Skydiver Successfully Jumps from the Edge of Space.
Man Jumps from Space.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with some misinformation.
The video purporting to show a Skydiver jump from the edge of Space to create a record and surpass the speed of sound (Supersonic speed) in free fall has been popular since couple of years. The skydiver is Austrian Felix Baumgartner and the claim is a fact, but it carries some misinformation.
On 14 Oct 2012, daring and adventurous skydiver Felix Baumgartner made the highest and fastest jump in history after travelling to an altitude of 128,100 feet in a helium balloon. His live record jump witnessed by millions of viewers online took 4 minutes and 20 seconds, crossing the speed of sound in free fall while reaching a maximum speed of 833.9 miles per hour, or Mach 1.24. Mach number represents the ratio of speed of an object moving through a fluid with respect to the local speed of sound.
Early in the jump, Felix Baumgartner began spinning out of control in the thin air of the stratosphere, but he managed to stop the spin and fall smoothly thereafter. As you can see in the video, at the end of the free fall, Baumgartner opens his parachute and enjoys the fall before touching down on earth in the New Mexico desert.
The fact of the matter is; the record jump was sponsored as the Red Bull Stratos Project, which used the prevalent technology for its publicity.
The Red Bull Stratos Project
The Red Bull is a caffeinated energy drink, and the company has sought to many ways to promote beverage. The Red Bull Stratos project is certainly an overload of promotion that used science and technology in an adventurous concept. The project idea conceived in 2005 planned for a free fall from the Stratosphere, from an altitude of 120,000 feet, and its goal was to redefine “human limits that have existed for 50 years.”
As you can see in the video, skydiver Baumgartner was backed by a NASA-style mission control operation team involving 300 people at an airfield in Roswell. The team comprised of engineers, scientists and physicians who have been working on the project for five years. The record jump became popularly known as Space Jump. The next day, on 15 Oct 2012, Red Bull releaseda new exclusive video that briefly showed what Felix saw during the Stratos Live Jump. The company said it was from a GoPro body camera positioned underneath the visor of the skydiver. In Jan 2014, GoPro released the full story of Red Bull Stratos that you can watch in second video.
The Untold Facts
Felix Baumgartner began performing skydiving exhibitions for Red Bull in 1988. The altitude of 128,100 feet was just over 24 miles, while the International Space Station (ISS) orbits at an altitude of about 200 miles. The general consensus where atmosphere ends and space begins is around the 62 mile mark, so the claim that the record free fall happened from the edge of the space is not a fact! That is to say, the stratosphere isn’t quite space. In Image Gallery, you can see a schematic showing the layers of Earth’s atmosphere (courtesy NASA).
The team of aerospace veterans built a customized suit and capsule for Felix Baumgartner's jump, i.e. free fall from around 24 miles altitude -- that has some help from gravity. In other words, Technology kept Baumgartner protected from the harsh environment during his free fall, and slowed him to a soft landing.
In short, the free fall jump of skydiver Felix Baumgartner from around 24 miles altitude (not the end of space) is real, and it has created records of highest and fastest jump crossing speed of sound at a point, but the Stratos project sponsored by energy drink Red Bull was backed up by technology. In other words, the space jump was an elaborate publicity stunt using technology and the skydiving experience of Felix Baumgartner.
24 Miles, 4 Minutes and 834 M.P.H., All in One Jump
Red Bull Releases Incredible POV Video of 128,000-Foot Stratos Jump
Why Red Bull's Stratos Jump Was Just a Publicity Stunt—and Only Partially Successful