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Saturday, January 23, 2010

'Space Diver' Attempt Planned

Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner will attempt a 'space dive' to seek to top the nearly 50-year-old record for the highest jump this year, becoming the first person to go supersonic in freefall using a helium balloon.

Potentially breaking records for the highest parachute jump, as well as the fastest and longest freefall, Baumgartner should reach supersonic speeds 35 seconds after he jumps. The jump height is above a threshold at 19,000 metres called the Armstrong line, where the atmospheric pressure is so low that fluids start to boil, according to a report in New Scientist.

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion among NewSpace advocates of a 'Spacediver' attempt by blasting off on a small rocket booster to the edge of space and then the human spacediver jumping back to Earth. The current record is held by US Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger by jumping out of a balloon at an altitude of some 31,333 metres on August 16, 1960 near White Sands, New Mexico.