and affable and with a quick look on Wikipedia of his post jump history I would have liked to know more about him, much as I realise the program was based upon Baumgartner.

Without doubt Baumgartners jump was a very impressive feat, both for him and the team overcoming many challenges, though I equally doubt the film will change ones mind as to the jumps validity as a scientific project one way or another.


Posts: 3373
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-05-2012 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The programme reminded me a bit of that awesome documentary Man on Wire, which charted Philippe Petit's path to crossing between the twin towers. In the same way Baumgartner's single-minded pursuit of "flight" was presented. It was a very honest documentary that showed the politics over the project management, as well as Baumgartner's temporary withdrawal from the programme through his apprehension over wearing the pressure suit. He also came close to making his last jump when he accidentally cut away from his main chute while testing the pressure suit and then couldn't find the reserve!

Joe Kittinger - well, what can you say? I just hope I have that much vitality in my 80's. Clearly a linchpin in the project and calmly encouraging as the "capcom". I'm so glad that this programme brought Joe's landmark achievements to a wider audience as much as those of Baumgartner.

In summary, look it up - it's 90 minutes well-spent.


Posts: 2118
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-05-2012 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes I too thought it was a very good documentary. Don't be too hard on the science aspect though, sometimes results and the experience gained in certain situations do not always become obvious until sometime in the future.


Posts: 483
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 11-13-2012 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 90 minutes BBC/National Geographic documentary Space Dive looks at the technical and personal journey of the Red Bull Stratos team, as Felix Baumgartner attempts to survive traveling faster than a 0.45 calibre bullet from 120,000 feet.

The complex engineering challenges of developing the man-rated balloon capsule and launching a delicate 30million cubic-ft 0.0008in polyethylene walled helium balloon in a 20min launch window are underlined.

The four year development and one year production by David Clark of a state-of-the-art pressure suit designed not just for high altitude protection but with sufficient articulation to enable supersonic freefall is explored. The success of Stratos will positively impact man-rating certification of future pressure suits for higher altitudes. More details of the suit are here.

The level of USAF co-operation is clear as Baumgartner undergoes pressure suit/altitude chamber testing to 76,000ft at Beale AFB and flight ascent simulation to 125,000ft at Brooks AFB, in addition to the extensive involvement of Col. Joe Kittinger in the project.

The seriousness of the endeavour comes across throughout the documentary. According to Stratos Technical Director Art Thompson in this excellent article:

"One of the things that has allowed us to gather the experts we have, and work with the level of people we’re working with, is that they perceive us to be very serious about what we do. It’s definitely not a stunt."
Stratos consultant and CAPCOM Joe Kittinger explains further in this article:
"The objective is science. You don't go into a situation like this to set a record. You go in to get knowledge."

"I think all of us are dedicated toward the science, and none of us would be involved if this was a stunt."

Test skydiver Luke Aikins who performed 100+ test flights of the specially modified Stratos parachute rig vividly demonstrates the dangers of high altitude hypoxia, and the documentary explores the risks of hypoxia, decompression illness, ebullism, supersonic flat spin, and subsonic-transsonic-supersonic shockwave vibrations interacting with the human body. Despite wind tunnel testing and computer modelling, Art Thompson indicated that the shock-shock effects on the body are just "a guess".

Stratos Life Support Engineer Mike Todd's experience of the fatal 1966 flight of Nick Piantanida to 125,000ft is explored, but the role/interest of NASA flight surgeon and SF freefall parachutist Dr. Jon Clark is not examined in detail. An excellent TEDxUSC video presentation by Dr. Clark on the Stratos Project and its relevance to the Columbia accident and next generation entrepreneurial space exploration is available STRATOS Dr Jon Clark TEDxUSC.

One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary was the contrast/comparison of the experiences of Joe Kittinger and Felix Baumgartner. Kittinger had rudimentary equipment and 33 jumps to Baumgartner's 3,000+ jumps, but Kittinger had much more experience in a pressure suit environment. Kittinger's exit was unstable whereas Baumgartner fell stable for 34 secs, but both endured severe flat spins. Both confronted psychological issues and it raises the serious question of the survivability of less experienced personnel.

According to Art Thompson in the December 2012 Red Bulletin:

"The scientific data that we have collected with the Red Bull Stratos project include Felix’s complete biometric values, subsonic to transonic to supersonic and back again. These data are of interest to medical practitioners and will help to develop future treatments for accidents in the supersonic range. The load values of suit, helmet, gloves, and parachute will make equipment safer in the future. We are the first to collate such data."

"The U.S. Air Force, NASA, and private companies have already asked if they can have access to our data. They are all interested in what happens when you exit at such high altitudes. It will take some time to analyze the data from the flat spin and to deduce an exact pattern of how people with less skydiving experience than Felix can survive a fall from such a great height."

Overall, it's 90 minutes of good insight into an incredible accomplishment.


Posts: 483
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 11-19-2012 12:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One person who appears in the documentary Space Dive and who I neglected to mention is Col. Rob Rowe.

Rowe is a former USAF U-2/Test Pilot and current Lockheed Martin Aeronautics U-2/X-55 Chief Pilot, who acted as Stratos Test Pilot for Capsule Certification/Man-Rating at Brooks AFB. Rowe has 4,800+ hours in the U-2 and is one of the world's leading authorities on the aircraft type.

Lou Chinal

Posts: 1264
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 11-23-2012 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone have any info. on the drouge chute he carried as a back-up Size? Type? Flat circular? Guide surface?


Posts: 483
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 11-26-2012 11:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by Lou Chinal:
Anyone have any info. on the drogue chute he carried as a back-up?
Kelly Farrington, founder of specialist manufacturer Velocity Sports Equipment built the parachute rig that Baumgartner used in the Red Bull Stratos mission. He and/or Luke Aikins are probably your best bet for the technical specifications.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 37305
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-31-2014 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
GoPro is featuring newly-released footage from Baumgarnter's suit-mounted camera in their commercial during Super Bowl XLVIII. Here is a longer, 8-minute cut of the footage:


Posts: 5567
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-02-2014 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A sports event but certainly not a "space" dive.

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