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  Alan Eustace and Paragon StratEx near-space dive

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Author Topic:   Alan Eustace and Paragon StratEx near-space dive
Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-24-2014 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paragon Space Development Corporation release
Paragon Completes Record-Breaking Near-Space Dive Via High-Altitude Balloon

Alan Eustace and the Paragon StratEx Team make stratospheric exploration history at over 135,000 feet

Today, after 34 months of intense planning, development and training, Alan Eustace, supported by Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon) and its Stratospheric Explorer (StratEx) team, made history with a near-space dive from a high-altitude balloon at approximately 135,000 feet. Eustace broke several records, including national record for highest exit altitude; world and national record for free fall under a drogue chute; national record for vertical speed. Additionally, he became the second person to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft.

Above: After a record-breaking 135,908 ft. space dive, Alan Eustace parachutes back to Earth.

Eustace was lifted to his peak altitude by a helium-filled scientific balloon while wearing a custom-made pressurized spacesuit. At over 135,000 feet, he began his dive, remaining in free fall for approximately 4.5 minutes before landing safely nearly 70 miles from his launch point.

The balloon, spacesuit and accompanying support systems were developed by Paragon and its StratEx technical team, comprised of ILC Dover (ILC); United Parachute Technologies (UPT); ADE Technologies Consulting, LLC (ADE); Dr. Jonathan Clark, M.D.; Julian Nott; Sreenivasan Shankarnarayan; Don Day; and World View Enterprises, Inc.

"I always wondered: what if you could design a system that would allow humans to explore the stratosphere as easily and safely as they do the ocean? With the help of the world-class StratEx team, I hope we've encouraged others to explore this part of the world about which we still know so little." said Eustace.

Above: Alan Eustace is lifted by high-altitude balloon, the same technology used by World View.

A StratEx team goal was to develop a self-contained spacesuit system that allows for manned exploration of the stratosphere above 100,000 feet. Such a system has a wide range of applications in stratospheric science, development of spaceship crew egress and the study of suited aerodynamics above Mach 1. Today, this goal was achieved as Eustace pushed the limits of human exploration, accomplishing a new way to explore a largely unexplored part of our planet.

Grant Anderson, President and CEO and co-founder of Paragon, said, "The experience and dedication of the StratEx team was crucial to the program's success. Together, Alan and the team today extended human spaceflight to the stratosphere in an important step to solidify the safety of future human endeavors. It is an honor to work with such an incredibly talented and accomplished group. This has opened up endless possibilities for humans to explore previously seldom visited parts of our stratosphere."

In addition to Eustace's passion and training, the StratEx team members made this feat possible by providing the innovative technology behind the jump:

  • Paragon Space Development Corporation: Paragon is the prime contractor for the StratEx project. The company designed and built the life support system, integrated the systems, and managed all aspects of the operation to ensure the success of the dive. Paragon's specialization in life support and thermal control in extreme environments played a crucial role in the StratEx project, as well as setting the precedent for future manned spaceflight endeavors.

  • ILC Dover: For Eustace, there was no capsule. He depended on the advanced extra-vehicular activity pressure suit designed and produced by ILC, which served as his only barrier to the harsh ambient environment encountered throughout all mission phases. As part of this project, ILC's role included pressure suit manufacture and testing, suit operation and maintenance, and flight test support. In order to minimize oxygen consumption and reduce overall system weight, the pressure suit was engineered to have minimal leakage at a higher pressure than any other operational U.S. spacesuit. In addition, this robust design provides long-duration wear, superior mobility, essential thermal protection and aerodynamic integration with the life support and parachute systems.

  • United Parachute Technologies: Eustace was returned to the ground under a drogue and parachute canopy designed and fabricated by United Parachute Technologies (UPT). UPT has been designing and manufacturing aerial delivery systems for recreational and military markets for more than four decades. Its unmatched experience with skydiving systems lent itself to the success and flawless execution of the StratEx project.

  • ADE Aerospace Consulting, LLC: ADE provided a team of medical experts who were tasked with overseeing medical support services, contingency plans and recovery operations. ADE specializes in medical operations and human factors in extreme environments.

  • Dr. Jonathan Clark, M.D.: Dr. Clark's advisory role on the StratEx team was to educate the team on the risks and protocols of high-altitude parachuting, as well as offer his expertise in neurological effects of extreme environments.

  • Julian Nott: Julian Nott is a founder of the modern ballooning movement and one of its greatest, most creative proponents. During his long and extraordinary career he has broken 79 World Ballooning Records, and 96 British Records, including exceeding 55,000 feet in a hot air balloon. His records span many classes - hot air, helium, superpressure and combination balloons - and encompass altitude, distance and time aloft.

  • Sreenivasan Shankarnarayan, Scientist in Charge (retired), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR): Since its inception in 1970, the TIFR Balloon Facility, located in Hyderabad, India has been used extensively by the Scientific Community from within the country as well as from abroad. All of the balloons for the StratEx program were manufactured by Balloon Facility off the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Hyderabad, India. Balloon Flights carrying payloads of scientific experiments in Cosmic Ray, X-Ray, Gamma Ray and Infrared Astronomy, Astrobiology as well as Atmospheric sciences have been launched from this facility with several important and interesting results being obtained. TIFR is unique in that it has all aspects of Scientific Ballooning i.e. Balloon Design and Fabrication, Payload Integration with Telemetry, Telecommand and other instrumentation, and finally Balloon Launch, Tracking, Data Collection, Balloon Flight Control, as also Payload Recovery, under one roof.

  • Don Day, President and Meteorologist of DayWeather, Inc.: DayWeather Inc., has extensive experience supporting high-altitude ballooning flights through weather forecasting, winds predictions and metrological advice. He has served the western United States with weather forecasting since 1992. Services include radio broadcast services and radio networks, newspaper weather forecast services, weather instrumentation, customized weather forecast services, consulting services, expert testimony, weather report writing and forensic meteorology.

  • World View Enterprises: Taber MacCallum, Chief Technology Officer of World View, a commercial balloon spaceflight company, served as CEO and CTO of Paragon and was involved with the development of the StratEx program. MacCallum then transitioned to the role of StratEx Safety Officer, working with the team to ensure Eustace's well being.

Above: The StratEx team prepares Alan Eustace for launch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-24-2014 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paragon StratEx video (via Space.com):

alanh_7
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posted 10-24-2014 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New York Times report and video.
The jump was made by Alan Eustace, 57, a senior vice president of Google. At dawn he was lifted from an abandoned runway at the airport here by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium.

For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall.

nasamad
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posted 10-24-2014 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazing stuff. Not sure the ride up looked very comfortable, but then if the orbiter crews could lay on their back for hours on end I'm sure two hours on your front is manageable.

Looking forward to seeing more footage and finding out more.

(I still have to score Felix higher for landing style though. )

NovaRob
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posted 10-24-2014 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NovaRob   Click Here to Email NovaRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had heard nothing about this before today, but one headline mentioned "stealthy parachute jump," so they did a good job keeping it secret until he succeeded.

I must admit, I'm still a little (pleasantly) taken by surprise.

The New York Times story states that Mark Kelly was in attendance.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-24-2014 06:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark Kelly is director of flight crew operations for World View Enterprises, which has now acquired the technology used in this jump.
Landmark Space Dive Sets Stage For World View Space Flights

Following the record-breaking 135,908-foot space dive accomplished by Google's Alan Eustace and the Paragon StratEx team, World View Enterprises, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, has acquired the technology from this history-making project. The acquisition will advance the company's mission to pioneer a new frontier at the edge of space for travel and research.

"We'd like to congratulate Paragon Space Development Corporation and its StratEx team along with Alan Eustace and all involved on their exceptional work," said Taber MacCallum, World View's chief technology officer, and Paragon's founding CEO and CTO. "Without the efforts of these companies and Alan's dedication, the project would not have been possible. World View is proud to carry the StratEx technology into the future by leveraging the incredible experience gained into a new era of space flights."

For StratEx, Eustace was lifted to his peak altitude of 135,908 feet via high-altitude balloon, the same ballooning system that World View will employ to launch sailing-like journeys to the edge of space. While World View's voyagers will ascend within a luxuriously engineered pressurized capsule, Eustace was kept safe from the elements in a self-contained space suit system designed with the goal of allowing manned exploration of the stratosphere above 100,000 feet. Paragon, which specializes in extreme environmental control systems, initiated the project with Eustace and worked with him to develop, build and manage the system used during the incredible space dive.

As former Paragon executives, World View founders Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter played integral roles in the success of StratEx. MacCallum served as CEO and CTO of Paragon and played a key role in the development of the StratEx program, then transitioned to the critical role of chief safety officer, working with the team to ensure Eustace's wellbeing. MacCallum will leverage this experience from the successful StratEx dive in his role as the chief technology officer for World View. Jane Poynter, World View's CEO, served as the president and chairwoman of Paragon throughout the development of the StratEx program.

The patent-pending technology developed for StratEx has been acquired by World View for future space travel and research flights, adding depth to World View's systems for launch, recovery, communications, ballooning, tracking, mission control, avionics and aerodynamics, among others.

World View will have Voyagers floating peacefully to the edge of space for a one-to-two-hour space cruise within a luxury capsule complete with bar and lavatory, which is transported by a parafoil and high-altitude balloon. Guests will enjoy 360-degree vistas of the world's most spectacular panorama, marveling at the beauty of the Earth below, watching the sun slowly rise above the curvature of our planet suspended in a vast, black and infinite universe. They can even share the experience in real-time with loved ones thanks to in-flight Internet access.

Individuals who wish to be a pioneer in this exciting new era of space exploration can reserve their World View flight with a $5,000 deposit; the remaining $70,000 is due six months prior to their flight.

In addition to offering breathtaking experiences for Voyagers, the capabilities being developed by World View will offer unprecedented and affordable access to the near-space environment for educators, researchers, private companies and government agencies alike.

World View has a number of strategic partners in this endeavor. Paragon Space Development Corporation has decades of experience developing life support and space-related technologies. Paragon is leading the design and development of the World View space capsule. United Parachute Technologies, Performance Designs and MMIST, all leaders in pioneering parachute technology, are providing expertise and support for the development of the flight system's airborne guidance unit and innovative parafoil.

NovaRob
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posted 10-24-2014 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NovaRob   Click Here to Email NovaRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, Mark Kelly's connection makes more sense now, even though his presence made some sense anyway.

cspg
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posted 10-25-2014 05:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any explanation as to why his fall was slower than Baumgartner's? 1322.9 km/h instead of 1357.6 km/h for Felix.

Blackarrow
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posted 10-25-2014 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Slightly denser air that day?

More drag from his particular suit?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-25-2014 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps body position was also a factor.

Baumgartner entered an uncontrolled spin for about a minute of his free fall, whereas Eustace is said to have performed only two slow backflips before his parachute righted him.

328KF
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posted 10-25-2014 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the US Parachute Association's official observer, Eustace deployed a stabilizing drogue chute during the freefall. This stabilized him but also produced more drag at the lower altitudes, resulting in a longer, slower freefall.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-25-2014 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ah, and that would be why the release stated Eustace set the world and national record for free fall under a drogue chute.

MarylandSpace
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posted 10-25-2014 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome and imaginative! Congratulations.

SpaceyInMN
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posted 10-25-2014 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceyInMN   Click Here to Email SpaceyInMN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've read several ignorant comments in online articles since this took place, including ones alluding that this wouldn't have been possible if Mr. Eustace wasn't very wealthy. Of course it wouldn't. So what? Money or not, very, very few people would have the moxie to float suspended under a balloon to that height and then free fall 26 miles. Heck, I get shaky just getting on my roof.

I commend Mr. Eustace for his tremendous courage, and also for his comments expressing aspirations that this will further the scientific research of the stratosphere. I hope more people with the financial means to promote science will do so, in whatever capacity they are able.

Does anyone know if a full video of his free fall be available at some point?

DeepSea
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posted 10-25-2014 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DeepSea     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceyInMN:
I've read several ignorant comments in online articles since this took place, including ones alluding that this wouldn't have been possible if Mr. Eustace wasn't very wealthy. Of course it wouldn't. So what?
The usual chip-on-the-shoulder from predictable quarters.

There seems to be a fair amount of revisionism as well. I find it hilarious that certain people are holding this up as somehow being an example of corporate greed, completely forgetting that Felix's effort was funded by Red Bull.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 10-25-2014 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Remarkably low key and fanfare-free for a change. Not much mention of Eustace's prior parachute or free fall experience. Did he have any?

KSCartist
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posted 10-26-2014 03:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations to Mr. Eustace. I find it interesting that both his and Baumgartner's efforts had Jon Clark as an advisor. Apparently for 10 months in 2012 Clark was consulting on both simultaneously.

onesmallstep
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posted 10-27-2014 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess Baumgartner's suit and gondola on display at Udvar-Hazy will have company soon!

YankeeClipper
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posted 10-28-2014 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is how the US Parachute Association reported the event.
Alan Eustace, D-7426, Bests High-Altitude World Record
(updated 10/24/14)

On October 24, USPA member Alan Eustace, D-7426, set the World Record for Highest Altitude Skydive by jumping from a balloon at 135,890 feet over Roswell, New Mexico. The jump also earned Eustace the world records for vertical speed (822 mph, Mach 1.23) and freefall distance (123,414 feet) attained with a drogue/stabilizing device. The feat broke the high-altitude record of 127,852 feet that Felix Baumgartner achieved during the Red Bull Stratos Project in October 2012. USPA Director of Competition James Hayhurst served as an official observer for both jumpers' attempts. Hayhurst submitted Eustace's preliminary claims for all three records through the National Aeronautics Administration to international skydiving's governing body, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in Lausanne, Switzerland.

CLASSIFICATION: Class G—Parachuting

Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General
Group: Altitude/Fall Records
Type of record: Exit Altitude
Location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 41,420 meters (135,890 feet)
Parachutist: Alan Eustace (USA)
Date: 24.10.2014

Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General
Group: Altitude/Fall Records
Type of record: Distance of Fall with drogue/stabilizing device
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 37,617 meters (123,414 feet)
Parachutist: Alan Eustace (USA)
Date: 24.10.2014

Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General
Group: Vertical Speed Records
Type of record: Vertical Speed with drogue/stabilizing device
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 1,321 km/hour (821 MPH, MACH 1.23)
Parachutist: Alan Eustace (USA)
Date: 24.10.2014

sev8n
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posted 10-29-2014 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While Projects Manhigh I and II were launched from Minnesota in the months of June and August, Manhigh III, Baumgartner and Eustace all launched from New Mexico in the month of October.

Is there something unique about the weather conditions in New Mexico in October? Or is this merely a coincidence?

yeknom-ecaps
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posted 11-01-2014 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any idea when his landing took place? Every write up on this has "70 miles from the launch site" or near Roswell (near being 70 miles?).

Any flight path for the balloon?

Lou Chinal
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posted 11-01-2014 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as Alan Eustace's prior parachute experience goes, he had a "D" license in May 1983. That's when he signed my log book.

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