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Skydiver to jump from edge of space
March 4, 2001 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Skydiver to jump from edge of space I hope all the inaccuracies in this article are the journalists fault and not this guy trying to make this seem more important and pioneering than it is. It's not like this wasn't done over 40 years ago. What "...emergency procedures for people exploring space" would this create? If he went much higher or came in from outer space he'd vaporize. Less extreme science than just plain old extreme sports, 21st century style.

Millner claims that scientists have helped him on the project, but it is not known if the human body is capable of enduring such a descent. (sigh) Figures.
posted by redleaf (10 comments total)


 
i'm going to have to say..... no.
posted by nicolas at 6:09 AM on March 5, 2001


Sounds like this guy is channeling Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius.
posted by darren at 7:41 AM on March 5, 2001


Millner is playing catch-up to Cheryl Streams' Stratoquest project (that site has some great photos of the previous record jump in 1960).

It may be a little bit of a reach to attribute these to science, but they are pushing the limits of technology. This has been anticipated for several years now (even rating a mention in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture as James T. Kirk's favorite civilian sport, and anticipated as a pre-credits sequence for about three of the later films in a row).

Re-entry vaporization, by the way, has much to do with angle of attack and velocity. If those can be controlled, you don't get the heat energy that burns things up.
posted by dhartung at 7:43 AM on March 5, 2001


I have been trying to get a cheap copy of The Long Lonely Leap for a long time now, maybe this will help put some pressure on them to reissue it. When I saw the graphics on the news I was like "wow, that looks familiar" and tuned in to see the jump but it was all hype and smoke and mirrors. Someone wake me when he actually does the damned thing.
posted by jessamyn at 9:16 AM on March 5, 2001


dhartung: I didn't know it was even possible for a person to survive re-entry. If he did that then this would be unique. My problem with this guy is he doesn't come out and say what he's doing is a recreation, at maybe a higher altitude.

jessamyn: Thanks for the link to the National Geographic article. I was looking for this. NG was where I originaly heard about this (in a blurb in an article about balloons). There was a show on the History Channel about it too but I can't find it on their website.

When I first heard about this I was surprised, given the low-tech nature of it, that no one had done it since. You figure with all the amateur daredevils out there one would have tried this in the 60's-90's.
posted by redleaf at 10:05 AM on March 5, 2001


I didn't know it was even possible for a person to survive re-entry.

It isn't re-entry itself that poses the problem - it's getting rid of all your speed once you drop out of orbit. When you're orbiting the Earth and you want to come home, you either fire the great big rocket you brought along for that purpose (which nobody does because it's too expensive), or you fire a little rocket, drop into the upper atmosphere, and then rely on friction to slow you down. The friction is what cooks anything not equipped with a heat shield, and what makes reentry difficult.

This guy will not have 17,500 mph of excess speed to bleed off - instead he'll be jumping from a stationary platform. So his highest speed will be his terminal velocity, the speed at which the acceleration caused by gravity equals the deceleration caused by friction. The article suggests that this will be around 1100 mph - a very respectable speed, but not one that will require him to wear a suit of Shuttle tiles.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:44 AM on March 5, 2001


This guy will not have 17,500 mph of excess speed to bleed off - instead he'll be jumping from a stationary platform. So his highest speed will be his terminal velocity, the speed at which the acceleration caused by gravity equals the deceleration caused by friction. The article suggests that this will be around 1100 mph - a very respectable speed, but not one that will require him to wear a suit of Shuttle tiles.

I don't know if you looked at any of the other links, but this has been done before so there's no mystery as to what will happen to this guy.

So he jumped and rocketed downward at 714 mph, literally falling faster than a speeding bullet and becoming the first man to go supersonic without the benefit of an aircraft. He dropped in a free fall for 4 minutes, 36 seconds before his parachute blossomed. - http://www.af.mil/news/airman/1299/ballon2.htm
posted by redleaf at 1:23 PM on March 5, 2001


Redleaf, don't snap at Mars -- I think he understands the prior art. What is up your craw about this? Are you saying that the 1960 record is it, that we shouldn't try to surpass it? How do you know that he doesn't acknowledge it? Heck, he's Australian. No matter what he'll be the Aussie record holder.

I just see your comments and think: Mountain. Molehill.

Why not look at this and say instead "Wow, trying to surpass a 40-year-old record, with private funds no less -- way to go!"
posted by dhartung at 1:51 PM on March 5, 2001


Dhartung: I probably should have wrote more than one sentence and pasted a quote. Does that look snappish? Sorry. The only thing up my craw about this is the guy making it seem like its never been done before and that it's anything more than an Evil Kneivel-type stunt at this point.

And as far looking at it from a different perspective. That is how I see it. (Look in the last sentence in the post before Mars). I hope this isn't the last guy to do this for another 40 years. I mean what to do you need to do this? A hot air balloon and a space suit with a parachute. Seems like the logical extension for anyone who's been skydiving for a long time and is brave (or crazy; dumb depending on how you see it) enough to try this.

But I don't know if he's trying to beat the old record or what. This guy sounds like a huckster so there will probably be alot more and better stories as his jump gets closer.
posted by redleaf at 6:55 PM on March 5, 2001


Oops typos. Doh.
posted by redleaf at 7:47 PM on March 5, 2001


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