This evening at 11:00PM Sydney time, Red Bull will attempt to break a world record by jumping freefall from a height of 120,000 feet above the Earth. If successful, the skydiver Felix Baumgartner will become the first man ever to break the speed of sound – with his own body. And you can watch it live, on YouTube.
Currently, the freefall jumping world record stands at 102,800 feet. And that was done by the United States for its Project Excelsior missions.
Red Bull, partnering with several media companies, have said that they have created a “flying production studio” that will beam back every moment on the freefall and allows it to live stream the event on YouTube. During the live stream, users will be able to get a live data feed to show his speed rate and location of Felix in the sky; and be able to hear either narration from Robert Hager, a former news correspondent from America, or the radio communications between Felix and his team.
And while it sounds dangerous – possibly even die, it is not a mere stunt – despite Red Bull paying to sponsor the entire thing. Talking to the Los Angeles Times, the technical project director Art Thompson said that the jump is “a flight test program”. Also quoted by the LA Times was physiology officer Lt. Col. Andrew Woodrow, who told the paper that this does have some contribution to science.
“The information gathered through biometric data and performance under sustained atmospheric stress may lend lessons to engineering and development of future aircrew flight equipment and escape systems,” Woodrow told the LA Times.
Edit: the post previously said 10pm – this was wrong. I forgot to take into account the minutes when looking at the countdown timer when doing the calculations. Basically, go to the website and look at the countdown timer.