Earlier today, with zero fanfare from an energy drink company, 57-year-old Alan Eustace broke Felix Baumgartner’s 2-year-old record for the highest free-fall parachute jump.
Mr. Eustace’s maximum altitude was initially reported as 135,908 feet. Based on information from two data loggers, the final number being submitted to the World Air Sports Federation is 135,890 feet.
The previous altitude record was set by Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from 128,100 feet on Oct. 14, 2012.
Mr. Eustace was carried aloft without the aid of the sophisticated capsule used by Mr. Baumgartner or millions of dollars in sponsorship money. Instead, Mr. Eustace planned his jump in secrecy, working for almost three years with a small group of technologists skilled in spacesuit design, life-support systems, and parachute and balloon technology.
He carried modest GoPro cameras aloft, connected to his ground-control center by an off-the-shelf radio.
Flash? Meet substance.
A year ago yesterday, Felix Baumgartner rode in a balloon up to a height of almost 128,000 feet and jumped out. Red Bull, who sponsored the jump, has finally released the full-length footage of the jump from Baumgartner’s point-of-view.
A feature-length documentary about the jump is available on Rdio. Is it weird that this makes me want to go see Gravity again? (via devour)
Vanity Fair’s William Langewiesche takes a behind the scenes look at what drove Felix Baumgartner from being a stunt jumper to stepping out of a capsule 24 miles above New Mexico. Grab a few Red Bulls and read all about the man who pierced the sky (and the world of brand advertising).
His goal now was to break the altitude record for a human free fall, and in the process also to exceed the speed of sound. Otherwise known as Mach 1, that speed varies with temperature but is upwards of 660 miles per hour. Baumgartner was not there to advance mankind. That was for others to claim, if they liked. His own purpose was promotional. He was a showman for the Red Bull company, which had plowed a fortune into this endeavor in order to associate its energy drink with his feats. Baumgartner, who was 43 at the time, is certainly a manly man. He is photogenic. He is fit. His fiancée was Miss Lower Austria in 2006. When he furrows his brow he looks determined and intense. On-camera he becomes the very image of a middle-aged action figure, the perfect emblem for an important market segment of middle-aged men. When I drink Red Bull, I go supersonic. I am fearless. I am an Übermensch.
Here’s some footage from the camera affixed to Felix Baumgartner’s chest during his record-breaking jump:
It’s frightening how fast he starts spinning. And then he really starts whipping around…watch the Sun’s reflection in his visor.
This has got to be some sort of record for quickest Lego parody of an event: watch as a Lego man jumps from a balloon hanging high in the air, just like Felix.
Watch live as Felix Baumgartner jumps from a balloon more than 120,000 feet in the air.
Update: The jump was successful! The YT video above is now private but here are some highlights from the mission: