Joe Kittinger's Jump

Joe Kittinger set the record for the highest jump in 1960, when he dropped from a helium balloon at an altitude of 31 kilometers.

I have never heard of Felix Baumgartner.  Have you? He’s apparently crazy. Crazy like a fox crazy? I’m not so sure. Mr. Felix Baumgartner plans to ride a pressurized capsule connected to a helium balloon, to the height of 36,575 kilometers (equivalent to 22 miles), and jump out. Can you imagine that? Attempting to go faster than sound, with nothing between you and the atmosphere, except a suit and mask?

Why the suit and mask? I read original the article over at New Scientist. In order to reach supersonic speeds in freefall, a diver has to start at a very high altitude of over 31 kilometers. At that altitude, without a pressurized suit and mask/helmet, the atmospheric pressure will cause the gases in your blood to boil out. That’s sick. What is the shock wave going to do to him?

I was wondering how this guy could afford all this. The hot helium balloon, the pressurized capsule, the practice flights, the wind tunnel test runs. Red Bull is sponsoring him. Geez, why am I not surprised?

I decided to look back to the one and only time that I went skydiving back on Aug 6 2004. For many, many years, I dreamed of going skydiving. Short of going into space, it was the ultimate type of event. After I did it, I felt good about it, but that was it for me. I got it out of my system. What is unexplainable is that I have no interest in doing it again. Strange, no? I didn’t have a bad experience, and I was only a little afraid while going up. I’m glad I finally did it.

Here’s the odd part. Still this day, I don’t know why I don’t feel a need to do it again. It was cool to do it, but freefall wasn’t this astounding experience. It was falling with the wind in your face. That’s probably what is holding me back. It was a cool thing to do, but it didn’t change my life. I’d do it again if Red Bull gave me money. Hell yeah!