Faster Than the Speed of Sound

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No its…


Felix Baumgartner, a professional Base jumper / Daredevil earned is place in the history books last Sunday after successfully landing the highest freefall ever from the edge of space. Nuts! The video above shows the seconds leading up to Felix’s jump and it certainly made me feel uneasy.

This story has gained serious attention over international media over the past week and for good reason. Felix set the world record for skydiving an estimated 39 kilometres, reaching an estimated speed of 1,342 kilometres per hour. Felix also broke other world records such as the highest manned balloon flight and (more amazingly), the record for fastest speed of freefall, making him the first human to break the sound barrier without the use of a vehicle. Leading up to the jump, Felix had battled panic attacks caused by bouts of claustrophobia in his suit but he pushed through and went on to achieve this amazing stunt.

The jump wasn’t just a genius marketing campaign by Red Bull. Jump organizers hoped to test whether parachuting from immense heights could prove a viable means of escape for commercial space travel. Those parsing the biometric data gathered during the mission included the US Air Force and NASA. This certainly got me interested in what felix does so here’s Felix’s top 5 Freefalls:

By ericliharrison

5 comments on “Faster Than the Speed of Sound

  1. Thanks for posting about such a current topic Eric – what an incredible record to make!

    It certainly was a fantastic marketing stunt by Red Bull and gives new meaning to their slogan “Red Bull gives you wings”. What did you think about how the jump was publicised by the media in Australia or Perth to be specific?

    I personally did not think it was covered much by the media and had no idea such a massive world record was about to be broken until after the event. Do I live in a hole or do any others feel the same way?

  2. Yes, it was a current event!

    I agree with DJasudasen, prior to the jump, there was little awareness or advertising and coverage by the media. I also just learnt it through the FM 94.5 here in Perth.

    Perhaps in due time, the event would be covered as it was a world’s breaking record. So, records and events such as this in my opinion should attract the media, but why weren’t it not so?

    Surely this is one of the many science communication examples needed to be exposed not only for educational purposes, but for general knowledge too.

  3. “The jump wasn’t just a genius marketing campaign by Red Bull”

    I would have to disagree that it was genius marketing. I watched this footage a number of times with my mouth open but I didn’t know until I read your post that it had anything to do with Red Bull. I did know it had something to do with NASA testing emergency landings for astronauts though so the cool stuff is getting out there 😉

    It it interesting how much attention some awesome science can get when commercial interests are willing to fork out money. It would be even more interesting to find out how many people appreciated the science and how many just went “omg what a lunatic” then went about their day.

  4. Another milestone in human progress!! What amazing speed that is, i would have thought he could not survive! The biometric data they collected from this jump should be quite interesting and i hope there will be some follow up to it. Well, to answer Diana’s question, i saw many friends commenting on facebook about this jump and that is how i knew about it…

  5. What an interesting post!

    I personally did not think that Felix’s jump was covered well by the media. I only came across Felix’s jump when I was bored and saw many friends posting links and comments about his jump on facebook. I remembered waiting by the laptop for 2 hours and procrastinating from my assignments, just to see his jump..

    I did not know that this jump was a marketing campaign from Red Bull as well. In my opinion, I thought that Red Bull was better at promoting its drink by giving out free cans of Red Bull. I know this happens during orientation week, or whenever I spot the Red Bull vehicle around and the Red Bull ladies would be giving out those yummy energy drinks. The Red Bull truck just came to my college this evening to give out free cans of Red Bull and promote their new edition of flavoured Red Bull drinks. I thought that was pretty successful in promotion, or maybe I am just attracted to the freebies.. 😛

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