Image Credit & Copyright: Atomic Entertainment & Paragon Space Development Corporation.
October 24, 2014: At dawn, Senior Vice President of Google, Alan Eustace (57) with the help of his Stratospheric Exploration “StratEx” team left an abandoned Roswell NM runway en route to the top of the stratosphere in an attempt to break the skydive record set by Felix Baumgartner and team Red Bull Stratos on October 14, 2012 at an altitude of 128,100 feet.
After breathing pure oxygen for four hours to remove nitrogen from his blood, Eustace was enclosed into a privately constructed “space suit” which was then attached directly to the massive high-altitude helium-filled balloon and off he went. That’s right, no capsule. All necessary life support systems were onboard the spacesuit which, like the mission itself had been in development in secrecy for three years.
Ascending at about 1,000 feet per minute, it took about two and a half hours to deliver Eaustace to an altitude of 135,890 feet (25 mi. or about 1/3 of the way to space). After about a half hour of sightseeing, he used a small explosive charge to sever himself from the balloon. The fall which lasted roughly 20 minutes with a freefall of around five minutes (details hopefully forthcoming) and reached speeds of 822 mph was recorded by GoPro cameras. The small sonic boom was said to be heard by those on the ground as he became only the second person to break the sound barrier with his body. The opening his main chute came at an altitude of 18,000 feet and the landing took place about 70 miles from the balloon launch point.
The official observer for this event was Jim Hayhurst of the U.S. Parachute Association.
Congratulations to Alan Eustace and team StratEx!
Paragon SDC/StratEx: http://www.paragonsdc.com/stratex/
World View Experience: http://worldviewexperience.com/
Alan Eustace Twitter: https://twitter.com/alan_eustace