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Prague Monitor – Red Bull special

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On 16 August, 1960, USAF test pilot Joe Kittinger opened the door for space exploration when he made a parachute jump from 102,800 feet above sea level as part of the “Excelsior” program. Joe set four records that day, three of which have never been surpassed, and his remarkable effort proved that full-pressure suits could protect humans in the harsh environment of the stratosphere. Manned flights for the Mercury space program were initiated soon after, and Joe’s achievement directly influenced the 1969 mission to the moon.

2012 – Roswell, New Mexico, USA

Supported by a team of experts, Felix Baumgartner will undertake a stratospheric flight to more than 120,000 feet in a pressurized capsule attached to a high-altitude helium balloon. He will then exit the capsule and jump – protected only by a pressurized “space” suit and helmet supplied with oxygen – in an attempt to become the first person to break the speed of sound and reach supersonic speeds in free-fall before parachuting to the ground. Specially designed equipment has been developed to capture valuable data throughout the mission for the medical and scientific advancement of human flight.

Like any transportation system, high-altitude flights need safety procedures; but currently, researchers don’t know if it’s possible to bail out from ultra-high altitudes. What would happen to a human falling to Earth faster than the speed of sound? Would a spacesuit provide sufficient protection? Would GPS equipment function? Could a drogue parachute provide adequate stabilization?

Worldwide, the answers to such questions are vital. Aviators and astronauts look to extend the boundaries of their exploration and – with the opening of facilities like SpacePort America – the day when everyday people can become space tourists is on the horizon. The mission’s findings may point the way toward developing escape systems for the space tourists of the future, as well as for the pilots and astronauts who already need suborbital systems today.


Red Bull Stratos aims to provide information that will further the progression of aerospace safety. The key benefits for the science community are as follows:

To aid development of a new generation of space suits – including enhanced mobility and visual clarity – and other systems to lead toward passenger/crew exit from space. To aid development of protocols for exposure to high altitude/high acceleration. To aid exploration of the effects on the human body of supersonic acceleration and deceleration, including development of the latest innovations in parachute systems.

Follow the Mission:
Official Red Bull Stratos mission website –
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