Commercial "Spaceflight" To Take a Leap This Summer – in New Mexico

Commercial "Spaceflight" To Take a Leap This Summer – in New Mexico

Felix Baumgartner, the first person to cross the English Channel on a carbon wing, will attempt to become the first human to break the speed of sound this summer in New Mexico. As we reported in an earlier story, Baumgartner and the team of the Red Bull Stratos Initiative expect to provide important scientific and medical data to bolster the commercial space industry, but the precise date of the jump has not been revealed.

CNN reports that Baumgartner will first ride a helium balloon to the record altitude of 120,000 feet above sea level. At that point, he will jump out and free fall back to Earth at about 690 miles an hour, breaking the speed of sound.

The team has taken several measures to increase Baumgartner’s chance of survival, such as dressing him up in a pressurized suit and an “advanced helmet,” and providing oxygen tanks and an automatic parachute for the ride.

Apart from breaking at least four records, the test is aimed to provide answers to the conditions from which humans – including humans on suborbital flights – could return to Earth in a situation where their vehicle becomes unusable or dangerous. “In the future, a lot more tourists will go and travel to space. And if something goes wrong with their spacecraft, they have to return to Earth somehow. We will show to the world that egress from high altitude is survivable,” CNN quoted Baumgartner as saying.

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