Can you imagine taking a 24 mile leap down to earth off a platform in space? It takes a tremendous amount of bravery and preparation to perform (and survive) a stunt like that. On Sunday, the world watched as Austrian Felix Baumgartner earned his new nickname “Fearless Felix”.
Felix broke the sound barrier in a free fall from 24 miles up in space. Fearless Felix’s free fall is said to have broken several world records including the longest free fall without a parachute, the highest jump from a platform and the highest vertical velocity. Felix reached a speed of 833.9 miles per hour during his four minute and 20-second fall.
Without the right planning and preparation Felix’s jump could have been fatal. So how did Felix ensure his survival? By testing in-the-wild, of course.
In a CBS News article prior to the jump Mark Strassmann cites the importance of real world testing:
“Dr. Jonathan Clark, the mission’s medical director, has monitored Baumgartner’s practice jumps. The most recent, in July, was from 97,000 feet, 18 miles above earth. His top speed? 536 miles per hour.
…Asked about the feat and if he’s nervous, Baumgartner said, ‘Oh yeah, because this is a step into the unknown. Because at the very end of the day if something goes wrong I have to pay for it.’”
A feat like this could not have been accomplished without testing. The mission’s planning team did not simply virtually test or calculate the results of a 24 mile leap – they put Felix out there and had him perform real world practice jumps.
What did you think of Felix’s 24 mile leap? Share your thoughts in the comments section.