It seems Red Bull really does give you wings or at least nerves of steel with Felix Baumgartner poised to skydive from 23 miles (36.5 km) above the Earth at 8:30 a.m. ET (12:30 p.m. GMT) today, Oct. 9.
The 43-year-old Austrian will ascend in a stratospheric balloon to 120,000 feet to make his daredevil jump, and reach supersonic speeds of up to 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) per hour, before he parachutes down to the desert in New Mexico, after almost six minutes of freefall.
Felix’s mission has been masterminded by a group of experts in fields such as aerospace medicine, pressure suit development, and balloon fabrication.
Also on the team is retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and octogenarian Joseph Kittinger, current record holder for the highest altitude jump, who launched himself from 102,800 feet in 1960.
As well as breaking Kittinger’s record, Baumgartner will achieve records for the highest manned balloon flight, the longest time in free fall, and becoming the first person to break the speed of sound.
Baumgartner’s jump is expected to produce important scientific data, such as the effects of acceleration and breaking the sound barrier on the body.
Beneath his pressure suit, Baumgartner will wear a physiological monitoring system strapped to his chest, and breathe oxygen for two hours prior to the jump to remove nitrogen from his blood, that could expand at altitude.
This live video feed will have a 20-second delay to prevent broadcasting any tragic footage should Baumgartner’s mission not be successful.
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