Felix Baumgartner, a skydiver who has performed world record-breaking BASE jumps, has launched into the air on the mission to push the limits of his skydiving career.
The Red Bull Stratos is a project conceived by several daredevils and scientists.
The main objective of Stratos was to break a 52-year-old record for the longest successful human freefall. The record was set by Colonel Joe Kittinger after a freefall from 102,800 feet.
Decades later, Kittinger joined the Stratos team as an advisor to the project and mentor to Baumgartner throughout the mission.
Stratos was launched with four primary objectives for Baumgartner: a freefall from the highest altitude (120,000 feet), the longest freefall time (5 minutes and 35 seconds), the highest manned balloon flight (120,000 feet) and being the first person to reach supersonic speeds in freefall.
The space suit Baumgartner will be wearing is crucial to his survival. If a breach of the suit occurs, some of the possible risks will include collapsing lungs, boiling blood, and eyes popping out of his head.
Although this mission might sound like a big-time effort for a high-octane adrenaline rush, there's a scientific purpose to it as well.
When Stratos blasts off into the atmosphere, it will help to develop new types of space suits, create a procedure for human exposure to high acceleration and altitude, test new parachute systems, and discover the effects of supersonic speeds on the human body.
Roswell, NM has hosted Stratos mission control throughout much of the project.
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