21st Oct 2012
Badass Scientist of the Week: Felix Baumgartner
Felix Baumgartner (1969–) is an Austrian skydiver known for his daredevil stunts. He spiralled to fame last week when became the first man to break the sound barrier in a breathtaking, death-defying jump from the edge of space. Born Salzburg, Austria, Felix began to skydive at 16, and honed his expertise in the military as part of a demonstration and competition team. In 1988, Baumgartner teamed up with Red Bull and began to perform skydiving exhibitions, and in the 1990s he set his sights beyond traditional skydiving, and made record-breaking BASE jumps—which involve parachuting off low-altitude fixed landforms or objects, and require lightning-fast reflexes and precision. Baumgartner then turned his gaze to the sky. I’ve previously written about Joseph Kittinger, who made a record breaking skydive in 1960 at an altitude of 31 kilometres—and under Kittinger’s mentorship, Baumgartner made a jump from a 39 kilometres up. He was so high that he was actually in the stratosphere—the edge of space—and had to wear a spacesuit to survive. If there had been the slightest crack or tear in his suit, it would have instantly depressurised and Baumgartner’s blood would have boiled. If this didn’t faze him, then it’s unsurprising that a mere technical malfunction—causing the fogging of his visor on the ascent up—didn’t bother him either. This nearly forced the mission to abort, but the unshakable Baumgartner made the badass decision to jump anyway. He was in freefall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, and reached speeds of 1342 km/h (1.24 times the speed of sound)—so he smashed he soundbarrier and broke world records for highest jump, highest balloon flight, and fastest jump. Luckily, he didn’t break himself, and landed successfully on Earth in one piece. His last words before the milestone jump: “Sometimes, you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.”
Watch the recap of the jump

Badass Scientist of the Week: Felix Baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner (1969–) is an Austrian skydiver known for his daredevil stunts. He spiralled to fame last week when became the first man to break the sound barrier in a breathtaking, death-defying jump from the edge of space. Born Salzburg, Austria, Felix began to skydive at 16, and honed his expertise in the military as part of a demonstration and competition team. In 1988, Baumgartner teamed up with Red Bull and began to perform skydiving exhibitions, and in the 1990s he set his sights beyond traditional skydiving, and made record-breaking BASE jumps—which involve parachuting off low-altitude fixed landforms or objects, and require lightning-fast reflexes and precision. Baumgartner then turned his gaze to the sky. I’ve previously written about Joseph Kittinger, who made a record breaking skydive in 1960 at an altitude of 31 kilometres—and under Kittinger’s mentorship, Baumgartner made a jump from a 39 kilometres up. He was so high that he was actually in the stratosphere—the edge of space—and had to wear a spacesuit to survive. If there had been the slightest crack or tear in his suit, it would have instantly depressurised and Baumgartner’s blood would have boiled. If this didn’t faze him, then it’s unsurprising that a mere technical malfunction—causing the fogging of his visor on the ascent up—didn’t bother him either. This nearly forced the mission to abort, but the unshakable Baumgartner made the badass decision to jump anyway. He was in freefall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, and reached speeds of 1342 km/h (1.24 times the speed of sound)—so he smashed he soundbarrier and broke world records for highest jump, highest balloon flight, and fastest jump. Luckily, he didn’t break himself, and landed successfully on Earth in one piece. His last words before the milestone jump: “Sometimes, you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.”

Watch the recap of the jump

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    #badass
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    I love a hero! I write about men who are bigger than life, but it’s so exciting to run across a real one!
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