Red Bull Stratos - test flight successful!

11:57 16th March 2012 by Kel Verbiest
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Red Bull Stratos - test flight successful! Photo: Jay Nameth/RedBull Content Pool

I told you I’d keep you updated with what’s going on with the craziest man in the world and I’ve just had some interesting news pop up in my inbox. Turns out that this piece of news really hits home how dangerous Red Bull Stratos actually is. This test flight was all about getting past the death zones and making sure Felix Baumgartner made it back safely.

Funnily enough he took off from Roswell, New Mexico (for all you alien lovers out there) at 9.50am to test out the capsule through the ‘death zone’ and the Armstrong Line. The ‘death zone’ is during the first 1,000 feet of his ascent in which if something were to go wrong he would not be able to escape or open his parachute in time. Luckily, he managed to get past this safely. The Armstrong Line is where the real work begins. This line is an area in aerospace which is inhospitable for humans. Liquids begin to vaporise and temperatures drop to -60 celsius and he would not be able to survive this without a pressurised suit, which seemed to work pretty well!

The ascent and exit went perfectly but Felix did mention that he felt the cold slightly, “I could hardly move my hands. We’re going to have to do some work on that aspect.” He went on to mention that he still needs to work on getting accustomed to the extraordinary dimensions of space. “I wanted to open the parachute after descending for a while but I noticed that I was still at an altitude of 50,000 feet.”

So where does this leave us? Well, after reaching a height of just over 71,500ft, Felix’s test jump couldn’t have gone any better. It’s only a test before he goes all the way up to 23 miles high (121,000ft) but it’s promising and all of the years of planning haven’t gone to waste. The capsule and the balloon acted just like everyone had predicted it would and it’s given the team and Felix added confidence before trying another test flight at 88,500ft.

It wasn’t just a test flight though. Goodness no. Felix also managed to break a record while doing it! He became only the third person to leap from that altitude and survive, with the other two being Russian Eugene Andreev and the Stratos mentor, Joseph Kittinger.

Red Bull Stratos - test flight successful!
Photo: Stefan Aufscnaiter/RedBull Content Pool

Red Bull Stratos - test flight successful!
Photo: Jay Naymeth/RedBull Content Pool

Red Bull Stratos - test flight successful!
Photo: Jorg Mitter/RedBull Content Pool

Red Bull Stratos - test flight successful!
Photo: Jorg Mitter/RedBull Content Pool

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