Stratos Team Updates Mission Numbers
The Red Bull Stratos team this week released its final analysis of the data collected from Felix Baumgartner's supersonic freefall last October. Baumgartner, the team said, experienced 25.2 seconds of weightlessness during his free fall, and reached a speed of Mach 1.25, or 843.6 mph, even faster than originally estimated. His jump altitude was revised slightly, down to 127,852.4 feet from the previous estimate of 128,100 feet. His heartbeat reached a maximum of 185 beats per minute when he exited the capsule, and ranged from 155 to 175 beats per minute during freefall. The data was reviewed last month by a team that included NASA astronauts, U.S. Air Force officers, and representatives from commercial aerospace companies.
Baumgartner described the freefall sensation as he accelerated to and through the sound barrier: "It feels like you are floating into space, and then you pick up speed very fast -- but you don't feel the air because the air density is so low. For almost 35 seconds I couldn't sense the air around me because basically there was none. That kind of helpless feeling is annoying as a professional skydiver. And then when you finally enter a thicker air layer you have to keep yourself completely symmetrical because otherwise you start spinning, which is what happened to me." The G meter on his wrist never reached the 6 continuous seconds at 3.5 G that would have triggered deployment of his stabilization chute. More details about the Stratos data can be found on the project website.