Another Small Step for Mankind

Felix Baumgartner took a small step today and fell 128,000 feet. Thus breaking Joe Kittinger’s 52 year record for the highest sky dive in history.

Baumgartner on a test dive.

Born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1969, he began skydiving when he was 16, polishing his aero-acrobatic skills in the Austrian military’s demonstration and competition team.  A helicopter pilot and extreme sky diver and daredevil, Felix has made a career out of a series of on-the-edge stunts.

  •   In 1999, he jumped from the Petronas Towers in Kaula Lumpur, Malaysi, setting a world record for base jumping from a building.
  • On the opposite end of the scale, completing the world’s lowest ever base jump from the 30m-high arm of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Before jumping he placed flowers on the statue’s shoulders as a sign of respect.
  • He then became the first person to fly across the English Channel.  Without an airplane. He used a pair of carbon fiber wings.
  • He has pioneered the use of a “Flying Suit”. He is trying to be the first person to land a Flying Suit and not use a parachute.

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The jump was aborted on Tuesday and then again on Thursday due to wind conditions. But on Sunday 14 October, 2012 Felix took a small step into History. Col Joe Kittinger (USAF Ret.) was on hand in Roswell, New Mexico for the jump. He was in radio contact with Baumgartner as the CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator).


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It’s official, at the time of this writing, Baumgartner has set the world record for the fastest skydive by breaking the sound barrier with a top speed of Mach 1.24 ( 833.9 mph).

The privatization of space continues as Baumgartner’s jump  is a milestone for the development of a system to allow crews aboard the International Space Station to “Bail Out” in case of an emergency.


The live stream of Baumgartner’s jump received over 7.1 million views surpassing the 500,000 YouTube live stream views record for the London Summer Olympics.

Today was also the anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier for the first time. Oddly enough it was the first time. Read here to find out who beat Yeager through the sound barrier.

I guess Red Bull really does give you wings.

[ed note: Sorry..couldn’t resist.]

HERE IS JOE’s JUMP in 1960

He is America’s first astronaut. Anyone over 100,000 feet qualifies for wings.

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Astronaut Sally Ride Dead at 61

After a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, Astronaut Sally Ride died on 23 July, 2012.
Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 (STS-7, Challenger) became the first American woman in space.She was 32 at the time which also made her the youngest astronaut.


Her second space flight was in 1984 STS-41G), also on board the Challenger.She was in training for her third flight when the Challenger disaster occurred. Ride served on the accident investigation board and headed the operations subcommittee.

Following the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, where she led NASA’s first strategic planning effort, authored a report entitled “Leadership and America’s Future in Space”, and founded NASA’s Office of Exploration.

In 1987, Ride left her position in Washington, DC, to work at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego and Director of the California Space Institute. In 2003, she was asked to serve on the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board. She was the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded in 2001 that creates entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students, with a particular focus on girls.

According to Roger Boisjoly, the engineer who warned of the technical problems that led to the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, Ms. Ride was the only public figure to show support for him when he went public with his pre-disaster warnings (after the entire workforce of Morton-Thiokol shunned him). Sally Ride hugged him publicly to show her support for his efforts.

She is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitli; nephew, Whitney and Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years.