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Baumgartner, the Red Bull star who has done everything from crossing the English Channel during free fall using a carbon fiber wing, to BASE jumping off the tallest buildings in the world, is planning to ascend to the stratosphere in a pressurized capsule carried by a massive helium balloon. Once reaching 120,000 feet, the plan is to depressurize the capsule, open the door and step off...
...For Baumgartner’s jump, temperatures are expected to be colder than minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air pressure will be so low that a condition known as ebullism would kill him if the pressure suit were to fail. The condition is explained by everybody’s favorite formula from chemistry class, the ideal gas law. Ebullism can strike at 62,000 feet, but at 120,000 feet, the outside air pressure is less than one pound per square inch, making it even easier for gas bubbles to form in the blood, basically allowing the blood to boil...
...Another potential problem is maneuvering during free fall. In order to achieve Mach 1, Baumgartner will have to adjust his position during free fall and a normal suit is too restrictive to allow sufficient freedom of movement. One of the worries is what would happen if a person were to begin tumbling...
...No person has ever broken the sound barrier during free fall, though it is thought if a person were forced to bail out of a spacecraft at altitudes much higher than 120,000 feet, they would achieve supersonic speeds involuntarily. Baumgartner wants to help researchers better understand the possible effects of supersonic speeds on a person falling through the atmosphere as well as the effects on the suit...
Originally posted by Maddogkull
When is this suppose to happen?
The hope is to develop the next generation of full pressure suits that would help increase survival if the need to bail out of a spacecraft should ever arise at extremely high altitudes.
Originally posted by neformore
Well...whats new about that? He needs to talk to Joe Kittenger - one of my personal heroes...
Edit to add - the claim in the article that no man has broken the sound barrier is bunk, because Kittenger did it in 1960
[edit on 24/5/10 by neformore]
Kittinger reported that he fell from 102,800 to 96,000 ft before deploying his stabilization parachute. Even with this chute, however, he experienced no noticeable change in acceleration until he fell to 90,000 ft. Using simple physics equations for motion under uniform acceleration, we can estimate Kittinger's velocity. In this case, the acceleration is known since only gravity is acting and we will assume drag is small. We also know the distance traveled by Kittinger under uniform acceleration is about 12,800 ft (3,900 m). The relevant equation in this case is:
v = terminal velocity
v0 = initial velocity, which is zero in this case
a = acceleration, due to gravity in this case
Δx = change in distance, 12,800 ft (3,900 m) in this case
The acceleration due to gravity at this extreme height is not the standard value of 32.2 ft/s² (9.81 m/s²) but a slightly lower value around 31.9 ft/s² (9.72 m/s²). This value can be verified using the Atmospheric Properties Calculator.
Solving this equation with the values provided tells us that Kittinger's theoretical top speed is about 905 ft/s (275 m/s), or 615 mph (990 km/h). This answer is quite close to the top speed reported by Joseph Kittinger in his publications. We can also rearrange this relationship to solve for the altitude he would have had to jump from in order to reach 714 mph. In so doing, we find that the Excelsior balloon would have had to have been at an altitude of about 107,000 ft (32,600 m), or over 4,000 ft (1,300 m) higher than it actually was.
Originally posted by Djdoubt03
What about air friction? Would these speeds cause the suit to heat up to a point causing serious burns to said jumper?