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Sky diver/base jumper looking to break record for highest skydive ever (23 MILES)

Three things to know: Felix Baumgartner

If Felix Baumgartner is anything, he’s fearless. If he’s anything else, he’s also crazy.

Let’s go over some of his stats: he’s jumped — approximately speaking — 2,500 times from various planes and helicopters. He’s also done a ton of BASE jumping from some of the highest landmarks and skyscrapers in the world, including the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro and the Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

This summer, though, he’ll put all of his previous accomplishments to shame when he jumps from a platform 23 MILES UP IN THE AIR as part of the Red Bull Stratos project. (For all those out there wondering, we’re fairly certain that our drop-tested Boombotix BB2 would experience only a few scratches if dropped from that high.)

So, who is Felix? What’s this Red Bull Stratos project we speak of? Here’s a brief summary of everything you need to know about the man and this ridiculously cool project:

Getting to know Felix

Felix was born in Austria in 1969 and began skydiving at 16 years old. He polished his skills as part of the Austrian military’s demonstration and competition team. In 1988, he began performing skydiving exhibitions for Red Bull.

In the 1990’s, Felix got bored with skydiving and decided to take up BASE jumping instead (parachuting from a fixed object). He’s since made numerous world-record BASE jumps, been nominated for a World Sports Award and two categories in the NEA Extreme Sports Awards, and become a prominent advocate for the nonprofit Wings for Life: Spinal Cord Research Foundation.

Worthy Facebook status updates:

A short list of Baumgartner’s accomplishments:

  • 1997 – World champion, BASE jumping, West Virginia
  • 1999 – World record, Lowest BASE jump from Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (95 feet)
  • 1999 – World record, BASE jump, Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1,479 feet)
  • 2001 – Nominated, World Sports Award, London, England
  • 2003 – Channel Crossing, Dover, England to Calais, France; first crossing of the English Channel with a carbon wing
  • 2004 – World record, BASE jump from the highest bridge in the world, Millau Bridge, France (1,125 feet)
  • 2004 – BASE jump, Marmet Cave, Velebit National Parc, Croatia (623 feet deep)
  • 2006 – Earned motorized wings as a helicopter pilot at Twin Air Helicopter School, Van Nuys, USA
  • 2007 – BASE jump from world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 Tower, Taipei, Taiwan (1,669 feet)
  • 2012 – First test jump with high altitude balloon and pressurized capsule: Freefall from 71,581 feet over Roswell, NM

The Red Bull Stratos project

This project is sponsored by the energy drink maker, with the obvious connection being that if you’re going to jump from tall objects, you should drink Red Bull; the term “Stratos” refers to the stratosphere. The goal is for Felix to go 23 miles up in a high altitude balloon and pressurized capsule, whereupon he’ll leave the capsule and free fall a few thousand feet before parachuting the rest of the way to the ground.

As already mentioned, Baumgartner jumped out of the space capsule from an altitude of 71,581 feet (13.6 miles). The purpose of the dive was to test his equipment for the later-in-the-year record-breaking dive.

Here are some of the stats on the jump:

  • Altitude: 71,581 feet
  • Parachute open: 7,890 feet
  • Freefall: 3 minutes and 33 seconds
  • Fastest ascent rate of the capsule: 1,200 feet per minute (estimate)
  • Speed reached in freefall: 364.4 mph

Baumgartner is believed to be only the third person to leap from such a high altitude and free fall to a safe landing – and the first to do so in 50 years. The record belongs to Air Force test pilot Joe Kittinger (who is part of the Red Bull Stratos team): he jumped from 102,800 feet (19.5 miles) in 1960.

The next test will be a free fall from 90,000 feet. After that, it’s the big one: a free fall from 120,000 feet in the air. The ideal time frame for both tests will be in the coming months, and is dependent largely upon weather conditions.

Finally, yes, there is a purpose to this project besides the whole wow-factor. By going up into the atmospheric limits, the Red Bull Stratos team, composed of experts in aerospace medicine, engineering, science, etc., hopes to also gather valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers.

Check back for an update on when Baumgartner’s next jump will be. In the meantime, would you do something like this? Let us know below!

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