Red Bull Stratos aims to provide information that will further the progression of aerospace safety
USAF Col. Joe Kittinger (Ret.) knows the value of scientific research, which is why he is a pivotal leader of this team. The results from this mission will benefit the science community by offering data that could help develop the next generation space suits, establish viable escape procedures for passengers and crew in space, and create parachutes with state of the art safety systems.
Like any transportation system, high-altitude flights need safety procedures; but currently, researchers don't know if it's possible to bail out from ultra-high altitudes. What would happen to a human falling to Earth faster than the speed of sound? Would a spacesuit provide sufficient protection? Would GPS equipment function? Could a drogue parachute provide adequate stabilization?
Worldwide, the answers to such questions are vital. Aviators and astronauts look to extend the boundaries of their exploration and - with the opening of facilities like SpacePort America - the day when everyday people can become space tourists is on the horizon. The mission's findings may point the way toward developing escape systems for the space tourists of the future, as well as for the pilots and astronauts who already need suborbital systems today.
SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION FOCUS
Red Bull Stratos aims to provide information that will further the progression of aerospace safety. The key benefits for the science community are as follows:
- To aid development of a new generation of space suits - including enhanced mobility and visual clarity - and other systems to lead toward passenger/crew exit from space.
- To aid development of protocols for exposure to high altitude/high acceleration.
- To aid exploration of the effects on the human body of supersonic acceleration and deceleration, including development of the latest innovations in parachute systems.
- Reaching supersonic speed in freefall:First person to achieve the speed of sound (Mach 1) in freefall without mechanical assistance. Speed estimated to be about 690 miles per hour at point of breaking sound barrier; acceleration could continue to more than Mach 1.1 (previous record: 614 miles per hour, Mach 0.9).
- Freefall from highest altitude:Expected jump from approximately 120,000 feet (previous record: 102,800 feet).
- Longest freefall time:Expected freefall duration of about 5 minutes, 35 seconds (previous record: 4 minutes, 36 seconds).
- Highest manned balloon flight:Expected float altitude of approximately 120,000 feet (previous record: 113,740 feet).
All figures approximate based on anticipated conditions and projected factors.