As the Red Bull Stratos project continues preparations to break Joe Kittinger's long-standing freefall record with a jump from a balloon at over 120,000 feet later this summer, the team this week released an animation of what the experience will be like for skydiver Felix Baumgartner. The video shows the balloon and the capsule suspended beneath it climbing through the atmosphere into the blackness of space, with the Earth's curved surface far below. Baumgartner pauses on the capsule's threshold to take in the view before leaping off. Red Bull says Baumgartner may reach supersonic speed on his descent.
No date has been set for the jump, but a 90,000-foot test jump is expected to launch from Roswell, N.M., sometime in the next few weeks. "After that one is completed, we hang out waiting for the right moment to do the BIG ONE!!," Baumgartner posted recently on his Facebook page. Kittinger's record of 102,800 feet was set in 1960. He was an Air Force test pilot working with the space program. The Red Bull team has been working on the project since 2005.